On April 30, all 32 NFL teams will gather in Chicago at Auditorium Theater, change the lives of 32 hopefuls, and then meet up at Portillo's for 64 Italian beef sandwiches. Well, maybe not quite 64, because John Schneider won't be sharing a delicious hot beef sandwich at Portillo's with anyone after the first round.
That's because for the third straight year, the Seattle Seahawks have traded out of the first round. Based on all the evidence, there is less than one percent of a one percent chance that the Seahawks will try to climb back into the first. However, there's always day two! Where Schneider could ... also ... trade down.
Schneider has participated in five drafts with Seattle and thus far has had a trade down in the second round in all five of them. The team is slated to pick 63rd and 95th on day two and whether they move up or move down, they still might only pick once on May 1. However, it's just like R2D2* might say: "May the 2nd be with you!"
*Round 2, Down 2
The Seahawks are set to make nine picks on day three, and their overall total of 11 is the most in the NFL. Some people believe that means that Schneider will definitely be looking to trade up due to his long wait before picking this year, but impatience is simply not something that he and Pete Carroll have shown to be guilty of at any time during their reign. Anything is possible, but before we start speculating about what Seattle will do, let's focus on what they already have done. And trading up for a player seems a lot less likely than trade for one.
Of 20 trades that Schneider has made involving draft picks, 12 were focused on player acquisitions. This includes Jimmy Graham and Percy Harvin, but it also includes LenDale White and Charlie Whitehurst, both of whom were also a part of the Seahawks essentially trading down for their services: They traded down in the second round when they grabbed Whitehurst (and drafted Golden Tate with the pick), then down in the fourth and sixth rounds when they acquired White and Kevin Vickerson from the Titans, grabbing Walter Thurmond and Anthony McCoy with those selections.
There were seven instances of Seattle strictly trading pick(s) for a player, and in the other 14 deals that involved at least one pick changing hands on both sides, all but two were trade downs. Those two cases: In 2014 they sent the Lions a fourth and a sixth to move up for Jesse Williams (both picks were acquired in an earlier trade down with the Ravens) and in 2011 when they sent Rob Sims and a seventh to Detroit for Robert Henderson and a fifth.
By moving up two rounds with that pick, they were able to draft Kam Chancellor.
So if the Seahawks move down the vast majority of the time that must mean they have acquired way more picks than they've sent off, right? It's all about hoarding picks so you can shuffle through a bunch of dudes just to find the wheat and tell the chaff to fuck right off? Not really. Seattle has actually gotten back significantly fewer picks than they've sent off and are instead more interested in using picks -- which are essentially as good as buying stocks from random tech companies -- for veterans, who they see more as fine art waiting to appreciate in value once they murder an opposing GM.
All told, Schneider has essentially traded 29 picks and two players to acquire 23 picks and 13 players.
Those players include Graham, Harvin, Marshawn Lynch, and Leon Washington. Most of the player acquisitions didn't work out but they were also very low cost. A seventh for Terrelle Pryor, Stacy Andrews, and Tyler Polumbus. A sixth for Marcus Burley and Kentwan Balmer. (Not all together, on separate occasions.) And simply moving down in the draft for Whitehurst and White.
Okay so a lot of times it's for very little return ... which is also sort of how most sixth and seventh round picks turn out. And sometimes, it's the best running back of the last five years for a fourth and a fifth.
But I'm not talking about all of this just to run some case study on Schneider. We can use five-plus years of information to try and guess what's going to happen on May 2, when ultimately he's going to have to buy a lot of Italian beef sandwiches for all his new players.
If I were to look at the "betting habits" of Schneider on draft day and predict what could happen this year, this is where I would focus my attention:
- Five of his 20 trades involving picks have been with the Detroit Lions and GM Martin Mayhew. This includes the only two times Schneider has ever traded up. The Lions currently pick 54th in the second round, nine spots ahead of Seattle. If there is a player that Schneider likes that falls to 54, it would seem likely that he'd call Mayhew and find out what the chances were that he could use his second and a fourth to move up.
- He has also traded with Howie Roseman (Eagles) twice, the Jets twice (new GM, though he may have the relationship with owner Woody Johnson), and Rick Spielman (Vikings) twice. There have been no deals with Ted Thompson, his former GM in Green Bay, and the Packers sit right in front of the Seahawks in the draft order this year.
- In five years, Seattle has drafted five receivers: two in the second, and three in the fourth. They also traded a 1/3/7 to the Vikings for Harvin. It seems likely that if the Seahawks like a receiver in this draft, they might like him in the second, where a good player in a deep class could fall, or fourth, where they have three picks.
Russell Wilson is the only quarterback that they've drafted.
Jordan Hill is the highest-drafted defensive tackle by the team, and he went 87th in 2013.
If you counted Bruce Irvin as a defensive end at the time he was drafted, he'd be the only defensive end that they've taken in the top 100.
Walter Thurmond is the highest-drafted cornerback in regime history, having gone 111th in 2010. Outside of Earl Thomas at 14, Chancellor is the second-highest drafted safety for Schneider at 133.
I would focus on offensive line and receiver on day two, but if a great prospect at any position falls that day, Schneider will likely do something about it. If they have a first round grade at someone who makes it to 54, I don't think they'll hesitate to act. But they're also not afraid to hold firm ...
- In five drafts, Schneider has made: 9 picks, 9 picks, 10 picks, 11 picks, and 9 picks. It's easy to assume that because Seattle has a good roster and isn't picking until 63rd that of course they're going to want to use some to move up, but that's not necessarily true. They have shown they are perfectly content with taking eleven players, which they did after 2012 despite clearly being one of the league's best teams and adding a number of good free agents, like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.
It would seem they actually have more holes to fill than they did the last two years, with the departures of Byron Maxwell, James Carpenter, Max Unger, Jeron Johnson, and injuries to Jeremy Lane and Paul Richardson.
- If they do trade picks, it seems like that they'll do so to acquire established, low-cost veterans. Typically they do this with sixth and seventh round picks, and rarely on draft day. Washington and White are really the two most notable examples of that, and it was way back in 2010. They can't do that with comp picks, but they have the Jets sixth and their own seventh, which is essentially so low in value that they would be better served to take a chance on a project d-lineman-turned-o-lineman than trade for a veteran.
When thinking about potential trades, how should you speculate? Wildly. But educated-wildly.
Ask yourself what needs they have could be met with low-cost, low-risk veterans:
- Backup quarterback
- Punt/kick returner
- Utility offensive lineman
- Rotational DE/DT
- Nickel cornerback
- Backup safety
Okay, so take those needs and then take a look at Schneider's favorite trading partner, the Lions, and their roster, because Detroit only has six picks, including none in the fourth or fifth rounds. Between 89 and 199, the Lions do not pick. Over those picks, Seattle goes seven times. (Did we all just say "wow" together? Well, I know I was alone, because as I write this, I am the only one getting a sneak preview of my own article, but all of y'all just said wow and you're welcome for that shared experience.)
Does Detroit have any veterans at those positions that might interest Schneider? I have no idea, but I can wildly speculate:
- Kellen Moore, QB
- Rodney Austin, G
- Taylor Boggs, C/G
- Cornelius Lucas, T/G
- Kerry Hyder, DT
- Roy Philon, DT
- Greg Hickman, DT
- Xavier Proctor, DT
- Devin Taylor, DE
- Mohammed Seisay, CB
- Bill Bentley, CB
- Isa Abdul-Quuddus, S
If you think that's not an exciting list of players, it's probably because we are talking about late draft picks to acquire them. Were Seattle to be sitting in the seventh round and felt like they didn't love any of the available players, would they then try to call Mayhew and ask about Moore or Seisay? You know Moore probably won't be an NFL starter, but you can at least put him in a competition with B.J. Daniels for the backup spot, until they sign a veteran.
These deals also might not be straight player for pick deals, but player for "moving down picks," or player and future pick for current pick. There are many ways to make it happen.
I don't expect Detroit to deal any offensive lineman because they have essentially the same problem there as Seattle does, but defensive line, and maybe secondary, they could be a potential trading partner. Either way, I would not at all be surprised to see the Seahawks come away from the draft with at least one player who was drafted a year or more ago.
They could also be involved with a trade that includes moving one of their own players for another player, either with picks involved or not, but probably with picks involved:
- I've been saying for awhile now that I think Christine Michael is at the point in his career where he might not able to be more valuable on the field than he would be in a trade. The starter for at least another year is Lynch, and he's backed up by Robert Turbin. We have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that Lynch-Turbin won't be the depth at running back, which would suggest Michael won't be seeing additional time on the field.
Given that Seattle can reasonably say that Michael is still a good player, potentially a great one, but was unable to get playing time because of the Seahawks' depth, they can still extract some value for him in a deal. The one that I am most interested in speculating about involves a multiple-times trading partner with Schneider: Rick Speilman.
What if Seattle sent Michael to the Vikings in return for Cordarrelle Patterson?
Patterson was essentially drafted one round ahead of Michael in the same year. He has struggled to evolve much as a receiver through two seasons, and after being an All-Pro kick returner in 2013, he was not as effective there last season. However, he's still a great project receiver, just as Michael is still a great project running back.
(Note to self: Sell "Project Running Back" to the Bravo network.)
Minnesota is kind of unsure of what they're going to do at running back next season due to some "issue" there, but now is as good a time as any to give yourself insurance besides Jerick McKinnon (drafted with a pick they acquired in the Harvin deal) and Matt Asiata. A lot of people have mocked a running back to them in the first or second, but why do that when Michael is still a pretty damn good prospect and probably cheaper. They have acquired Mike Wallace, and have high hopes for Charles Johnson. They also like that Teddy Bridgewater guy a lot and for whatever reason, the two never got on the same page in 2014.
The Seahawks kind of have to take a chance on a receiver like Patterson. He provides a look at receiver that they really need, and at worst he's your new kick returner, and one that has been rather phenomenal at times. Since the Vikings don't have a sixth round pick this year, would Seattle be able to throw in a sixth or fifth rounder to Minnesota in order to offset the deal since they probably like Patterson a little more than we like Michael?
It's doable, and it makes a lot of sense.
Either way, on May 2, Portillo's is gonna make a lot of sandwiches ... Schneider's gonna have a lot more mouths to feed.