RENTON — Though John Schneider is beginning to become an old hand at the NFL draft, the event still revives youthful feelings.
Schneider, who today will lead his fifth Seahawks draft as the team’s general manager, says being able to scout and select players is something “I dreamed about” as a kid.
This year, though, the wait is longer than usual for one of Schneider’s most-anticipated days of the year.
The first reason is that the draft is two weeks later than normal. That’s due to what the NFL said was a scheduling conflict with Radio City Music Hall. But the league might also have desired to see what the reaction would be to even more prolonged buildup.
And more specifically to the Seahawks is their draft position in the first round, the No. 32 spot awarded to the team that won the previous season’s Super Bowl.
“We’re going to watch 31 players come off our board,” Schneider said, already anticipating an agonizing wait. “That’s a lot of guys.”
Few will be surprised, though, if the Seahawks end up waiting even longer — and doing it to themselves by moving out of the first round to get more selections later on.
It’s something Seattle has done often during the four drafts under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. They have drafted in their assigned spot just 12 of 28 times.
The temptation to move could be even greater this year because of where Seattle sits in the first round. With teams able to control first-round choices for five seasons if they desire (other draft picks get four-year deals), Seattle’s selection could be hotly desired by a team that might want to move up to grab a player it really wants, and in particular a quarterback.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network envisioned exactly that scenario recently.
“What I think is a good chance of happening is if Houston doesn’t take a quarterback at one, the entire league expects them to take a quarterback at 33,” Mayock said. “So depending on who is sitting on the board at the quarterback position at 32, I think they (the Seahawks) could get an awful lot of activity to move down. I think they’re in a great spot because of that.”
Another reason Seattle might also be tempted to move down is that it has just six picks, having traded its third-rounder away last year as part of the Percy Harvin trade, and its seventh-rounder last month for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Schneider mentioned last week that moving down is always on the table, saying “I just like it in general.”
Schneider, though, would give away little about the team’s strategy, other than to say the basic philosophy won’t change this year just because the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champs with a roster that has few holes.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to continue to do it the way we’ve been doing it and the way we’ve built it, which is with young people and competing at every position at the highest level we possibly can and never shutting the door on anything,” Schneider said.
Positions that make sense for Seattle to address, though, include receiver, the offensive line, defensive line and safety, all of which took hits during free agency.
Mayock says the key for teams drafting late is to not get locked into thinking about specific positions but waiting to see it develops.
“If they sit there at 32, I’m a big believer of this, you just have to be versatile,” he said. “You have to pick at 32, regardless of your needs, a good football player.”
Another NFL Network analyst, Daniel Jeremiah, agreed that the Seahawks mostly just need to continue with their formula.
“This team has so much depth and so much talent,” Jeremiah said. “Everybody gives lip service to they’re a team that selects the best available player, but the advantage in the NFL is when you have a great roster, that’s easy to do. You don’t have to force things.”