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Originally published February 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Page modified February 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

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Will Seahawks pick off a quarterback from bountiful draft crop?

GM John Schneider says he feels no pressure to go that direction despite Seattle's need at QB and plenty of available QB talent. "If it happens, it happens," he says.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Seahawks are looking for a quarterback in the draft every year, said general manager John Schneider.

One year they might even get around to picking one.

It hasn't happened since Schneider and coach Pete Carroll took over in 2010, and entering the third season of their regime, quarterback remains Seattle's long-term question mark.

So will this be the year, then? In a draft class headlined by quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, is Seattle going to pony up the king's ransom it would take to vault toward the top of the draft? Or will the Seahawks instead opt for one of the next tier of prospects at that position, someone like Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins or Arizona State's Brock Osweiler?

All those quarterbacks are in Indianapolis for this week's scouting combine. They will be available for interviews Friday and then work out Sunday.

The Seahawks have passed on drafting a passer the past two years, and Schneider was asked if that creates an expectation that it's time to pull the trigger on a quarterback early in this year's draft.

"No," Schneider said. "If it happens, it happens. You can put yourself in a tough situation if you just go all-in with a guy that you feel pressured to take. You can end up setting your organization back."

Commence the wailing from those Seahawks fans who want to see the team lay down a long-term commitment under center. And, by the way, it needs to be a quarterback capable of winning a Super Bowl.

So far, Seattle hasn't been ready to settle down with anyone since Carroll arrived. Starter Tarvaris Jackson is unsigned beyond 2012, and Josh Portis is the only other quarterback currently on the roster for next season.

No one really expected it to go this way. When Schneider arrived two years ago, Matt Hasselbeck was entering the final year of his contract and there was every expectation the Seahawks would find a younger player to develop behind him.

"When we started out, I thought we were going to put a quarterback in to go along with Matt," Schneider said. "It just didn't happen."

Two years later, the Seahawks are still looking for that quarterback of the future. Jackson played better than many expected last year, and Portis has shown promise, but he's an undrafted rookie who would be doing well just to compete for the backup job in his second season. Seattle is certainly considered among the teams with a long-term need at quarterback, and Schneider was asked what he sees in this year's crop of prospects.

"It's a very unique class," Schneider said. "Every guy has this niche to them."

It's not just Luck, who might be the most polished quarterback prospect to enter the NFL since Peyton Manning was the top pick in 1998. It's more than Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner.

The prospects come in all shapes and size from the 6-foot-7 Osweiler all the way down to Wisconsin's Russell Wilson, who is 5-10 ½. There is some age as Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State is 28, and versatility as Tannehill started his college career playing receiver at Texas A&M. Then there's some history. Boise State's Kellen Moore only won 50 games as a starting quarterback at Boise State and threw 142 touchdown passes, second-most of any college player ever.

"A phenomenal field general," Schneider said.

The Seahawks will spend a good chunk of not only this week's combine, but the next couple months, putting a microscope on the strengths and weaknesses of not just those quarterbacks and many others looking for someone who could become a long-term fit at quarterback.

"It just has to be somebody that can tilt the room, tilt the building," he said. "The head coach and the quarterback are the most important people in the building. You know, when the quarterback walks in the room, they've all got to turn around and look at him and say, 'There he is.' "

Do the Seahawks see that type of player in this draft? We'll find out in April.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @dannyoneil

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