Seahawks general manager John Schneider and his wife Traci joined 710 ESPN Seattle Monday to discuss their involvement with Ben’s Fund, a foundation named after their son Ben that provides grants to Washington families to help cover costs associated with children on the autism spectrum.
You can read more about the Schneiders’ and Seahawks’ autism awareness efforts right here, but during the second half of the radio segment John Schneider touched on several football topics, starting by giving listeners his overall feel for the 2019 offseason.
“I think just being able to kind of be a little bit more selective in terms of how we’re approaching free agency," he said. "Last year, we had some significant losses with Kam’s (Chancellor) injury and Cliff’s (Avril) injury and losing Luke (Willson) and Jimmy Graham leaving and Paul Richardson leaving. So I think we were a little bit more aggressive with the unrestricted guys. This year, we’re trying to be a little bit more selective with the cap casualty guys that don’t count toward your compensatory picks. Right now we’re looking at 11 picks in 2020, but we have four right now and I just spent the weekend looking at our board like, ‘that’s not cool.’”
In addition to the Schneiders’ work with Ben’s Fund, John’s feel for the 2019 offseason, and his ’that’s not cool’ reaction to Seattle owning just four draft picks, here are five more things we learned from John Schneider on ‘Brock and Salk’:
1. The Seahawks Would "Love To Pick More Than Four Times" In The 2019 Draft
As Schneider notes, the Seahawks hold just four picks in the 2019 draft. The Seahawks have one in the first round (No. 21 overall), one in the third round (No. 82 overall), one in the fourth round (No. 124 overall), and one in the fifth round (No. 159 overall).
Historically under Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, regardless of the number of picks Seattle has held each year, the club has preferred to use its picks in the draft to trade back with another club to net more picks in the draft’s later rounds. Notably, the last time the Seahawks’ used their original first-round pick came in 2011, when they selected offensive lineman James Carpenter.
At the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Schneider said he hopes the Seahawks will come out of this year’s draft with more picks than they currently have. He reiterated that stance Monday, but did not shut down the possibility of picking at No. 21 overall, and also offered thoughts on challenges that can come up in the mid-draft trading process.
“It’s safe to say, but it’s a darn good draft, so I could see a very good player being there for us at 21,” Schneider said when asked if it’s safe to assume the Seahawks will try to make more than four picks this year. "Then the other part of it is everybody’s like, ‘well, they always like to go back,’ but you have to find a partner, you have to negotiate within a specific amount of time, so it’s not like an easy thing just to move back. We’d love to pick more than four times, though. It’s just going to be how do you do it? It’s going to be a challenge this year because like I said the depth, the way we see it, is pretty good.”
2. Defensive Line Is The Strength Of The Draft
Schneider said he sees defensive line as the strength of this year’s draft, and many of the recent mock drafts from around the web tend to agree with the Seattle GM, mocking a handful of defensive linemen throughout the first round, including to the Seahawks with the 21st overall pick.
“It’s really at the top with the defensive line. It really stands out,” Schneider said when asked about the strength of this year’s draft class. "I haven’t seen this before, where you’re looking up at the first round and there’s a number of — it’s like what flavor ice cream do you like, you know what I mean? You want a big run-stuffer? You want a quick three-technique? You want five edge rushers?”
3. The Number Of Names On Seattle’s Draft Board
Like every other NFL team, the Seahawks keep themselves fairly well-guarded when it comes to the names on their draft board ahead of each year’s selection process. Schneider, of course, didn’t give away any specifics Monday when it comes to the names on Seattle's board, and he'll rarely go into detail when asked about a specific player that's coming out of college, but the Seattle GM did reveal the initial number of names that he and his personnel staff start evaluating as prospective Seahawks.
“We start with like about 1,200, then we get it down to about 300,” he said. “Now we’re at, over the next couple weeks we’ll probably get it to about 150 that we know, these are Seahawks.”
4. How Doug Baldwin’s Surgeries Could Impact The WR Group
Doug Baldwin was already recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, and at the NFL annual meeting last month, Carroll said the Seattle wideout is also slated to undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia. Despite the uncertainty on Baldwin's health, Schneider does not see a drastic need at the receiver position, stating he likes what Seattle has in some of its younger receivers.
“To a point, yeah. Yeah, to a point. But not drastic, not any different than we would any other year,” Schneider said. "It’s a solid, solid draft class. There’s some good unrestricted receivers still out there; we messed around with Jordy (Nelson) a little bit, had him in for a great visit and he just decided to retire back to Kansas. There’s some young guys in that group, we have (Malik) Turner in there, we’re getting Amara (Darboh) back from his chest injury, he’s been working his tail off."
5. Who Will Make A Big Jump In 2019?
Schneider and Carroll have prided themselves on the way they’ve been able to develop the young talent on their roster, and in 2019, Schneider said he expects “a bunch of guys” to make a big jump with their play on the field.
"I think Delano (Hill) stands out right away,” he said. "We’ll get (Will) Dissly back, he was doing a great job for us. … Obviously, Tedric (Thompson) will take another step, Tre Flowers. Rasheem Green, I look for good things for him. He had one of those typical rookie years, same thing with (Rashaad) Penny. Penny had never ever been hurt before, he had the highest medical grade we can give people, right? Then he came in and was like, ‘what? what is this?’ So he was like figuring out how to deal with his injuries. There’s just a number of guys that we’re really excited about. David Moore, obviously. I think it’s a pretty cool group.”
More from Schneider's conversation with 'Brock and Salk,' including comments about the challenges of contract situations each year, can be found in the 710 ESPN Seattle audio embedded below.