The NFL draft is only a week away, the sun is shining, and my kids are actually behaving*, which makes this a great time to answers some questions from you, the fans. I hope this mailbag finds everyone staying healthy and sane, and as always, thank you to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to your question this time around.
*This statement was obsolete by the time I finished typing the paragraph.
Carol McClansburgh from Kirkland asks, "During this trying time of COVID-19, what are the Seahawks doing to support the 12s as the 12s have supported them?"
A: Glad you asked this Carol, because I'm more than happy to highlight the good work being done by the organization, as well as by individual players. Vulcan Inc, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation have committed considerable money and resources into helping the community, the details of which can be found here.
As for specific players, this is far from a complete list, but…
Russell Wilson and Ciara donated a million meals to Food Lifeline, then got involved with the "Meals Up" pledge to encourage other celebrities to donate meals as well. Oh, and they also are offering up a double date as an auction item for the All-In Challenge, with the bid up to $24,000 as of Thursday afternoon.
Several current players and Seahawks legends have been recording videos to thanks medical workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic.
Michael Dickson and Quandre Diggs recently were surprise guests on a couple of local schools' online classes.
Tyler Ott, a longtime supporter of March of Dimes, is supporting a virtual march to raise money for that organization.
New tight end Greg Olsen is supporting GENYOUth's COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund.
Pete Carroll teamed up with Warriors coach Steve Kerr to record a podcast that in addition to being a really good listen, is also helping raise money for COVID-19 relief.
And it's not just current Seahawks making a difference. Cliff Avril and his foundation donated $50,000 to four local organizations.
Doug Baldwin's Family First Community Center Foundation, along with Safeway, Northwest Harvest and its network of community partners, are working to bring immediate relief to local families and senior citizens affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Baldwin has not only helped raise money, but also organized volunteers to deliver food to those in need.
And again, this is far from a complete list.
Finally, over at Seahawks.com, you can go to Seahawks.com/WeGotThis for weekly challenges, resources for kids, community resources, and ways for you to get involved.
Tom O'Connell from Chehalis asks, "Do you see the Seahawks trading their first-round pick for more picks?"
A: Yes, yes I do.
For starters, Seahawks general manager has made no secret of the fact that he's a fan of moving back to acquire more picks. The draft is a very inexact science, even for the best talent evaluators, so having more bites at the apple, so to speak, can be a good strategy. And secondly, the Seahawks' history under Schneider and Carroll suggests very strongly that they won't use Pick No. 27. In 2010, the Seahawks used their two first round picks, taking Russell Okung and Earl Thomas (that worked out pretty well), then in 2011 they again stuck to their original pick, taking James Carpenter. Since then, however, the Seahawks haven't used their original first round pick in a single draft. In 2013 and 2015, the Seahawks traded the pick for veteran players before the draft (Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham), and in the other years they moved back, sometimes more than once, either to a pick late in the first round or early in the second. So yeah, history suggests the Seahawks will be open to moving back to add more picks.
That being said, as Schneider always notes, there has to be a willing partner, so nothing is guaranteed, and with the draft taking place digitally this year, there could perhaps be a few more challenges to pulling off those trades with the clock ticking.
@DanCohen17 asks about the authenticity, or lack thereof, of my back yard.
A: Yes Dan, we do have an artificial turf yard, and it's wonderful, especially with little kids. In addition to being super low maintenance, it also dries quickly and is never muddy, a huge plus in the Pacific Northwest.
@kibbykibbykibby aks, "How much will 'remote scouting' influence Pete and John in their draft process, and will it affect them in trading down?"
A: As mentioned above, the draft being held entirely online could present some challenges, but we really won't know that until after the fact. I would imagine the challenge would be greater in the later rounds when the picks speed up than in Round 1, but again, we'll have to wait and see what happens. As for the scouting part of it, teams haven't been able to meet with players since early March, but they have been able to conduct interviews online. A lot of college pro days also got cancelled, so teams will have to go more off of what they saw and learned during the college football season, as well as what they got out of the draft. You always hear scouts and general managers say a player's tape is the most important thing, but there's also an element of trying to learn about the prospects as people, which is where interviews and pro days can help out, so perhaps this draft will show who is best doing their homework early, so to speak. Though as is the case of every draft, we'll have to wait a few years to really know who handled this unique draft the best.
@stretchjohnsen asks, "How many players will likely be on the Seahawks' draft board?"
A: I couldn't give an exact number, but Schneider and the scouting department have made a concerted effort in recent years to bring that number down to make sure they're focusing on the right players. After switching to a smaller draft board in 2018, Schneider said a year later that making that change made a difference.
"Yeah, it has helped," Schneider said prior to last year's draft. "It's made it much more clean. We kept adding more and more players (in previous years), it seemed like. What we've done is, we've done a better job categorizing what a Seahawk player looks like, and would you draft him or not? Not making any excuses for players. We've taken guys who are really free agents—we always focus on accentuating the positives in players—and so what we ended up doing is we took guys who were over on the free-agent board and putting them in the seventh round. We just kind of started accumulating in that way. We've pulled off of that."
@est5454 asks, "Given the abundance of offensive linemen currently on the roster, do you see them spending any draft picks for additional depth?"
A: The Seahawks have indeed added quite a bit to their line already this offseason, but I don't think that necessarily means they're done there. It's common for teams to address a need in free agency via value signings, not necessarily because they don't want to draft at that same position, but rather to make sure they're not heading into a draft feeling like they absolutely must—in other words, it's a way to make sure you aren't reaching for a player to fill a need. So while I think the signings the Seahawks have made, along with who was already on the roster, will keep the Seahawks from forcing anything, I would not be at all surprised if they continue to add to that group in the draft.