Seahawks open NFL draft with a pass
For the Seahawks in the first round of the NFL draft, it was a long, uneventful night. Just the way the Seahawks wanted it.
Times staff columnist
Friday (3:30 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m.). TV: ESPN and NFL Network
RENTON — It was a long, uneventful night.
Just the way the Seahawks wanted it.
While the rest of the league was entangled in the drama of the 2014 NFL draft’s first round, the reigning Super Bowl champions yawned, leaned back, listened to music and watched the strange theater. And when it came time for them to pick more than 3½ hours later, they passed. They traded the No. 32 overall pick, the final section of the round, to Minnesota.
“Sorry about that,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said jokingly.
The Vikings, desperate for a franchise quarterback, ran off with Teddy Bridgewater to end the night. The Seahawks went home with an extra fourth-round pick (No. 108) as reward for moving down to No. 40 in the second round.
It was a decision that shows, regardless of the lofty status the Seahawks now enjoy, their process remains the same. They didn’t get antsy and try to answer some of the impressive moves made by their division rivals. They didn’t get caught up in the belief that, because they’re on top, they can take a crazy risk. They just waited and waited and waited, and when it was their time, they opted to wait some more.
It figures to be this way as long as Schneider is the general manager and Pete Carroll is the coach/executive vice president. And if the draft is as deep as analysts say, the Seahawks are right to make that depth work in their favor.
“We were blessed,” Schneider said. “That’s exactly what we were hoping for.”
Before the draft, Schneider said he spoke to the scouts, coaches and executives and reminded them that “there’s a reason this is going to be hard tonight. That’s great that we’re picking last.” They’re the best team in the NFL, which means the rest of the NFL must catch up to them. And the Seahawks aren’t planning on slowing down to make it easier for the competition.
Thursday night, the most hyped portion of the draft, was boring in Seattle. But don’t worry: The Seahawks will be busy the next two days, and they’ve done some of their best work outside the first round.
It’s the second straight year that the Seahawks didn’t select in the first round. A year ago, they included their top pick in a trade with Minnesota (as usual) to acquire wide receiver Percy Harvin. In the Harvin deal, the Seahawks also gave up a 2013 seventh rounder and their third-round pick in this draft. A few weeks ago, they traded a seventh-round pick for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
So Schneider entered Thursday night with just six draft picks. During his tenure, the Seahawks have never selected fewer than nine players in any draft. For a personnel department that has done such great work finding talent throughout every round of the draft, you knew acquiring more picks would be a goal.
Now, after their latest trade with Minnesota, they have seven picks. If the opportunity presents itself, you can be certain they’ll add more.
For now, the Seahawks will select twice on Friday. They have two second-round picks, No. 40 and No. 64.
“It was awesome,” Schneider said of waiting. “It really was.”
As competitive as the Seahawks are, it must take an incredible amount of patience and confidence to embrace making a draft selection so late. NFC West rival St. Louis added rugged offensive lineman Greg Robinson and talented defensive lineman Aaron Donald with its two first-round picks. Arizona added Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. Surprisingly, San Francisco went with safety Jimmie Ward. A tough, defensive-minded division has already added some intriguing talent. But the Seahawks knew that would happen.
Instead of fretting, the Seahawks will just work the same draft plan that allowed them to build the NFL’s deepest roster. And as they prepare, they can look and see that the entire league is copying some of their methods.
It’s no coincidence that nine defensive backs were taken in the first round. Five cornerbacks and four safeties were chosen three months after the Seahawks’ defense — led by the NFL’s best secondary — shut down Denver’s prolific offense.
The Seahawks are the antidote to pass-happy offenses in the NFL, and it was only a matter of time before teams put a priority on emulating them.
But it’s not that easy to find the next Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman or Kam Chancellor.
Two of those guys were taken in the fifth round, by the way.
The Seahawks’ patient, value-based approach has been fruitful before.
Here’s guessing the next two days won’t be boring.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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