The Seahawks wrapped up the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday evening, securing eight new players in this year's selection process and agreeing to terms with 12 undrafted rookie free agents.
Seattle was without a pick in the first round of the draft after sending the No. 31 overall choice to the New Orleans Saints as part of the trade for three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. That meant the team had to wait until day two of the draft to send in its first pick.
The Seahawks tabbed Michigan defensive end Frank Clark (No. 63 overall) in round two and Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (No. 69) in round three following a trade up with Washington that saw Seattle send it's third-round (No. 95), fifth-round (No. 167), and sixth-round (No. 181) picks to the Redskins. It marked just the second time in 11 draft-day trades under Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll that the team had moved up the board.
The fourth round saw the Seahawks select a pair of offensive linemen in San Diego State's Terry Poole (No. 130) and West Virginia's Mark Glowinski (No. 134), while the remainder of the draft brought in Towson cornerback Tye Smith in round five (No. 170), Oregon State defensive end Obum Gwacham (No. 209) and Buffalo offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli (No. 214) in round six, and Oregon State safety Ryan Murphy in round seven (No. 248).
Seattle welcomes the newest members of the 2015 Seahawks Draft class.
Schneider and Carroll met with the media after day three of the draft came to a close. Here's six things we learned from the pair's post-draft conversation with the press:
1. The Draft Board Came Off Like They Were Hoping
A still jacked-up Carroll, who came into the media workroom fresh off the team's recruitment of its undrafted free agent-class, said the players fell off their draft board as they had anticipated.
"We're really excited," said Carroll. "John did a great job again. The board came off like we were hoping and so many guys fit some issues that we had, some needs that we had, so here we go. It was an awesome job."
The Seahawks general manager echoed the head coach's comments.
"It went a little bit too much like we thought it would," said Schneider. "This year was an interesting year in that regard. I don't know if it's the longer time that everyone has now to prepare for the draft, but it just seemed like this year everything was coming off better than we wanted it to, as far as people taking really good players all the way through it."
2. There Was An Emphasis Up Front
The Seahawks used three picks on offensive linemen - two in the fourth round on Poole and Glowinski and one in the sixth on Sokoli, who the team will convert from the defensive side of the football like it did with J.R. Sweezy following the 2012 draft.
"We had a couple guys that we had put up on the board and had a pin in them and hoping they would happen, and to get Terry [Poole] and Mark Glowinski, those guys were really prime guys," Carroll said. "[Assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Tom [Cable] went out and worked out Kristjan Sokoli a couple days ago to see if we could do this transition with him like we had this success with Sweezy a while back, and he just fell in love with the kid."
Carroll said Poole and Glowinski will start by working at guard, where the team lost starter James Carpenter in free agency this offseason to the New York Jets, while Sokoli will start by working at center, where the team lost Unger in the trade for Graham.
"For us to nail it like that gives us three solid guys coming in to really compete and make this group a really competitive group," said Carroll.
3. They Were Surprised To See Frank Clark & Tyler Lockett On The Board
Schneider and Carroll were asked to name one player they were surprised to still see on the board when they were on the clock.
Schneider named Clark, the Michigan defensive end the team took at the end of round two.
"To me, it was Frank because there was such a drop-off in the talent level there with the pass rushers," he said.
Carroll named Lockett, the wide receiver/return specialist the team traded up to take in round three.
"We wanted a returner in this program so badly," said Carroll. "John just needed to figure out where we were going to get him, and I am thrilled we got him. He is such a special return guy. He is going to be a terrific receiver as well, but what I just thought was so unique, and I thought other people would want that, too."
4. They Think Chris Matthews Will Be The Big Receiver In Seattle's Offense
Six-foot-five, 218-pound wide receiver Chris Matthews exploded in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots, recording the first four catches of his career for a game-high 109 yards and a touchdown.
Even with Matthews' breakout performance and the addition of the 6-foot-5, 265-pound pass-catching tight end Graham, many draft analysts expected the team to go after a big-bodied wideout in this year's draft. But the lone receiver the Seahawks selected was the 5-foot-10, 182-pound Lockett, decisions that left Carroll to say he's fine with the current size of his team's wide receiving corps.
"We go into this camp thinking that Chris is going to be a big guy and the big receiver in this offense," said Carroll. "He is as good as it gets to fill that expectation. We'll see how he does."
5. They Feel Good About The Defensive Line
The Seahawks lost pass rusher O'Brien Schofield to the Atlanta Falcons on the NFL's open market, but added a few new faces to the team's defensive line rotation in the second-round pick Clark, sixth-round pick Gwacham, and veteran nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin, acquired in free agency from the Cleveland Browns.
"I feel good about it," Schneider said on the state of the position group. "At this time of the year, right after the draft, everybody feels pretty good about things. But once we start going through the offseason and seeing how everybody is working and coming along, we will have a better feeling the closer we get to training camp.
"As you know, we are a team that is not stopping. Everyone is being evaluated all of the time. We are always looking to get as many good players as we can for the coaching staff."
The rookies Clark and Gwacham will work alongside pass-rushing veterans Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin, and Jordan Hill next season. But Carroll went out of his way to warrant the play of the newly-signed Rubin.
"I think he is an exciting addition," said Carroll. "He has played really good football. He is a big, strong, tough dude who fits right in with our style of play inside there. I think he is really adding to our group and I think we have improved in that. We are real happy to sign him. I think that is a plus heading into the draft, knowing he is coming into our team. We are really looking forward to having him."
6. Jimmy Graham Was The Team's First-Round Pick
Carroll wants Seahawks fans to remember the trade Schneider pulled off to make Graham the Seahawks' "first-round pick."
"When we look at the draft we start with Jimmy Graham," Carroll said. "John worked the deal with the [No. 31 overall pick] to get him to start this thing and then to add this kind of firepower is really fun."
In Graham, Seattle added the type of high-caliber talent that Schneider said in a pre-draft press conference would not have been available with the second to last pick in round one.
"He is as special as a tight end can get," Carroll said. "He is big, he is fast and he is athletic as a guy can be. What I am counting on is him complementing the guys and making everybody better."