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John Schneider preparing for an unprecedented first day of NFL Draft
So, what does a guy who lives for the process do in the first round of the NFL Draft when he has no pick?
John Schneider is about to find out because, for the first time in his 21-year career in the league, the Seahawks’ general manager will not be involved in making a first-round pick next Thursday.
“It’s weird,” Schneider said Wednesday, when he met with the media to discuss this unprecedented situation. “We’re going to sit and watch how it comes off.”
That’s where the team’s first-round pick – No. 25 overall – went. Schneider traded it as part of the three-pick package to acquire receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last month.
Schneider has said on more than one occasion that he considers the not-yet 25-year-old Harvin the team’s first-round draft choice. And, even though Schneider won’t come right out and say it, the Seahawks were not going to get a player as good as Harvin if they had kept that 25th pick.
“When you look at this draft, it’s very unique,” Schneider said of a situation where it’s difficult to determine the Top 5 players in this draft class let alone who might be available at 25. “It’s the most unique draft, and I’m not just saying this because we don’t have a first-round draft choice this year.
“I felt that way a little bit when we made the deal with Percy. But now the closer we’ve gotten to this thing, it’s really kind of stood out that the first round is just a wide variety of players. It’s really going to be your favorite flavor of ice cream.”
While they’re sitting and watching those Harvin highlights, Schneider and his staff and coach Pete Carroll and his staff will be preparing to make their first pick in this year’s draft – which won’t come until Friday, when they hold the 56th pick overall in the second round.
The Seahawks have improved an already good team this offseason, and that also will impact this draft. In addition to Harvin, whose diverse skills are a perfect fit for what the Seahawks like to do on offense, they’ve also enhanced a defense that ranked No. 4 in the league last season with the free-agent signings of defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel and cornerback Antoine Winfield.
“I’d be lying to you if I said it doesn’t,” Schneider offered when asked if the offseason moves impact what the team will do in the draft. “Because we build our (draft) board off of our team, we don’t build it for the league. So it has impacted it based on the depth at each position and then how we think people can compete at certain positions with the guys that are currently on our roster.”
The Seahawks’ fourth-year GM also touched on other topics during his Q&A session:
The status of Chris Clemons – The Seahawks’ sack leader the past three seasons is recovery from surgery to repair the ligament he damaged in his left knee during the wild-card playoff win over the Washington Redskins in January.
“Our training staff told me he’s doing great,” Schneider said. “He’s really a quick healer. … I can’t tell you from a PUP standpoint what’s going to happen with that.”
That’s a reference to whether Clemons will need to start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list.
“Obviously we’ll know more in, say, two months,” he said.
The status of James Carpenter – The team’s first-round selection in the 2011 draft missed nine games last season because of injuries, after missing seven games as a rookie. But the coaches feel Carpenter could develop in to a road-grader of a blocker at left guard.
“He’s been doing well,” Schneider said. “He’s stayed the whole time (this offseason).”
Carpenter has been working one-on-one with assistant trainer Jamie Yanchar.
“It’s going to be a pure confidence thing for James,” Schneider said. “He’s very, very strong right now. From what they tell me, he’s the strongest guy on our team.”
Brady Quinn replacing Matt Flynn as the backup to Russell Wilson – Flynn was traded to the Oakland Raiders this month, so Quinn was signed after the club worked out four quarterbacks.
“Brady’s all football all the time,” Schneider said of Quinn, who entered the league in 2007 as the Cleveland Browns’ first-round draft choice. “He’s a junkie. He can’t enough. So we thought he’d be a real cool fit with Russell.
“Brady also is a guy who, in our opinion, has put a lot of pressure on himself. And people have put undue pressure on him. … We just wanted to get him in a situation where, we just talked about having fun; making football fun and working hard and trying to improve every day. But have fun doing it.”