Appearing before the media for their final press conference leading up to the NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are practically giddy with excitement, and why shouldn’t they be? They have the 9th overall pick, along with two back-to-back second rounders, and four total in the top 75. But not only did they touch on their draft strategy and give hints on a couple positions they may be targeting, the indomitable HC and GM combo also discussed issues ranging from unsigned veterans to the college transfer portal, and even whether or not they actually look for corners with 32” arms. Read on!
*All quotes transcribed directly [by me] from the presser video, which is embedded at the end of this article if you want to watch for yourself!
Schneider opened up with acknowledgments and thanks to staff in the organization and then went on to discuss how the draft prep is going in this unique offseason:
“We don’t know what to do with our hands... it’s gonna be different... you know we may pick at nine, we may not, we don’t know yet we’re gonna do whatever we can to help this football team as much as we possibly can, and its obviously exciting but it’s not necessarily the place you want to be drafting.”
Regarding the second round picks:
“That was a big part of the trade... especially in this year’s draft, the way things look to us.”
John Schneider, on whether re-signing Geno impacts whether or not they draft/add another QB:
Schneider then went on to describe “a quietness about it that can make people feel either anxious or extremely calm... doesn’t seem to be a lot of buzz right now... I think it was the year that Jake Locker and Ponder and that whole group of guys went, it was pretty quiet and then they all went high.”
Schneider spoke on whether the extra year of COVID eligibility adds more depth to the middle rounds, saying:
“[limited access to players via combine, etc] was one of the primary reasons we decided to make that trade [for Jamal Adams]... This class, I would say with all the seniors coming back, I think you see maybe less impactfulness and more quality throughout the draft.”
Pete responded positively to a question on quarterbacks playing more spread and less pro-style in college, and how this impacts the mental/processing stuff when the team met with some of these guys, having this to say about the class:
“Really impressive... they’re raised well... regardless of the style of the offense, these guys are prepared... had numerous meetings with guys trying to figure out if there are limitations in their background... I don’t think the style of offense is a factor... we do appreciate the fact when guys have been under center... but it really transitions pretty quickly.”
On linemen coming out of different styles of offenses and the “two point stance”. Carroll described this as being even more important than for QBs, saying:
“Depending on which programs they come from... if they come from the heavy running programs it’s not as big a deal but there’s some teams that throw the ball all over the yard and they’re all gun runs and there’s a difference to their style... maybe more so than the QBs even... getting in a three-point stance is a different deal.”
Regarding Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe and how that has impacted their decision to not pursue a T in FA, Schneider said:
“Those guys... Jake was able to have more play time last year so we have a better evaluation of him... Stone started at left tackle in the SEC... one of the first games we ever put on with him was against Georgia... feels like they have 220 players getting drafted this year, especially on defense... Stone’s played big boy football and he knows what its all about...”
Schneider went on to emphasize what Carroll said about college offensive lines running a variety of offenses, discussing the speed and tempo that schools utilize which also begets a smaller, more agile offensive line.
Asked if they still rely on guys like Lane Kiffin or Ed Orgeron — with whom Carroll has previous coaching connections — for evaluating players in the draft, Pete replied:
“Yeah we still use the connections that we have as much as anything... you know that kind of information exchange can be invaluable because you know the people you are dealing with.”
This led to a question about how the NCAA transfer portal is changing this, Carroll discussed the impact this may have on players, saying “they’re getting ready for FA at an early age... we don’t really know the impact of that yet.” Carroll went on to say that they don’t know what to expect regarding the recent changing landscape of collegiate sports that no longer prohibits players from making money while in the NCAA.
John interjected this humorous (if a bit hard to follow) anecdote, which I find significant only because he is again mentioning that they were watching offensive linemen — and then he corrects himself to say they were watching pass rushers. I don’t think this is any big Freudian Slip on his part, but rather just indicative of the recurring theme that they are looking at QBs, O-line, and pass rushers, as he mentions several times throughout the presser. Anyway, read on;
“Funny story, if you want some inside stuff... we were watching some offensive linemen, like, a couple weeks ago and we’re like ‘oh this guy’... actually we were watching pass rushers and there was an offensive linemen after linemen after offensive linemen that they all kept getting beat by this guy... and we’re like ‘oh he must have entered the transfer portal during the season, is that the same guy?’ cause he had the same number...”
On their draft strategy, and whether they go BPA or go for a particular need, and if this is different with the 9th overall pick in hand, Schneider explained:
“No it hasn’t changed, Larry, it’s the way our grading scale is... we’ve added to it since we’ve been here, we’ve adjusted some things and tweaked some things along the way. I say our grading scale is really like Al Davis Dick Steinberg and Ron Wolf kind of combined... we’ve added a couple of things to it, so its not like ‘our grading scale,’... that includes drafting for your team, not neccessarily for the league... We draft for our team [not how the league/media feels].... that’s where you get in trouble”
(Editor’s note: For those who don’t recognize the name Dick Steinberg, he was the general manager of the New York Jets from 1990 until 1994, obviously serving in that capacity during the period when Pete Carroll was defensive coordinator (1990-1993) and head coach (1994). -JPG)
Michael-Shawn Dugar of the Athletic asked about the 32” CB arm prototype, and whether that has changed with Tre Brown and DJ Reed’s success. Carroll and Schneider took turns on this one, alternatively denying and confirming that this was actually a thing.
Carroll: “Where’d you get that 32” thing, we don’t have that written down...”
Schneider: “I think we put that out there... The numbers are diminishing my friend, you take what you can get.”
Carroll: That’s not something that has really changed... though that attribute is one that help guys play, but not everybody has it so you gotta take a look at the guys and see what you got... I think I’ve become more flexible with the thought... talents come in a different package sometimes, I thought Tre was a really good example of that... but when we see it like we liked it... we still love it.”
Carroll on how the 3-4 changes player evaluations:
“Yeah, it’s still a hybrid 3-4 that is very similar to the stuff we have done over the years... we’re working to expand. As we go through this... you’ll see [the process] being affected by the new outlook.”
On Duane Brown, Carroll had one emphatic statement; “We have not moved on, we’re still talking.” John elaborated a bit, drawing parallels between previous veterans and shedding a bit of light on the process as it works for veterans in the league who have a bit more agency (no pun intended) over their future, saying:
“there’s a ton of veterans still, there’s a lot of high quality guys out there right now who haven’t been able to find a specific market they are looking for... guys have confidence in their abilities and they’re waiting for the right... the right team at the right time... guys [that are really good with their money] are waiting until training camp to see if anything happens with another club and if not if another club’s you know... unfortunately it happened to KJ last year, he signed August 1st I think...”
(Editor’s Note: K.J. Wright signed with the Las Vegas Raiders on September 6, 2021. - JPG)
Onward to the draft!!!