Seahawks coaches and personnel folks are back from the NFL Scouting Combine, and now have their attention not just on the upcoming draft, but also on free agency, which kicks off in less than two weeks. With the offseason heating up, now is a good time to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
Williams Doty asks, "Are the Seahawks going to draft a rookie cornerback?"
A: I guess there's two ways to look at this question: Will the Seahawks draft a cornerback at all? Or will they take one in the early rounds of the draft?
If it's the former, then yeah, there's a really good chance of that. If you included Ugo Amadi, a safety/corner hybrid, the Seahawks have selected at least one cornerback—or a player they planned to convert to corner—in every draft under Pete Carroll and John Schneider except for the 2016 draft. Nearly all of those picks, however, have been mid-to-late round picks, so it would be a break from their usual draft tendencies to go out and pick a cornerback in the first couple of rounds. Shaquill Griffin, a third-round pick (90th overall) is the highest-drafted cornerback for Seattle since Carroll and Schneider took over. That being said, we can hardly rule out the possibility of the Seahawks deciding to take a corner early.
Both Carroll and Schneider have pointed to the defense as an area they'd like to see improve, and while the secondary is hardly the only area the Seahawks could look to address when it comes to the defense, Schneider did say of the secondary, "Obviously we want to get better. If I told you that we were satisfied with the performance, I'd be lying. We all need to get better."
Griffin, who had a big bounce-back season in 2019, earning Pro-Bowl honors after what he deemed a disappointing 2018, seems safe to pencil in at one starting spot. The Seahawks are hoping Tre Flowers can experience a similar Year 3 jump to Griffin, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Seahawks look to add competition either at that spot or at the nickel job, where Amadi is currently the front-runner heading into the 2020 season.
"That's what we're counting on from Tre," Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked if Flowers could make a similar jump to Griffin. "Tre is a hard-working kid. He wants to get it done. I thought he was pretty much the same one year, two years. Now this is a good chance for him to really make a jump. There's no reason that he shouldn't with the experience that he's had. All the play time that he's gathered in, he should be ready to make a good step forward."
And speaking of drafting cornerbacks…
Chad Stricherz from Watertown, South Dakota asks, "What are the chances the Seahawks draft Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs?"
A: I have no idea if Diggs to the Seahawks is a possibility or not, though his name has come up in some mock drafts. What I do know, however, is that were the Seahawks to draft him, it'd be really confusing to have two defensive backs with the last name Diggs. One might say it would even create quite a Quand(re)ary… sorry, that was bad.
@GabeVinnick23 and others asked about a few rumored trades that could involve the Seahawks.
A: It wouldn't be responsible for the team website to speculate on hypothetical trades or rumors and reports, but without getting into specifics, I can say that we should expect the Seahawks to at least consider just about every trade possibility that is out there. Schneider has said on a bunch of occasions that he and the rest of the personnel department take pride in being involved in everything. That doesn't mean a trade will happen, but the Seahawks will at least be in the conversation if a player is available.
That aggressive approach helped the Seahawks land three of their top players from the 2019 team: defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was acquired in a trade just before the start of the season, left tackle Duane Brown, a 2017 trade acquisition, and Quandre Diggs, who came to Seattle in a midseason trade last year.
Again, none of this is to say the Seahawks will make a big trade this offseason, it just means they'll at least be open to the possibility.
@GuCheng0311 asks, "What's the situation with Jadeveon Clowney? Can we keep him?"
A: Both Carroll and Schneider were asked about Clowney during the combine, and both made it clear that the hope is to keep the defensive end, who is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins later this month. Wanting to keep a player and being able to do so are two different things, however, so whether or not the Seahawks can sign him will depend a lot on not just how badly they want him, but on how many other teams make a big push for his services. There's also the factor of what happens with other free agents at the same position and how that affects the market.
As Schneider noted, the Seahawks were really hoping to sign Frank Clark to an extension at this time last year, then the pass-rusher market took off, and knowing they were also going to have to find money to re-sign Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks decided to instead trade Clark.
"It's a landscape thing," Schneider said. "Trying to figure out—at this point last year, I thought Frank was going to be on our team. It's really a daily or weekly process of figuring out how you're going to put this thing together. We have some cap flexibility this year, which is great, but it's not just about this year. It's planning for next year and the following year as well. We have to be cognizant of where we're going."
The hope is that Clowney's experience last season helps the Seahawks re-sign the three-time Pro-Bowl defensive end.
"I think he came in, he loved the culture, loved the coaching staff, loves the chefs, loves our equipment guys," Schneider said. "He's a really fun guy. He's a blast to be around and I hope we can continue that. Super disruptive."
Clowney said a few times how much he loved the culture in Seattle, and the Seahawks clearly want him back, so there's a very real chance of him re-signing, but with 31 other teams able to talk with him starting next week, his return to Seattle is far from certain.
@JamieReid13 asks, "What are the chances of the Seahawks playing the Dolphins in London this year?"
A: The NFL schedule won't be out until later this spring, but we do know the Seahawks' opponents already, and as this question suggests, there is a real shot of Seattle playing out of the country in 2020.
The Dolphins and Falcons are both road opponents for Seattle in 2020, and both have been announced as teams that will play international games. While London is a long ways from Seattle, the Seahawks have a huge following in the UK, and the atmosphere at Wembley Stadium was as good or better than any other NFL game there according to some members of the British media I talked to, so it wouldn't be surprising if the league is considering sending the Seahawks back.
Another possibility is Mexico City, where the Arizona Cardinals are set to host a home game this year, though given the Seahawks' strong following in Arizona and their success at that stadium, they'd likely just as soon keep that game in Glendale.
@AngryDon asks, "Suggestions for fans attending the draft?"
A: I mean, you're gonna be in Vegas, Don. You shouldn't need a soon-to-be 40-year-old with two little kids telling you how to have a good time in Vegas.
@Woodgirls1977 asks, "Who are the most real/down to earth players?"
A: I get similar questions to this one from family and friends a lot, and honestly most players are pretty down to earth despite having high-profile jobs and in some cases, huge salaries. Yes, NFL players live different lives than most of us, but they're still human beings with normal human being problems/concerns, etc. All of that being said, if you want me to single out a couple players, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright both come to mind. Both are just as approachable now as they were early in their careers despite a lot of success and money coming their way. One little example of this: each year the Seahawks have an employee appreciation day that takes place on a Tuesday in the fall. Tuesday is the players' day off during the NFL season, so if players are in the building, it's usually not for the whole day and they're looking to get in and out as quickly as possible. But a couple of years ago on that day, both Wagner and Wright took the time to come up to the third floor of the VMAC—not a regular occurrence for players on any day—and walked around thanking employees for their work and telling them they're appreciated.