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Seahawks honing in on No. 56
The Seahawks do not have a first-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft, so …
General manager John Schneider is taking some well-deserved comp time after acquiring defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel in free agency and working trades to acquire receiver/returner/runner Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings and send backup quarterback Matt Flynn to the Oakland Raiders.
Scott Fitterer, the team’s director of college scouting, has hung a “gone fishin’ ” sign on the door of his office at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
The draft room sits uncharacteristically quiet and the meetings to stack the team’s draft board have been suspended indefinitely.
The smile that washes across Fitterer’s face when these ridiculous scenarios are presented screams, “Yeah, right.”
And, as Schneider offers, “You still want your first pick to be impactful.”
So if anything – and if possible – Schneider, Fitterer and their staffs are hitting it even harder in these final 2½ weeks before the three-day draft begins on April 25.
“It’s just harder to figure out who to target at that first pick,” Schneider said.
That’s because 55 players will have been removed from those available by the time the Seahawks make their first pick on April 26 – the 26th pick in the second round, but No. 56 overall because the Cleveland Browns used their second-round pick in the Supplemental Draft and the New Orleans Saints forfeited their pick in the second round.
In 37 previous drafts, the Seahawks never have picked from the 56th spot.
They’ve had the 55th pick, which they used to select cornerback Josh Wilson in 2007. Wilson started 23 games in three seasons before being traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2010 – because a 5-foot-9 corner did not fit with the philosophy of coach Pete Carroll, who now has 6-4 Brandon Browner and 6-3 Richard Sherman manning the corners in a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league last season and also ranked No. 4 in average yards allowed.
They’ve also had the 57th pick. That was way back in 1979, when they used it to draft University of Washington linebacker Michael Jackson, who would lead the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons (1980-82).
In the past 10 NFL drafts, eight teams have had the 56th pick – the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos, twice each; as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants.
The Giants were up first in 2003, and they got two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who also has 75 sacks in his career. But that spot also yielded Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm (Packers in 2008), who did not throw a touchdown pass in two seasons with the Packers and two more with the Buffalo Bills; and Purdue defensive end Mike Neal (Packers in 2010), who has one start and 17 tackles in three seasons.
The other picks at No. 56 belonged to the Steelers last year, when they selected Ohio State tackle Mike Adams, who started six games on the right side; the Patriots in 2011, when they drafted Cal running back Shane Vereen, who has 308 rushing yards in two seasons; the Colts in 2009, when they took USC defensive tackle Fili Moala, who has been a three-year starter and has 69 tackles; the Broncos in 2007, when they opted for Texas defensive end Tim Crowder, who played two seasons in Denver and the past three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the Ravens in 2006, when they drafted Oklahoma center Chris Chester, who has 79 starts for Baltimore and the Redskins (201-12); the Broncos in 2005, when they selected Oklahoma State wide receiver Darrent Williams, who was killed during a drive-by shooting in 2007; and the Bengals in 2004, when they went for Maryland cornerback Madieu Williams, who has 13 interceptions while playing for the Bengals, Vikings, 49ers and Redskins.
So while it is possible to find players who can help at No. 56, Umenyiora is the only Pro Bowl player among the group that spot has yielded in the past 10 drafts.
The Seahawks also have nine other picks in this year’s draft, just not the same 10 after giving the Vikings No. 25 overall and a seventh-rounder in the Harvin deal, which also includes a third-round pick next year. The Seahawks were awarded two compensatory seventh-round picks.
And what Schneider and crew have done with their middle-round picks in their first three drafts for the Seahawks can’t be stressed enough – or strongly enough – as they’ve added quarterback Russell Wilson (third round), linebacker K.J. Wright (fourth round) and strong safety Kam Chancellor and Sherman (fifth round). All are starters, and major contributors.
So all is not lost just because the Seahawks don’t have a first-round pick on April 25.
Besides, Harvin is the team’s first-round pick in 2013, and a better and more-proven prospect than any player in this year’s draft class who could have been had with the 25th pick.
“Our first-round pick is Percy Harvin,” Schneider said. “And that’s pretty cool.”