As the 21st pick of the 2019 draft approached, the Seahawks thought they were about to land a player they were eager to add to their offense, University of Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
In fact, general manager John Schneider said, the Seahawks had Fant's name written down on the card they were ready to turn in to select the tight end out of Iowa. But before the Seahawks could make that pick, the Broncos took Fant at No. 20, leading to the Seahawks instead electing to trade back in the first round.
Three years later, Fant is a Seahawk, one of three players the team is excited to have added in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
"We had his name written down," Schneider said on Wednesday after the trade became official. "It was that close, we thought he was coming to us. You're talking about a guy that's a big man, is young. He went through a rough time early on, unfortunately lost his mother right before the season. He did a really nice job of still going out and competing, he caught 68 balls. He's a huge target, and he can run."
In addition to a significant haul of draft picks that included first- and second-round picks this year and next year, the Seahawks also received from Denver three players—Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock—who they believe will help them this season and beyond.
"The guys coming in now, it's exciting," Schneider said.
Harris, the most veteran player of the group, emerged not just as a productive interior lineman during his time in Denver, but also as a locker-room leader.
"Shelby Harris is a pass-rushing 3-technique, hustle guy, gets his hands up in the passing lanes, and he's going to be a fun guy to have in our locker room," Schneider said.
And while Fant, who ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at 249 pounds at the NFL scouting combine has the distinction of being a former first-round pick, perhaps the biggest spotlight come training camp will be on Lock given the position he plays.
Trading Wilson obviously leaves the Seahawks with a big void to fill, and while Schneider and company will continue to explore all options, they do see Lock, a former second-round pick, as a legitimate candidate to take over the starting role despite mixed results in his time as a starter in Denver.
"Drew Lock, we really liked him coming out (of college)," Schneider said. "He can move in the pocket, has a hose (of an arm). We're really excited to get him into our culture, into our building.
"We'll continue to explore our options, but we have a ton of faith in Drew, we're excited about it. We're excited about a change of scenery for him. I know a couple of my buddies who were trying to acquire him all last spring into the fall. He's a guy that, in my opinion, the media has beat down a little bit. We're excited to get him into our culture with our coaching staff and we'll continue to look for guys to compete with him. Geno (Smith) did a nice job for us, there's a number of guys who are still available, and we'll continue to work through that."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll agreed with Schneider that Lock was an exciting prospect coming out of college, and added that Lock looked good after taking over the starting role late in the 2019 season and helping Denver win four of its last five games, success he wasn't quite able to match the following two years.
"You go back to his first year when he was balling as a rookie, when he was 4-1, his third-down numbers were terrific," Carroll said. "(He was) taking care of the football really well. For whatever reason—the coordinator left after that time—times changed for him, and he didn't play to that same level. So exactly what we have evaluated, the process that we evaluated, he showed. John stayed with it and followed him all the way through his career, and we've watched it happen. We think he's still that guy and so we'll see."
Check out photos of Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock from his college days in Missouri and first three seasons in the NFL with the Broncos.