Three days, three trades and 10 picks later, the 2016 NFL Draft came to an end Saturday afternoon with the Seattle Seahawks feeling very good about the way things went over the course of seven rounds.
"It was just a phenomenal weekend for us," general manager John Schneider said. "We're really excited to get these guys in the house."
For the second time in as many days, the Seahawks felt the need to move up in this draft, something they had only done twice in six previous drafts under Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll. On Friday, the move up was to get Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed, a player on whom Seattle had a first-round grade, but was able to pick in the middle of the second round. A day later, the move up was to acquire an extra fifth-round pick, which was used to select Maryland defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson.
That Seattle's two moves up in the draft were to select linemen is fitting considering this was a line-heavy draft for the Seahawks, who took three offensive linemen and two defensive linemen among their 10 picks. Part of that had to do with need—the Seahawks lost two starting offensive lineman and one starting defensive lineman in free agency—but it was also a reflection of the strengths of this draft, as was Seattle's decision to pick three running backs.
"This is a draft that did highlight those three spots too," Carroll said. "There were good solid numbers in those spots that we were able to take advantage of."
The three offensive linemen, tackle Germain Ifedi, guard Rees Odhiambo and center Joey Hunt, are all different players stylistically and in the position they play, but have some important things in common.
"All three of these guys are really smart players, they're physical players," Carroll said. "We were able to latch onto guys who have a great competitive mentality. They're coming from the kind of mentality that we love, and we're very, very fortunate that these guys are coming in to battle and complement the guys that we have. It was really the mindset that they carry that we thought was so special; we just had to have these guys."
With so many new players on the offensive line, there might be some uncertainty for now who starts, but Carroll is excited about the talent at that group and throughout the roster.
"John has always worked to make this the most competitive roster we can make and it just feels like the adding of the big guys inside on both sides of the ball is really going to help us and it's just going to make it feel like it's very competitive throughout the roster, which brings out the best in everyone," Carroll said. "We've always championed that. I think this draft in particular makes me feel like we've really have bolstered areas and you're going to have to battle for your spots, and everybody is going to have to bring their best. We couldn't ask for more than that."
In terms of drafting three running backs, both Carroll and Schneider pointed out that it wasn't a reflection of what is currently on the roster, but just how much they liked the players they took.
"We ran into some interesting runners," Schneider said. "It's not a reflection on Thomas or Christine at all, these are just darn good players.
"The whole group all the way through, this year in particular from a numbers standpoint, it was really strong all the way through. That's why you didn't see a group of them start to get going until a little bit later because everybody saw the depth all the way through. There's going to be rookie free agents being signed right now who will be carrying the ball for people next year."
Added Carroll: "Thomas give us a great element in his style. We love the way he's physical and aggressive and tough. You see C.J. (Prosise) come off because he really has special qualities that he can add to the third-down aspect to our offense. We're hoping that the other guys can complement what we're already getting from Thomas. Each guy has his stuff, so we think we can fit that together. We'll come to appreciate that even more, but I think the message of who we are and what we're about has been Thomas. We're really excited to continue to see that, and we'll see if we can fit it together in a really special fashion. They are unique, these guys are not from the same mold, which we really appreciate."
Here's what Carroll and Schneider had to say about the five players drafted on Saturday:
DT Quinton Jefferson, Maryland
Schneider on why they felt the need to trade up to get Quinton Jefferson: "He's a man. Just a solid individual. Very active. Plays very hard. We didn't see a ton of players like him after that. We usually don't do that sort of things, but looking at our compensatory picks coming around the corner for next year and everything, we thought this was a wise decision. "
Carroll on where they see Quinton Jefferson playing: "He plays all over. He can play 3-technique and 1-technique and slide outs. He gives us the flexibility, he's a very unique player. That's why when John saw it happen he said let's go do it, let's go get him. It was a rare opportunity for us. He can play like Mike (Bennett) plays in the different spots. He's got the kind of quickness and stuff that gives him that ability to be flexible. He's faster than a lot of guys at his size and he has a sense for getting skinny and getting in the backfield and penetrating. We really will wait to see how far we can take him, knowing that he is a real dedicated and smart kid and all that and maybe we can move him around quite a bit for a young guy."
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
Schneider on drafting Collins: "Alex is just a hard charging, quick feet, instinctive. He is one of a few three consecutive 1000-yard SEC runners. The guy just shows up on Saturday and competes his tail off."
C Joey Hunt, TCU
Schneider on picking Hunt: "Again, very squared away, solid individual. Smart. Lines everybody up, makes all the calls. A little bit undersized, but he plays real square, plays real tight. For an undersized guy, you don't see him get knocked around a ton. Matt Berry has been on this guy a long time; Coach Cable they went down there and worked him out together and once Tom spent time with him, and Matt, and when they came back, I don't know if Pete and I would be able to leave the building if we didn't come away with Joey."
WR Kenny Lawler, California
Schneider on drafting Lawler "His hands, arguably the best hands in the draft. Red zone, adjusting to the ball, his body control. Outstanding. Real long arms. He's a leaner guy that didn't run especially fast, that's why he slid.
RB Zac Brooks, Clemson
Schneider on drafting Brooks: "Zac is right up our alley. He is just a highly competitive, squared away guy that was the most highly recruited receiver coming out of Arkansas, then chose to go to Clemson because they were the only school that was going to play him at halfback. He had a little rough luck early on, but every opportunity he got, he took full advantage of it. When you're a runner, and you know you might not get that opportunity to carry it again, you're going to let it rip, and he did that. When your next opportunity is, is what I meant."
Schneider on was it more difficult to evaluate Brooks because he had fewer opportunities: "To a certain extent, but he's a sturdy built, 6foot, good looking dude, and he catches it, and you could see at the workout, they worked him out as a receiver as well. His body of work, obviously, isn't quite as big as Alex's, so yeah it probably makes it a little bit more difficult. He's just a talented guy."
Here's a look at the 10 picks Seattle made in the 2016 draft:
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*: RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
Round 6 | Pick 40 | No. 215 overall*: C Joey Hunt, TCU
Round 7 | Pick 22 | No. 243 overall (from Houston through New England): WR Kenny Lawler, California
Round 7 | Pick 26 | No. 247 overall: RB Zac Brooks, Clemson
- Compensatory Pick
The final day of the 2016 NFL Draft began at 9am PT, with John Schnieder, Pete Carroll and staff making early moves to trade up in the fourth round.