For the second time in as many days, the Seahawks traded up in the 2016 draft, matching the number of times they had moved up in the previous six drafts under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
Seattle traded up in the fifth round in order to select Maryland defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson with the 147th overall pick. To acquire that pick, Seattle send its seventh-rounder (225 overall) and a 2017 fourth-round pick to New England. The Seahawks also get a seventh-rounder (243 overall) from New England.
"It's great to know that they really wanted me," Jefferson said on a conference call with local media. "I just can't wait to come to the organization, be in front of the 12s and just compete. It's so exciting."
Jefferson, who is listed as 6-foot-4, 291 pounds, was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last year, starting all 12 games while leading Maryland defensive linemen with 39 tackles. Jefferson was also second on the team in sacks with 6.5 and had 12.5 tackles for loss.
"I think I bring a lot of versatility, because I played defensive end and tackle," he said. "I think I can along the front. I think I am very disruptive inside, with the run and the pass. I feel like I can really get after it on third downs, kick inside on sub packages and rush the passer. That's a premium in this league right now."
As Jefferson spoke with the media, his 5-year-old daughter Zoey could be heard squealing in the background as Jefferson watched the draft in Pittsburgh with wife Nadia, Zoey and 21-month-old twin girls Charleigh and Quinn.
Being a college athlete and parent of three was a challenge, Jefferson admitted, but it also served as motivation throughout his career at Maryland.
"It's a lot, I had to do a lot of extra that the average athlete didn't have to, but today is just a blessing," he said. "Just to get that confirmation that my hard work has paid off, that's amazing.
"I already was motivated from the jump, but having them added to it. Everything I do is for them and my wife. I want them to have a good life. I want to be that role model for them, tell them they can do anything they want to. They can achieve their dreams because their father has."
In addition to his family, Jefferson is also motivated by a year away from football when he was grey shirting during his freshman year because of a broken jaw.
"It was a very humbling time period, because I would have loved to be playing," he said. "I'm watching guys I came in with playing. I felt like I really needed that. It humbled me, it let me know that I never want to be—I was working at Best Buy. I said I don't want to be working at this warehouse, I want to do something with my life. I feel like it definitely gave me even more motivation."
"I had to sit out my original freshman year, and it sucked. I wanted to be competing and playing with my teammates, and I couldn't. It was definitely a wakeup call for me… I think about it a lot. If I'm running, or I'm lifting and it gets hard, I just think 'You could be back at Best Buy lifting boxes.' This is easy, it's a blessing. You get to do what you love."
From Jefferson's NFL.com draft profile: "High cut 3-technique with good upper body strength but below average lower body power to take a stand. Jefferson flashes penetration ability and some pass rushing talent, but he needs to be fitted to a 1-gap, upfield defense and will have to make a team as a rotational lineman."
Here are Seattle's picks in the 2016 draft, assuming the club doesn't make any more moves:
Round 1 | Pick 31 | No. 31 overall: OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
Round 2 | Pick 25 | No. 49 overall (from Chicago): DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
Round 3 | Pick 27 | No. 90 overall: RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame
Round 3 | Pick 35 | No. 94 overall (from Denver): TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State
Round 3 | Pick 35 | No. 97 overall*: OG Rees Odhiambo, Boise State
Round 5 | Pick 8 | No. 147 overall: DT Quinton Jefferson, Maryland
Round 5 | Pick 34 | No. 171 overall*
Round 6 | Pick 40 | No. 215 overall*
Round 7 | Pick 22 | No. 243 overall (from Houston through New England)
Round 7 | Pick 26 | No. 247 overall
- Compensatory Pick (compensatory picks cannot be traded)
The Seahawks trade up in the fourth round to select Quinton Jefferson a defensive tackle from Maryland with pick 147.