For football fans, the NFL Draft marks the halfway point of the offseason. It falls nearly three months after the Super Bowl and about three months from the season opener. It's a significant event and one that allows them to dream big about their team's potential. Turns out the players themselves feel the same way, especially those getting drafted.
"It's a fun experience even for the guys who don't get drafted," said linebacker Bobby Wagner. "It kind of makes them hungry and excited to get back out there and play football because remember those guys finished football in December and they haven't played since then. So I can imagine them itching to get back on the field."
Wagner was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. He remembers the emotions he experienced waiting to hear his name called.
"The year I came out I was just chillin' with my family and watching the draft. Fortunately it only took two days so I didn't have to wait that long but it was fun just being around family," Wagner said.
These days he doesn't watch the draft, but feels for the players waiting to hear their name called. Tight end Luke Willson will take a passing interest in the selections this week.
"I maybe have it on, but I don't know if I'd be watching intently," Willson said. "To be honest, I really don't care about who gets drafted outside of our squad. I get a general idea on my phone of when we're coming up."
Those alerts will come fast and furious on Saturday. The Seahawks possess 11 draft picks, the most in the NFL. Nine of those selections will come Saturday in rounds four through seven. It's like a game of chess for Schneider who relishes the talent that will come out of this weekend.
"It seems like we've got all these things going on and it always comes back to the draft board which tells me how important it is. It's huge. It's our primary mode of acquisition," according to Schneider.
"It will be interesting to see who we pick," Willson said. "You meet and know a lot of the scouts and our GM obviously, and you know the hard work they put in so it's cool to see (the selections). It's exciting to see guys added to the squad and make the team better."
Schneider does get input from the coaching staff regarding needs and talent evaluation. This year, with a number of changes on the coaching staff, there was even more communication.
"It's been more of the ongoing interactions and feeling (the coaches) out and how they evaluate and express themselves and what they like," Schneider said.
The communication piece is a big part of thinking through draft selections and so is having a coaching staff that is skilled at teaching.
"We've always looked at players the same way. We have a very aggressive approach to what we're doing," Schneider said. "The challenge is really more along the lines of how you acquire the players and are you going to be able to compensate their deficiencies and, once they're here, are you going to be able to accentuate their strengths?"
It feels like a rhetorical question given the Seahawks draft success under Schneider, who admits he's always looking for more.
"The thing that always ends up happening throughout the process is there's always guys you want to take. We have 11 picks, the most in the NFL, and you look at the board and you're excited about so many prospects."