Seahawks general manager John Schneider often points out that in the NFL, building a roster is a year-round process. But while the draft and early stages of free agency get the most attention when it comes to assembling a team, this is an important time of year as well when teams reduce their roster to 53 players, meaning hundreds of players hit the waiver wire at the same time.
"We had a great opportunity to get better over the last couple of days," Schneider said. "The Dallas game seemed like it was two weeks ago based on everything that we have been doing over the last several days. I was really excited about all of the work that everybody put in. I'm very thankful for our staff, (director of pro personnel) Nolan Teasley was phenomenal in organizing everything over the last couple of days, especially last night. Also, in this morning working with our analytic group, our salary cap people, the collaboration with the coaches, where we need to go, what our team looks like, being real with where we are at with every position in depth and how we can improve there."
"It's always a weird weekend, there is always a lot of emotion that goes into it. You feel awful in terms of delivering messages, guys dreams and what it means to make a 53-man roster, but you're always explaining to people like, 'Hey, this is just the start of your career.' We have to keep building this roster and as you guys know, we treat this weekend as a big area of acquisition for us. Much like the draft, like I said, the collaboration was great, so being able to have a landscape established was great. It was fun having the scouts in here working until the early hours of the morning and getting our plan together."
In a 20-minute conversation with the media, Schneider talked about the moves the Seahawks just made, the development of the rookie class, expectations for the team and more. Here are six takeaways from Schneider's press conference:
1. The Seahawks remain very optimistic about their 2022 draft class.
The Seahawks came out of the 2022 draft very excited about their nine-player class, though as Schneider often jokes after a draft, every team is happy about players it just acquired, kind of like how every just-performed surgery on a player is announced as a successful operation.
But four months after the draft, the Seahawks remain thrilled about the group of players they added, seven of whom are on the current 53-man roster (seventh-round pick Bo Melton is on the practice squad and fifth-rounder Tyreke Smith is on injured reserve).
"Still very excited," Schneider said. "They all know they have a long way to go, but they have a confidence about them, and I think the veterans have been doing a great job bringing these guys in and really wrapping their arms around them. They know they are there to compete with them, but they also want to win, so they've done a great job with those guys… The rookie class handling themselves like pros as quickly as they have has been pretty cool."
2. Schneider is excited to see what young stars emerge.
While the national narrative around the Seahawks might have more to do with who isn't on the team anymore with Russell Wilson getting traded and Bobby Wagner being released, Schneider and everyone else in the building are excited about the players currently on the roster, both in terms of the well-known players like Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and in some young up-and-comers who may not be household names now, but could emerge as future stars down the road.
"I think it's an exciting thing, because the fans don't know what's coming and who's going to step forward, and I think there's a bunch of opportunities for guys to step forward," Schneider said. "When I have things on in the background and I see guys like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett not mentioned in the NFL (Network) top 100 players, it blows my mind. Jordyn Brooks and what he did last year. I was listening to something while I was working and somebody's talking about 'Oh they have nothing on defense', they got Jamal Adams and that's it and I'm thinking to myself what about Quandre Diggs? There's a lot of fun stuff that we have—Al Woods is an incredible leader.
"This is the ultimate team sport, and I think the cool thing about when you look back on our history… There weren't a lot of people who knew who Richard Sherman was or Kam (Chancellor) or K.J (Wright) and Bobby (Wagner) for that matter, all those guys. Russ (Wilson) was a third-round pick when Pete decided to start him as a rookie, so these guys come out of nowhere and there's so many cool opportunities for these guys and the staff. I've been really impressed with their level of teaching, education, the time they spend with the guys. It's important for them to develop people and I'm excited to see where it goes."
And yes, the dynamic of the division has shifted of late, with the Rams winning the Super Bowl and the NFC West last season, but the Seahawks welcome the challenge of coming after the team on top, much as they did early in the Schneider and Carroll's tenure in Seattle when the 49ers were atop the division.
"I just think we're chasing instead of being chased, which I think is cool," he said. "I think it's exciting. It's kind of like right when we got here ,we were chasing the San Francisco 49ers. L.A Rams, like it or not, are the world champions. Let's go, we got to compete with them every single day."
3. Myles Adams blossomed so much this year, the Seahawks received trade inquiries about the former practice squad member.
Myles Adams came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Rice two years ago, and joined the Seahawks practice squad late in his rookie season. Heading into this season, he had two career games under his belt, both of which came last year with Seattle, but despite that limited experience, he made it clear with a strong camp that he belonged on the 53-man roster. But not only did Adams do enough this year to win a job on Seattle's roster, he also ended up on other teams' radar, leading to Schneider receiving a few calls this week prior to roster cuts.
"We had a number of calls on Myles," Schneider said. "People wanting to trade for him. We are just happy for him. The guy is the product of our environment and our culture, and he came in and took advantage of it. He's a great guy and a very intense competitor."
4. Michael Jackson "was just really impressive" in his bid to make the team.
Much like Adams, Jackson, a fourth-year cornerback who spent last season on Seattle's practice squad, wasn't a player on a lot of people's radar coming into training camp. But practice after practice, and especially in the preseason games, Jackson made it clear that he belonged on the team, and on Tuesday, he survived the cutdown to 53 players for the first time in his career.
"When Mike came here, he came on our practice squad… and worked his tail off," Schneider said. "Karl Scott has done a great job working with him, and like we were talking about developing people, you can see it every single preseason game. And for him to finish the other night the way he finished, it was just really impressive. Really happy for him. He stayed on top, he was feeling people at the top of the route, getting his head around, playing physical. You couldn't pick apart his game. He did a great job. Just really to watch him develop and watching Pete work with him after practice and stuff on his kick step and everything. I'm happy for him."
5. More practice squad additions are coming.
The Seahawks added 12 players to their practice squad on Wednesday, meaning there's room to add more—teams are limited to 16 players, though with an exemption for Aaron Donkor, who is part of the International Player Pathway Program, Seattle can have 17 players—and while not yet official, Schneider did mention a few more additions that are expected to come: quarterback Sean Mannion, offensive lineman Jalen McKenzie, cornerback Xavier Crawford and pass-rusher Jabari Zuniga
On bringing back Mannion, who spent training camp with the Seahawks last year, rather than Jacob Eason, who was the team's No. 3 QB in camp, Schneider said, "It was really tough, Jacob (Eason) did a great job with us. In our situation right now, we felt like that the staff, again with the collaboration, everybody was on the same page. Sean (Mannion) is probably going to end up being a head coach in this league at some point, very similar to Josh McCown. He's a guy that is like another coach in the room for Geno (Smith) and Drew (Lock)."
6. The Seahawks got better on special teams this week.
While the final preseason game was an improvement, the Seahawks struggled on kick and punt coverage in their first two preseason games, but Schneider sees his team as having improved significantly in that phase of the game with the moves made in recent days.
"I would say over the last several days we really helped our special teams unit with Tanner (Muse) coming back, being on our practice squad; Darryl (Johnson) is a 6-6 guy that is a four-core special teams player as well as an outside pass rusher. Xavier (Crawford) has played special teams in the past and Isaiah (Dunn) has been a gunner, so I really think that we helped in that area. I would have to say special teams right now."
The Seahawks practiced at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center on August 31, 2022. Seahawks practice photos are presented by Gatorade.