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From minicamp to maxi-draft

Posted Apr 15, 2010

The Seahawks finished their first minicamp under coach Pete Carroll on Thursday and now set their sights on improving the team in next week’s NFL draft

The practices were spirited and productive. The players were attentive and well-conditioned. The weather couldn’t have been better.

That’s why Pete Carroll was so pleased after his first minicamp as coach of the Seahawks.

“This is a very successful three days for us,” Carroll said Thursday. “On so many different levels. Just connecting our football with our players in conditioning them to the way we practice. Philosophically, a lot of stuff happens in the meeting rooms. Us gaining information about our guys. All that stuff.

“Everything worked out very well for us.”

But as soon as Carroll offered that assessment, he already was on to the next task at hand: Next week’s NFL draft, where the Seahawks have two picks in the first round and nine overall to address what Carroll has labeled “issues in a number of areas.”

There is a need for more depth on the offensive line – and likely a left tackle to step in for Walter Jones, the nine-time Pro Bowler who is contemplating retirement. Carroll and first-year general manager John Schneider have talked about the need to have more playmakers on offense, as well as getting bigger, younger and more athletic in the secondary. They also could use a pass rusher after the defense generated one sack during the four-game losing streak to end last season.

“Yeah, it’s a pretty important draft,” Schneider offered with a chuckle. “I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t. But I’m confident in our preparation and kind of want it to get here.

“It’s kind of like that feeling before a game. As confident as you are in your abilities, you kind of get those butterflies a little bit.”

This will be a different draft for the Seahawks, and not just because they have the two picks in the first round. They have a first-year GM, who has brought a different way of scouting and stacking the draft board that Schneider developed while working for Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren in Seattle and Marty Schottenheimer in Kansas City and Washington. They also have a coach with intimate knowledge of so many players in this draft class because he recruited them and coached against them while at the University of Southern California.

Schneider and Carroll are on the same page as they move into the final stages of their preparation for the draft.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us,” Carroll said of the draft in general and the sixth and 14th picks in the first round specifically. “That was an exciting aspect of coming here, that there’s a big opportunity for us to get a couple big shots right off the bat.

“We’re excited about it. It’s going to be a little like Christmas. We’ve got to wait and see what’s in those packages. We’re not sure yet. But we’ll be absolutely ready for the scenarios and we really need to hit it. We need two guys to come in and help this football team win in that first round.”

Back to the practice field, Carroll was extremely pleased with the efforts of his quarterbacks – Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst and Mike Teel. Not just with their practice-field performance, but the work they did before hand that allowed the entire unit – and team – to get the most from this minicamp.

“What was maybe beyond expectations was the quarterbacks,” Carroll said. “The work they have done to get ready for this, so we could function like this. They had so much under their command and they were really sharp for the first time out.”

It was only one step – and a first step, at that. But Carroll was confident that it was a step in the right direction.