Seahawks finish with a flourish
The Seahawks completed the most active three hours of the new administration, giving up a little bit of draft position to acquire two running backs: LenDale White from Tennessee and Leon Washington from the New York Jets.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The Seahawks had picked three players, completed two trades and coach Pete Carroll had just concluded an interview carried live on ESPN when the Seahawks coach ducked his head into the media room.
"Can we get some action in here?" Carroll asked, slapping his palm on the door for emphasis.
It was just after 10 a.m. Maybe you had just finished breakfast. Perhaps you were on a second cup of coffee. The Seahawks? They had completed the most active three hours of the new administration, giving up a little bit of draft position to acquire two running backs: LenDale White from Tennessee and Leon Washington from the New York Jets.
"The surprises that we pulled off in the trade opportunities might have shocked you a little bit," Carroll said afterward.
It started with White, who was acquired from Tennessee with defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. The total cost for Seattle? Moving down seven spots in the fourth round and nine spots in the sixth round.
One round later, the Seahawks nabbed Washington, a Swiss Army knife of a running back who is as electric as he is useful. The toll on that? Seattle gave up a fifth-round pick for a seventh-round selection from the Jets.
For a little draft-day erosion, Seattle landed two backs who'll compete for playing time.
"There's several different avenues of acquisition that you can use to improve your team," said John Schneider, Seattle's general manager. "This is obviously a huge, huge weekend for us."
One that had a frenetic finale after two tradeless days.
Seattle entered the draft with two of the first 14 picks, making the Seahawks power brokers. But on Thursday and Friday, the Seahawks held their ground and filled needs. On Thursday, they picked a rock-solid left tackle and dynamic free safety. On Friday, they waited for Notre Dame's Golden Tate to fall in their lap, and then waited some more since they lacked a third-round pick.
No sooner had the fourth round begun on Saturday than the Seahawks started making deals and taking chances. White faces questions about his attitude and weight; Washington is coming back from two broken bones in his right leg. Both players are under contract for one more year.
Those weren't the only risks on a day in which Seattle also drafted six players over the final four rounds.
In the fourth round, the Seahawks chose Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond, who is recovering from a serious knee injury. In the sixth, they picked Anthony McCoy, the USC tight end whose draft stock was undermined by a positive drug test at the scouting combine.
In the seventh round, Seattle chose Jameson Konz of Kent State, an off-the-chart athlete who Seattle will try at wide receiver, a position he has never played.
Seattle also drafted Kam Chancellor, a 230-pound safety in the fifth round, and a pair of defensive ends, E.J. Wilson from North Carolina in the fourth round and Dexter Davis of Arizona State in the seventh.
When the draft began, many expected Seattle to try to deepen its stable of running backs. The Seahawks did that this weekend, just not in the manner most expected.
"We've always thought our offense was at its best when we had different dimension-types of runners," Carroll said. "LenDale gives you a hardball attitude, which we think is unique, and of course Leon is an all-purpose guy."
White played for Carroll at USC, where he set the Pac-10 record for touchdowns in a career with 57. A second-round draft pick in 2006, White surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for Tennessee in his second season in the league, but his weight increased and his opportunities waned. Last season, he weighed 230 pounds at training camp, having lost 30 pounds in the offseason, but still had a career low in rushing yardage.
"LenDale was always at his best when he was under 230, which is where he is now, he says," Carroll said. "We'll find out."
Washington returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2007, and caught 47 passes for the Jets in 2008. He played seven games last season before suffering a broken tibia and fibula, which were repaired with a rod. He started running a little more than three weeks ago and expects to be ready for training camp.
"I'm just excited," Washington said of the trade. "This is a brand-new start for me, and I'm just excited about getting out there and contributing to the team."
Add that pair to a backfield that already includes Julius Jones and Justin Forsett, and there will be players competing for jobs.
"We don't know how this will work out, who's going to take the lead shot and who isn't," Carroll said.
After the busiest day since Carroll took over as coach, it was enough simply to have options.
"In time, the roster will be pared down accordingly," Carroll said. "But at this point, when we're trying to fight for spots and make this football team, this is exactly what we hope to do."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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