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The Plan For The O-Line & Other Takeaways From The John Schneider Show On Seattle Sports 710AM

News and notes from Seahawks president of football operation/general manager John Schneider’s weekly appearance on Seattle Sports 710AM


Back from the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Seahawks president of football operations/general manager John Schneider sat down with Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton for his weekly show on Seattle Sports 710AM.

Here are a few takeaways from this week's version of the John Schneider show:

The Seahawks know they still need help on the O-line, and are looking both at veteran options and the draft.

With guard Damien Lewis and center Evan Brown leaving in free agency and with Phil Haynes still a free agent, the Seahawks know they have work to do when it comes to building their interior offensive line for 2024. They did sign center Nick Harris and guard Tremayne Anchrum Jr. in free agency, but as Schneider noted Tuesday in Orlando, "We have a lot to figure out there."

Or as Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald put it during his time with the media at the Annual Meeting, "It's a work in progress and we're not done by any stretch of the imagination. Obviously, there is some great competition going to happen in that room and we expect some higher level play this year from those guys, and we're out at work at it. But we are not hitting the panic button or anything like that. We don't play until September so a lot of time to figure out who the right guys are and who the right opportunities are to make the team the best we can.''

Schneider talked more about that topic on his radio show, noting that the Seahawks will likely take a look at some veteran free agents soon.

"We're going to be bringing a couple of veteran offensive linemen through in this second phase of free agency, and then comparing that what the draft looks like," Schneider said. "... That is a need on our team right now, I think it's fairly obvious."

But while the Seahawks will look to add to that spot, very possibly in a draft that is considered strong when it comes to linemen, Schneider also noted there are a couple young players fans might not be thinking of about whom the Seahawks are excited, tackle Raiqwon O'Neal and guard/tackle McClendon Curtis, both of whom were signed of other teams' practice squads early last season after Abe Lucas and Charles Cross both went down with injuries in the opener.

"We like some of the young guys, (Raiqwon) O'Neal, McClendon Curtis, there's some younger guys we really like too that we've added right after the first game last year," Schneider said. "So they're some young players that a fan might not necessarily know, but that we're excited about in the mix. Then the two guys we added in free agency already, we're excited about those guys, younger guys in Nick and Tremayne. But also then, what does the draft look like? What are the different levels? What are the cutoffs? How far do you push to go get a guy or to fall back to get into another group of player where there may be three or four guys as compared to the talent level at one specific player or prospect. We'll be constantly evaluating that over the next four weeks here. When you talk about holes, we do pride ourselves on not acting like, OK, we have all the answers here and now our job is done. We're building this team 365 days a year, and that's never changed; we'll constantly be doing that… It's a constant process. I think Mike said it the other day, We're not playing next week, so we're going to be constantly working on everything."

Learning what the new coaching staff is looking for.

There's nothing unusual about the fact that Schneider and the player personnel department are spending time this offseason going over the 2024 draft prospects with coaches. That's something that happened every year throughout Schneider and Pete Carroll's 14 drafts together, but one big difference this year for Schneider and company is that a new coaching staff can sometimes have different things they're looking for in prospects. As senior director of player personnel Matt Berry explained before the NFL Scouting Combine, the Seahawks are looking for a lot of the same traits in terms of players who love the game and are "highly competitive guys that are all about football, about the process, smart tough and reliable. None of that changes."

But when it comes to more specific traits at certain positions, or about skillsets that fit a scheme, or about how a player might fit into the current position group, there can be some difference from one coaching staff to another.

"That's an everyday process," Schneider said. "Being able to just go into the coaches' offices—and it's been like that since we got here in 2010, just to be able to go around the building and talk to everybody about what they like and what's important to them, and how they're feeling about their group. Especially with coaches, when we're talking about draft prospects, it's really most important for us to hear from coaches how they feel about their position group, and how they see a player fitting in more than it is about, 'Well, I think this is a third-round player, this is a fifth-round player.' Those are constant conversations."

Explaining the importance of 30 visits.

First off, let's get this out of the way. As Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Reese's Senior Bowl and a former Seahawks scout likes to point out, the visits draft prospects can make to teams' facilities are not "top-30 visits" as you might see on social media. They're just 30 visits. The misnomer "top-30 visits" implies the 30 players coming are the team's top-ranked prospects, when in fact there can be a number of reasons to have those players in that has nothing to do with how high they are on the draft board. Yes, some top prospects do end up visiting, including Devon Witherspoon, who Seattle took fifth overall last year, but the Seahawks and other teams also use those visits to do things like meet with a player who wasn't invited to the combine, or to get more information on a player with an injury to see how they are progressing.

Anyway, that clarification aside, Schneider talked more about 30 visits and what the Seahawks can get out of them.

"We're going to have the 30 visits, there's 30 college players that we can bring in for physicals, and have our coaching staff spend much more time with them," Schneider said. "Have them experience the building."

Asked the difference between combine visits and medical checkups compared to the 30 visit, Schneider said, "It's a lot of guys that did not get invited to the combine, whether we want to spend more time learning the person, or re-checking a hamstring pull or a groin, whatever, just have them come in and get another update on whatever injury they have going on. It's really trying to get your board as clean as you can so we have a direction that everybody feels comfortable about. Matt Berry, (vice president of player personnel) Trent (Kirchner), (assistant general manager) Nolan (Teasley), (director of college scouting) Aaron Hineline, everybody does a great job of identifying what's been going on with these pro days and what we need to do moving forward to gain more information on every single prospect that's going to be on our board."

The NFL held their annual league meeting from March 24, 2024 through March 26, 2024. The league holds these meetings each offseason in order to decide on various rules changes and implement new strategies to improve the game. Check out some of the best photos of the head coaches from the meetings.

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