PHOENIX—Throughout the offseason, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have made it clear that they will consider taking a quarterback with the No. 5 overall pick in this year's draft.
That was the case before Pro-Bowl quarterback Geno Smith signed an extension, and it remains in play now even with Smith and Drew Lock coming back. And just in case there was any doubt that the Seahawks are indeed taking a close look at this year's top quarterbacks, the team has posted on twitter group pictures with Schneider, Carroll and other Seahawks coaches and scouts posing with Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Alabama's Bryce Young and Kentucky's Will Levis at their respective pro days. Selfie No. 4 will no doubt occur later this week when that contingent visits Florida's pro day where they'll watch Anthony Richardson.
"Yeah, it has been a freakin' blast," Carroll said Tuesday from the NFL Annual Meeting. "It was so much fun to get out there. We've got one more trip to wrap it up here, coming up Thursday. To be right in the middle of the football world right there, in the specter of this whole quarterback thing and the draft thing coming up and all, and to hit one after another after another. The three guys that we saw and the whole orchestration of it, the circus of it all, and the way they handled it, was just so impressive. And it was just really fun. It reminded me of old times, spring recruiting. We used to travel around and do the same kind of thing. And it was great to be on the road with the staff and all, but most of all it was the guys. They were really impressive under the most scrutiny and the most tension of having to come through, in the moment, everybody's on you, cameras are everywhere. Different than a game. It's not the same as a game. And to see them come through so well, so impressively. I thought it was really amazing. It was great."
While having Schneider and scouts, and even some position coaches attend a pro day, what is less common is for Carroll to attend so many in such a short period of time, something that Schneider said has added a fun dynamic to the trips. Schneider added that being able to use the plane owned by team chair Jody Allen has added in the whirlwind trip of pro days with the NFL Annual Meeting also sandwiched into the schedule.
"It's a blast," Schneider said. "Jody has been awesome letting us use her plane. So last week, being able to jump around like that to see those guys, it lets you be that much more efficient with your time. And it's just fun because (Carroll's) brain is just on fire, he's just always going… It's fun, especially being at like Alabama, he's hanging out with Coach (Nick) Saban. It was awesome just talking ball, talking players and the draft. Karl Scott was with us, Shane (Waldron), Greg Olson. It was a cool group."
Whether the Seahawks really will take one of Young, Stroud, Richardson or Levis remains to be seen—and it's entirely possible that all four could go ahead of Seattle's pick at No. 5, particularly if a quarterback-needy team were to trade up for Arizona's pick at No. 3—but the fact that the Seahawks are looking at quarterbacks and seriously considering one has nothing to do with their opinion of Smith or Lock, and everything to do with the rare opportunity to pick so high with several quality quarterbacks available. Since Schneider and Carroll took over, the Seahawks have only picked in the top 10 twice, once after inheriting a five-win team in 2010, and last year when they had Denver's pick at No. 9. And as Schneider said at the NFL scouting combine, good quarterbacks "don't grow on trees," so if there's a player the Seahawks see as a true franchise quarterback available at No. 5, they just might pull the trigger even after signing Smith to a three-year extension then later re-signing Lock.
"We talked to both of those guys about it when we were hitting free agency," Schneider said. "In our exit interview, Pete and I both had frank conversations with them and said, 'We haven't been in this spot in a long, long time, so we can't guarantee you that we won't take a quarterback.' You just put all the information on the table so everyone knows what they're getting into, there's no second guessing."
Carroll said the communication has been constant with Smith, both so the quarterback knows what's going on internally, and so he isn't bothered by the pictures of his head coach and general manager checking out other quarterbacks. And given how well Smith has handled everything thrown at him in his career, and in particular last year when, in his first season as a starter since 2014, he helped lead the Seahawks to the playoffs while earning Pro-Bowl and Comeback Player of the Year honors, Carroll isn't worried about how a few selfies on Twitter might affect his quarterback.
"I talked to Geno way back when," Carroll said. "He knows what's going on. Yeah, he knows where we're at. I thought that was an obvious demonstration of respect, understanding how he would look at it, and how other guys have looked at it in the past and all that. So I told him what we were doing and what the idea was, and what could happen, and he totally got it. Just like Geno has done throughout everything, he was totally on board. He understands, and if we get a guy, he's going to take care of him and look after him. He gets it. So let's see what happens."
Carroll later added, "I told Geno what we were doing. I talked to him beforehand, and he knows what's going on. So if there was no communication there, it might have hit him differently, but he was great about it. He gets it. He's been around the game. He knows what's going on. He knows that some guys, they come in here at 21 years old, and he's not worried about that a bit. He doesn't care. But what he will do is he'll help. He already stated that, and Geno means what he says. When Geno says something, it's coming from a place where he's felt it, he's thought about it and he's sincere about that. And in that, how could I ask for a guy to model it better than that? 'Bring him on. We'll help him. We'll do whatever we can. We'll make him as good as we can make him.' So he gets it."
The Seahawks, in collaboration with Intentionalist, took over Pam's Kitchen in Seattle, Wash. in celebration of Women's History Month.