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Seahawks add nine more picks on final day of draft
WR Chris Harper, Kansas State
DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
CB Tharold Simon, LSU
TE Luke Willson, Rice
RB Spencer Ware, LSU
OG Ryan Seymour, Vanderbilt
DE Ty Powell, Harding
OG Jared Smith, New Hampshire
OT Michael Bowie, Northeastern State (Okla.)
On the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seahawks went global.
Of the nine players they selected Saturday, one is from Australia (Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams) and another from Canada (Rice tight end Luke Willson). They also grabbed a player from New Hampshire (defensive end Jared Smith, who will be moved to offensive guard) and another from Harding University (Leo end/linebacker Ty Powell). There were two from LSU (cornerback Tharold Simon and fullback Spencer Ware). Two others came from Vanderbilt (guard Ryan Seymour) and Northeastern State in Oklahoma (tackle Michael Bowie). The other (wide receiver Chris Harper) began his college career as a quarterback at Oregon only to end it as a wide receiver at Kansas State.
But their paths will all cross May 10-12 during the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp, and the final destination is the same for each – a spot on the team’s 53-man roster when the Seahawks open the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Panthers in Carolina.
“We’re extremely excited. Great group of guys,” said general manager John Schneider, his enthusiasm over this diverse draft class palpable as he sat next to coach Pete Carroll at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“Obviously today was our most exciting day, and we’re really excited about the toughness that we added to this team, the speed, the intensity of the guys and we think it’s going to be a great group to coincide with coach Carroll’s philosophy of competition.”
But don’t forget what the team did in the first two days of the draft. Friday, the Seahawks added to an already talented running back group by drafting Texas A&M’s Christine Michael in the second round and addressed their biggest need by taking Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill in the third. They had no pick in the first round on Thursday night, because they traded it to the Minnesota Vikings last month as part of a three-pick package to acquire Percy Harvin and all that he’ll bring to the offense.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Schneider said, the expression on his face matching the words that were coming from his mouth.
The 11 picks tied for the second-most in franchise history since the league went to a seven-round draft in 1994 – trailing only the 12 picks the Seahawks had in 2001. They entered Saturday with 12 picks, but traded two away to move into the fourth spot in the fifth round – which is where they took Williams, a 6-foot-3, 325-pound defensive tackle who grew up playing rugby in Brisbane, Australia.
“He’s really an intense, jump-off-the-ball, strong guy who really will fill a specific role for us,” Schneider said of Williams, who can bench press 600 pounds and still is learning the nuances of a sport he didn’t start playing until he was teenager. “Just his strength, his movement down the line and his ability to compress the pocket is an intriguing thing for us.”
The image of the 325-pound Williams at the three-technique tackle spot, next to 311-pound nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who’s next to 323-pound end Red Bryant on run downs, definitely was dancing in Schneider’s head on this equivalent of Christmas morning for NFL personnel executives.
With the very next pick in the fifth round, which was acquired last month when they traded backup QB Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders, they grabbed Simon because, well, let Schneider explain.
“Quite frankly, we had a player that fits exactly what we’re looking for in the corner position,” the team’s fourth-year GM said. “We didn’t feel he would make it to us the next time (with the 25th pick in the round), so we just wanted to go ahead and give it a shot.”
Then there are Harper and Willson, who bring traits to the competition at wide receiver and tight end that players on the current roster don’t have.
The efforts of the past two days have left the Seahawks with more of what they already had – fast, physical, aggressive players who love football and flaunt their passion for the game in the way they play it.
“We’ve elevated our team again,” Carroll said. “We’ve chosen a bunch of guys that love to play the game. It’s really important to them.”
Now comes the hard part: Meshing these players with the current roster, when there isn’t enough room for everyone. For every draft choice that makes the team, it will take a roster spot from a player who helped the Seahawks go 11-5 during the 2012 regular-season and then win the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983.
But that’s OK, because that’s what the competition Carroll is constantly preaching is all about.
“We hope it’s really hard on them, that it’s very difficult,” Carroll said. “That means we’re going in the right direction. The whole idea is to make this roster as competitive as possible. So that means it’s hard for these guys to make it. But it’s also the quality of guys we were able to draft and attract here in free agency that makes it hard for guys to keep their jobs.
“That’s just understood. That’s part of the makeup of being here at the Seahawks.”