Three days after the Seahawks finished off a 2017 draft that saw them select 11 players, including seven in the first 111 picks, general manager John Schneider made an appearance on Sports Radio 950 KJR to discuss Seattle's new rookies.
Here are five takeaways from Schneider's conversation with Mitch Levy:
1. Malik McDowell was "absolutely" the pick at 26 if the Seahawks hadn't traded back.
The Seahawks moved back from 26 to 31 in the first round, then again two more times, eventually selecting Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell with the 35th overall pick. The Seahawks were comfortable making those moves, which netted them an extra four picks, because as Schneider noted, "we had four guys we would have felt very comfortable taking, so the compensation was too great—we knew we were going to get one of the four guys."
But had the Seahawks been unable to move back, they still would have gone with McDowell late in the first round.
"Absolutely," Schneider said. "We've been here eight years looking for an interior pass rusher with length like that, and he ended up sticking around."
Instead, the Seahawks were able to pick six times in rounds two and three, as well as early in the fourth round, adding, as Schneider noted, six players who had second-round or better grades.
"We felt incredibly blessed because we picked seven times in the first 11 and six of those guys we picked had second round grades or higher," he said.
Schneider also pointed out that a seventh-rounder Seattle added was used on running back Chris Carson, "one of Pete (Carroll)'s favorite players in the draft that he was rooting for the whole time."
As for why a player as physically gifted as McDowell was available early in the second round, Schneider was honest in his assessment.
"The inconsistencies in his play," he said. "You see dominant tendencies, then you see games where he just didn't play quite as hard. If he was more consistent in his play, he would have been a top 10 pick if he was completely dominant all the time. So he needs to learn how to not pick and choose."
How does that happen?
"Coach him," Schneider said. After the draft, Carroll talked about how McDowell's youth—he's still 20—will help in that regard, as will the presence of veteran linemen like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.
2. It was "just a heavy defensive back draft."
After taking McDowell and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic in the second round, the Seahawks chose four defensive backs with their next six picks, Shaquill Griffin, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson and Mike Tyson. One reason the Seahawks felt comfortable waiting to pick defensive backs after picking linemen with their first two picks was the depth of this year's defensive back class.
"It was just a heavy defensive back draft," Schneider said. "The board was definitely thick all the way through, whereas with the offensive line and defensive line you had some pretty big gaps… It truly looked like you could pick good (defensive backs) all the way through, until like the fifth round."
3. The Seahawks have a lot of options at cornerback.
So where will all those new defensive backs play? Well the short answer is, wait and see what happens in training camp and the preseason. But while neither Schneider nor Carroll know exactly how things will play out, they do like the options they have with these rookies.
Asked if Griffin can come in and be a starter at cornerback—last year's starting right corner, DeShawn Shead, is recovering from a knee injury and may not be ready for the start of the season—Schneider said, "He looks the part. I can't tell if you if he's going to be our starter, but he definitely looks the part, has the attributes we're looking for, and he's going to come in here and compete his tail off."
If Griffin isn't ready to step into a starting role, Schneider said options "could be (Neiko) Thorpe, could be (Jeremy) Lane, could be somebody who's not on the team."
Carroll and Schneider have both also mentioned that two draft picks who played safety in college, Hill and Tyson, could be options at corner as well. Those two, as well as Thompson, were picked in large part because of their ball skills—"The number of balls they got their hands on and the aggressive style they play," as Schneider put it.
4. The offensive line features a lot of versatility.
While nobody knows yet what the Seahawks offensive line will look like when the regular season begins, there will be no shortage of options for them to try out in offseason workouts and in training camp.
Schneider mentioned that he personally likes free-agent addition Luke Joeckel at left guard more than left tackle, but that both positions are in play, saying "his versatility is going to be huge for us." Schneider said Oday Aboutshi is an option at right guard and right tackle, Rees Odhiambo is an option at left guard and left tackle, and mentioned Pocic as an option at those spots as well, saying "he has the height to play right tackle."
"You don't want to be shuffling guys a ton, but you also want to have the ability to put guys in the right positions to be the most efficient," Schneider said.
5. Tyler Lockett at Earl Thomas are "doing great."
While Schneider didn't offer a lot of detail on receiver Tyler Lockett and safety Earl Thomas, both of whom are recovering from broken legs, he did say both are "doing great" in their rehab. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said both should be ready for the start of the season, but as for whether or not either will play in preseason games, Schneider said, "not sure on that yet."
Photos of the 11 draft picks the Seahawks selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.