John Schneider is on the verge of conducting his sixth NFL Draft as general manager of the Seattle Seahawks.
Alongside head coach Pete Carroll, Schneider has developed a reputation as one of the League's best talent evaluators with a unique ability to find success with players taken in the draft's later rounds.
This year's draft takes place April 30 - May 2 in Chicago, Ill. and the Seahawks are without a first-round pick after trading the selection (No. 31 overall) to the New Orleans Saints as part of the deal to acquire Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. But Seattle still has 11 picks to work with - most in the NFL.
The team's first pick will come in the second round (No. 63 overall), followed by one in the third (No. 95), three in the fourth (Nos. 112, 130 & 134), two in the fifth (Nos. 167 & 170), three in the sixth (Nos. 181, 209 & 214), and one in the seventh (No. 248).
Schneider held a pre-draft press conference on Wednesday and here are five things we learned - some draft-related and some not - from the Seahawks GM's session with the media:
NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock shares his top five interior offensive linemen set to enter this year's draft.
1. Starting A Rookie Center A "Viable" Option
On top of dishing their first-round pick to the Saints as part of the trade for Graham, the Seahawks also sent starting center Max Unger to New Orleans, leaving a hole in the middle of the team's offensive line.
Schneider said having a rookie start at the spot in 2015 would be a "viable" option, pointing to assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable's command of the position group.
Schneider also admitted he'd "be lying" if he said the Seahawks don't need to address the offensive line as a whole. In addition to Unger, the club lost starting left guard James Carpenter to the New York Jets in free agency.
Even though Schneider called the draft the team's "primary mode of acquisition," he said it doesn't necessarily mean the team will go out of its way to target the offensive line later this month. Schneider pointed to trades, free agency, and the waiver wire later this summer as other avenues the team could explore for help at the spot.
2. He Wants Russell Wilson To Be Seattle's Quarterback For A Long Time
Nothing too groundbreaking here, but it is newsworthy given the fact the Seahawks quarterback is in position to restructure his current deal.
"We all love Russell and we want him to be our QB for a long time," said Schneider, noting he believes the feeling to be mutual.
Wilson, who the Seahawks selected at No. 75 overall in 2012, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
On Tarvaris Jackson, who's currently "feeling his way through free agency" after backing up Wilson the past two seasons, Schneider said, "He knows we'd love to have him back."
3. Steelers, Ravens Set The Seahawks Standard
An interesting nugget to stem from Schneider's conversation dated back to his early days at the helm in Seattle, when he and Carroll came to the conclusion that the way the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens played was the NFL "standard" they would strive for.
The Steelers and Ravens, teams that reside in the AFC North, have had one of the League's most physical rivalries since before Schneider and Carroll came to Seattle. Schneider said the Seahawks' goal was to target "smart, tough, and reliable" football players to build a team that could "play you anywhere" - at home or on the road.
The Seahawks face both the Steelers (at home in Week 12) and Ravens (on Sunday Night Football on the road in Week 14) this season.
4. The Team's Board Is 80 Percent Set
Schneider and his personnel staff have been evaluating the nation's top NFL prospects for the better part of the past year.
The Seahawks GM said the team's board - a representation of how they rate draft prospects - is about 80 percent set. The most important thing, Schneider said, is knowing how the Seahawks' current roster looks first. The board then becomes a reflection of the team's current roster.
Schneider said changes to the team's board come this late in the process when conferring with the coaching staff, as they express what they like and dislike in certain prospects as it relates to the current makeup of the team.
5. He's Nervous About Jimmy Graham Flying Airplanes
Schneider emphasized he's constantly worrying about the health and well being of every player, coach, and staff member, but expressed added apprehension at the thought of tight end Jimmy Graham's aerial acrobatics (check out Graham's Instagram account for more).
"If he wants to go flying around here, hopefully Mr. Nordstrom can take him," Schneider said, referring to former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom, who routinely flies his own sea plane in and out of Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center located on the shores of Lake Washington.