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2019 NFL Draft: The Seahawks are looking for “job taker” prospects

NFL: Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is nearly upon us! Despite endless mocks, predictions and “Draft on tape” pieces, we still are unsure exactly who the Seattle Seahawks are taking. They have TWO first round picks after the Frank Clark trade, but John Schneider and Pete Carroll won’t know the exact future Seahawks either. However, you can bet that every selection will fit a theme: “job taking.”

The draft is a brutally fluid process that leaves the ill-prepared jobless and their respective team’s woefully non-competitive. But the Seahawks appear to have refined their process to targeting prospects with the ‘right’ mentality. The Combine and Pre-Draft pressers revealed that to us outsiders.

What embodies the mentality the Seahawks want, all the sought-after elements, is a “take jobs” attitude. This is the underlying ethos of the “smart, tough, reliable” 2014 coinage of Schneider. Schneider and Carroll want a “they took er jerbs” lockeroom. Not exactly like South Park. But a relentlessly competitive locker room that is vying for each starting spot. Successful NFL players are arrogant and relentlessly driven.

“We have to get to that point where we’re bringing in players that are willing to take somebody’s job, as ugly as that sounds, but they have that level of confidence to them,” stated Schneider in Indianapolis.

The General Manager broke his typical caginess in front of the assembled media at this year’s scouting combine, going on to admit that “some of the mistakes that I’ve made along the way are maybe not bringing some guys that were ready to take, and I’m just saying, for instance, they’re looking at Kam Chancellor like “Holy smokes that’s Kam Chancellor, it’s Earl Thomas, it’s Richard Sherman, how am I gonna make this team?””

Schneider reaffirmed Seattle’s draft strategy this month. He mentioned “not making excuses for players” and once more spoke about “smart, tough, reliable competitors—guys that are gonna come in and be ready to go after somebody’s job.”

The Seahawks got into poor drafting when they were picking complimentary depth pieces. Instead, a team should always draft ballers who will start—whatever it takes. Much is (rightly) made of Carroll’s “Always Compete” mantra. It’s his driving philosophy. Always Compete tumbles if a team doesn’t take future starters. Seattle failed to Seth Wickersham levels. The death knell of a franchise! Picks like C.J. Prosise felt soft at the time and they feel even squashier now. 2018, premature or not, feels far more effective as a draft.

Clark’s departure creates a mini-vacuum of leadership but also an absence of a player who wanted to “take jobs.” Happily, Seattle now seem far more certain of the character they are aiming for. The Front Office has recalibrated with the culture reset and are ready to get back to godly drafting far more akin to circa 2012.

The Seahawks will have a far better idea of which prospects suit the required mentality thanks to meeting them, interviewing them or hosting them in the pre-draft circus. “We’re constantly trying to figure out who the person is,” Schneider revealed at the Combine. It’s now time for the biggest moment of his career. It’s “job taker” season.