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Kevin Norwood was just too good for Seahawks to pass on

Posted May 10, 2014

The Seahawks entered the 2014 NFL Draft with only six picks, but GM John Schneider wheeled-and-dealed his way into having seven on Saturday’s third day. And the team used them to select a unique collection of prospects.

The Seahawks already had used their top draft choice to select a wide receiver, so they weren't really in the market for another.

But when they got into the fourth round on Saturday, there sat Kevin Norwood – in that "all alone" territory as the top player remaining on their draft board. So the Alabama wide receiver it was.

"We had taken Paul (Richardson) already and didn't necessarily anticipate another receiver being there," general manager John Schneider said at the conclusion of the final four rounds in the three-day NFL Draft. "But Kevin was by himself up there.

"I can't believe we were able to draft him."

And the Norwood selection pretty much summed up how the third day of the NFL Draft went for the Seahawks.

"We're just thrilled with the way the guys came to us," coach Pete Carroll said.

Before it was over, the Seahawks had supplemented their Day 2 selections from Friday – Richardson and tackle Justin Britt – by adding a couple of big lineman, Middle Tennessee defensive tackle Jimmy Staten (fifth round) and Marshall offensive tackle Garrett Scott (sixth round); a big defensive back who played safety in college but will be tried at cornerback, San Diego State's Eric Pinkins (sixth round); a wide-bodied fullback, Arkansas' Kiero Small (seventh round); and two more potential playmakers for a defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season, UCLA end Cassius Marsh and Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (fourth round).

But the pick that came with the most wow-factor for Schneider and Carroll was Norwood.

"He's such a solid guy," Schneider said. "There's nothing overly flashy about him, except he's incredibly tough and reliable and smart and savvy, and I think that's probably why he lasted as long as he did."

And that's why he's now a Seahawk. The 6-foot-2 Norwood joins the ridiculously fast Richardson as the latest additions to a good-hands group that did lose leading receiver Golden Tate in free agency but also returns Doug Baldwin. And Jermaine Kearse. Andy Percy Harvin. And Sidney Rice. And younger prospects Ricardo Lockette, Phil Bates and Bryan Walters. And has added former CFL receiver Chris Matthews.

It's all about competition under Carroll, and it just got amped to a new level among the wide receivers.

"I think it's pretty dang stiff," Schneider said of the competition among the wide-outs. "And we didn't go into this thing saying, 'We have to have a receiver.' "  

Norwood made a habit of showing up biggest in the biggest games for the Crimson Tide, catching 67 passes for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns while starting 18 games the past two seasons.

"When you look at a guy like Kevin, you're talking about a guy who's played for arguably the best program in the country for the last several years," Schneider said. "And he's been a humungous part of it. So that reliability factor is not something you take for granted. I know the people at Alabama didn't take him for granted.

"Everything is just like perfect; you can just check your boxes all the way through with him. He's raised well. He's overcome obstacles. He's a good student. There's nothing where you can poke holes in the guy. I mean, here he is. He's like a perfect package."

What's included in that package? Schneider started with his size and speed (4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash), and then added, "He's long. He has big hands. He has a savviness about him as a route runner. He can drop his hips. He knows exactly where the sticks are. He works very well with quarterbacks. Works back to quarterback real well. … And he's deceptive downfield because he's got a smoothness about him, but he's also got more power than you think as well."

And Norwood was the second receiver the Seahawks selected. They added an element of speed when they took Richardson in the second round on Friday. Richardson ran the 40 in 4.33 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, and that speed translated into big-play ability as he averaged 41.8 yards on his 20 touchdowns at Colorado.

"We're really excited that this happened," Carroll said after the Seahawks were able to trade back in the second round and still draft Richardson. "He's got great qualities. His speed is extraordinary. He has terrific hands and a great catching range.

"He's really got characteristics like the guys that have been successful for us. He's got quickness kind of like Doug Baldwin. He's got speed kind of like Percy Harvin. He's has that catching range kind of like Jermaine Kearse. So we just felt really comfortable with his style of play."

It's a style of play, like Norwood's, that plays into the way the Seahawks like to play.