John Schneider

WATCH: All the reactions you need to see from Seattle’s picks on draft night

WATCH: All the reactions you need to see from Seattle’s picks on draft night

The NFL Draft is a life-changing moment for 255 players waiting to turn their dreams into reality.

This year, the draft was held fully virtual, but that doesn’t change the moment when your phone starts buzzing and an NFL general manager with life-changing news is on the other end.

Some are left speechless; some are crying with joy; some are fired up and ready to get to work right away; but the emotions are never disappointing.

The Seattle Seahawks selected eight players in the 2020 NFL Draft last week:

- Round 1 / Pick 27: Jordyn Brooks, linebacker from Texas Tech

- Round 2 / Pick 48 (acquired via trade): Darrell Taylor, EDGE from Tennessee

- Round 3 / Pick 69 (acquired via trade): Damien Lewis, guard from LSU

- Round 4 / Pick 133: Colby Parkinson, tight end from Stanford

- Round 4 / Pick 144 (compensatory pick): DeeJay Dallas, running back from Miami

- Round 5 / Pick 148 (acquired via trade): Alton Davis, defensive end from Syracuse

- Round 6 / Pick 214 (compensatory pick): Freddie Swain, wide receiver from Florida

- Round 7 / Pick 251 (acquired via trade & compensatory pick): WR/TE Stephen Sullivan from LSU

Watch their reactions when they realized it was Seahawks general manager John Schneider at the other end of the call.

These will never get old.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Chris Simms.

John Schneider’s adorable dog crashes Seahawks press conference

John Schneider’s adorable dog crashes Seahawks press conference

One of the best parts of the 2020 NFL Draft going virtual during the coronavirus pandemic was getting to peek behind the scenes into the lives of coaches and general managers in the league. 

It was revealed that Bill Belichick’s dog is the mastermind behind the Patriots’ dynasty, Roger Goodell has an affinity for M&Ms and Mike Vrabel’s unusual setup featured a son with a mullet haircut and another using the bathroom, although it was later reported he was sitting on a stool. 

Enter Charlie, dog of Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider.

While Schneider was holding a virtual press conference during the 2020 NFL Draft, Charlie got a taste of the limelight. The well-behaved doggo decided to stretch his legs and dart back-and-forth across the room. Schneider could hardly keep his composure. 

For those who weren’t there or participating in the press conference, the paw-some moment was caught on video by the Seahawks staff. 

“I apologize, my dog, is just bolting back and forth here,” Schneider said while giggling. “Almost like knocked over all the cameras and everything. I apologize.” 

People on Twitter took a moment to praise Charlie for being a 10/10 very good boy. Others called for more camera time for man's best friend. 

One thing is for certain: Charlie’s newfound fame is going to attract the pup-arazzi for years to come. 

Listen to the latest Talkin' Seahawks podcast with Joe Fann below: 

Stephen Sullivan didn’t believe it was Seahawks GM John Schneider on the telephone

Stephen Sullivan didn’t believe it was Seahawks GM John Schneider on the telephone

The day of the NFL Draft is special indeed: that constant nervousness complimented by anxiously looking down at your phone, waiting for it to ring with every passing pick throughout the course of the three-day draft. 

And just when LSU tight end/wide receiver Stephen Sullivan thought the clock had run out, the Seahawks swept in, quite literally, and took him off the board with the 251st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Seattle traded back into the draft (releasing a 2021 sixth round pick) in order to get Sullivan.

The phone call between Sullivan and Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider will never be forgotten, likely for both of them:

“Coach don’t play! Coach don’t play!”

“I’m not playing I’m the Seahawks GM.”

“Thank you coach! Let’s get it coach! Let’s get it!”

“OK man gonna get Coach Carroll on the line here for you.”

The too-good-to-be-true type of feeling. It's safe to say that Sullivan is happy to be selected in the draft.

Sullivan arrived at LSU as a wide receiver before moving to tight end. He also played tight end at the Senior Bowl and had accepted that's where his NFL career was headed as well. And yet, now he'll transition back to receiver. He recorded 12 receptions for 130 yards in 2019.

Here’s what our NFL Insider Joe Fann had to say on Sullivan after draft night:

The player: Sullivan is a wide receiver-turned-tight end-now turned wide receiver once again. Seattle shared that the LSU product will once again be a wideout. He’s a 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete who had limited production in college. He ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Best-cases scenario: Assuming he stays at wide receiver, Sullivan could end up being as productive as a big-slot guy, capable of stretching defenses up the seams.

Who it impacts on the roster: Seattle traded a 2021 sixth-rounder in order to get Sullivan, indicating they didn’t want to risk losing him in undrafted free agency. As a “tweener,” he could potentially steal a roster spot from a wide receiver or a tight end.

Biggest question: What is Sullivan’s true ceiling? His flashes of production have been limited, and Seattle is again betting on itself to tap into a skill set that no coaching staff has been able to do thus far. That said, the size and athleticism provides intriguing clay to mold.

Seahawks GM John Schneider tears down walls in home to create NFL Draft War Room

Seahawks GM John Schneider tears down walls in home to create NFL Draft War Room

This year’s NFL Draft is going to look very different for John Schneider. 

To turn his home into a virtual war room on Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks general manager had to do an extreme home makeover, including working with construction crews to tear down some walls. 

“I’m not going to lie to you—I’ve had a couple of walls ripped up,” Schneider said on Tuesday. “It’s just part of the process, but in the time in trying to be social distancing, it’s definitely been a challenge.”

Schneider noted that his house isn’t in the best location in terms of high-speed internet connection and cell service coverage. He’s put many safeguards in place, in the case technology fizzles during the draft.  

“I’m a very visual person, so everything's there in case things fall apart from a technology standpoint,” Schneider said. “I think there’s like, I don’t know, it feels like 25 screens. But I like the one-on-one interaction. I like being able to have private conversations with Pete [Carroll] throughout the draft process.”

While talking with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen this week, Seahawks Insider Joe Fann caught a glimpse of Schneider’s high-tech setup. Eisen compared the immaculate room to a “showroom floor.” The photo gave us major MTV Cribs vibes. 

Seahawks fans certainly had some thoughts on Schneider's two dozen screens. 

Like Schneider, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has beefed up his setup at home. He just hopes he doesn’t blow a fuse during the draft process. 

“I’ve got boards that wrap around the room. I've got seven screens going, which is not uncomfortable for me. I kind of like all the activity,” Carroll said. “We’ve got our land lines. We have got our cell phones, our backup cell phones, all kinds of stuff… It’s kind of cool. It’s all high-tech. We have our own little room here to do our press conference thing that’s set off to the side, as well. We just both hope that we don’t get overloads on the circuits and everything shuts down, you know, because we’ve got a lot more things plugged in than we normally do around here.”

Seattle enters Thursday’s draft with seven picks with its first coming at No. 27 overall. However, there’s an expectation the Seahawks won’t pick at 27th after all. Since 2012, Seattle has moved back from its original first-round slot every year. 

Last year, Seattle started the draft with four selections, while Schneider and Carroll wheeled and dealed their way to 11 total selections by the end of the weekend. 

Marquise Blair bashes his way from Wooster to the Seattle Seahawks

Marquise Blair bashes his way from Wooster to the Seattle Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle rookie safety Marquise Blair simply doesn't have much to say. Not to the media. Not to his teammates. Not to his coaches. Not to pretty much anybody. It's nothing personal. He's simply a man of few words. 

"That's just me," Blair said with a smile while standing before about 25 media members following the first day of Seattle's rookie minicamp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

That reality will certainly be a departure from the defensive backs that roamed Seattle's secondary during the recent glory years when the boisterous Legion of Boom operated at full force. But, like that group, Blair certainly enjoys bringing the boom if not also the noise after the fact. He is a true hitter in every sense of the word. He thirsts for contact, so much so that all of his coaches along the way from Wooster High School through Dodge City Community College and at Utah marveled at his ability to deliver blows that helped wreck opposing offenses. 

“The first thing that stands out is his smile,” Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley said when asked of what he will remember most about Blair's days at Utah. “The next thing would be how that smile was so deceiving because he will kill you dead on the field.”

Now he brings that tenacity to a team that could use a little attitude on the back end after the loss of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas over the past couple of years.

What the Seahawks are getting in Blair is a hungry player that came from humble beginnings and ended up a second-round pick in the NFL. 

"It changed my life," Blair said of being selected. "I'm happy to be here."

How he arrived here was somewhat unconventional. 

--- A career that almost never was

Blair had to be convinced to play football as a 175-pound sophomore in 2012 at Wooster High in Wooster, Ohio, population 27,000. He didn't enjoy his freshman season and saw himself more as a basketball player. First-year Wooster football coach Doug Haas didn't give up on Blair, and with the help of his mother, Tonya Boykins, convinced him to join the team once school began. By that point, Blair had already missed three weeks of practices. Haas wasn't about to allow Blair to see varsity game action right away. Haas made Blair play junior varsity for three weeks to match the three weeks of practices he had missed. 

Because learning the safety position in just a week proved troublesome, Blair played his first junior varsity game at standup defensive end. 

"He had seven sacks and recovered an onside kick," Haas said. "He was just a terror. My J.V. staff came back and said, 'well, that's the last we'll see of him.'"

A couple of weeks later, Blair moved up to varsity and played cornerback where his man-to-man skills shined. Haas recalled a play when the opposing team ran a reverse to the wide side of the field directly at Blair, all alone in open space. 

"He cuts this kid down in the backfield," Haas said. "And I go, 'okay, this guy is pretty special. He's going to be playing on Saturdays.'"

The following season, Blair moved to safety. The defense struggled early on before Blair texted Haas asking to move to linebacker in order to be closer to the action. The team ran a 4-2-5 defense that used a hybrid safety/linebacker position. Blair flourished in that spot and the team's season turned around. Blair, however, still though basketball might be his best sport. But Haas informed him that there wasn't much of a demand for a 6-foot-2, left-handed guard with a weak jump shot. However, fast, physical safeties that loved contact were always in demand. That description certainly fit Blair. 

"I've never seen anybody as physical as he is in terms of just the ability to have blatant disregard for your body and just explode into people," Haas said, "and then straighten up your helmet, pop up, get right back and get the play call and move on. That's what so separated him from everybody else."

Blair's toughness could be traced to having grown with five siblings, including four brothers, two that were older. 

"We always played backyard football so I feel that's where that really came from," Blair said. 

The older brothers would rough up Blair from time to time. 

"A little bit. Not no more, though," Blair said with a smile. 

NFL Films also influenced Blair's mindset on the field. 

"When I was little I'd watch highlights," he said. "Hard-hitting highlights."

On most plays, there is going to be some hard-hitting contact so Blair's philosophy is simple. 

"I'd just rather it be you (who gets hit hard) than me," he said. 

Interest in Blair as a potential college football player took shape soon after his junior season when he received his first scholarship offer in early 2014. Rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com and Rivals.com, Blair received offers from Minnesota, Purdue, Kent State, Toledo and Syracuse. That summer, he took an unofficial visit to Syracuse, connected with the players and coaches there and committed that June. 

One fatal flaw stood in the way; his grade-point average. 

"Marquises will be the first to tell you that he was young and immature as a freshman and didn't think about the repercussions of not performing well in the classroom," Haas said. 

Blair began to play catch-up in the classroom while continuing to make opponents pay for allowing him to catch them on the field. Blair would go on to be named first-team Division II all-state as a senior and was named the 2014 Ohio Cardinal Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He led the team with 75 tackles and on offense caught 35 passes for 724 yards and 11 touchdowns. In a playoff game, Blair scored four touchdowns on offense and one on defense to lead the team to a 35-7 win. 

According to Haas, Blair finally realized that football would be his "meal ticket" and gave up basketball his senior season in order to focus on his studies and training for college. But could he become eligible to play at an FBS program?

Blair did all that he could, including taking online classes during the summer after graduating in order to become eligible. Syracuse helped with the process. All signs appeared positive until the 11th hour. In late July, the NCAA determined that it would not approve Blair's transcript making him ineligible to play major college football.

"There was a culpability there," Haas said. "He learned the error of his ways." 

Scramble mode ensued. Blair and his coaches had little time to find an alternative plan at a junior college where he could play and work on his associate's degree in order to later transfer to a four-year institution. With few options to choose from, Blair selected Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas.

Blair applied online, received a football scholarship, packed his bags, got a ride to Cleveland an hour away and then took his first plane ride just under 1,000 miles west to attend school in a city he had never visited to play for people had had never met in person. 

--- Dodge City Destroyer

At the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, Kan., to pick up Blair in late summer of 2015 was linebackers coach Michael Starkey, now at Defiance College in Ohio. Blair had gotten everything all squared away late in the process and missed a few days of fall camp before his arrival. So, Starkey brought along a note pad, handed it to Blair in the car at the airport and during the 2 1/2 hour drive to Dodge City held a one-on-one defensive playbook cram session. 

Dodge City, like Wooster High, used essentially a 4-2-5 defense with heavy man defense that Blair took to quite easily. He once again played a hybrid linebacker/safety role and once again flew around with reckless abandon creating havoc. But he did so while playing within the structure of the defense, which required him to play a lot of man-to-man coverage on slot receivers.

"You could just tell the first day of practice that he understood things," Starkey said. "He just understood football. He understood concepts, he understood the schemes and he took coaching very well. He just applied what he saw and what we were trying to do on the field better than anyone I've ever coached."

That combination of football IQ and tenacity made Blair a menace. His Dodge City highlight video is filled with clips of Blair making early recognition of a play, blowing past blockers and delivering a big hit. 

"He's a violent striker," Starkey said. "He can uncoil his hips whether it was destroying a blocker or making a tackle...That's one thing that immediately caught our eyes on his high school film just how violent he was as a 17-year-old high school senior. He was just violent in everything he did."

Blair's impact was instant and continued for two years. As a senior, Blair had 99 tackles, four interceptions, three sacks and forced four fumbles. 

"Everybody on our coaching staff and a lot of guys on our team they saw very quickly that he was just different," Starkey said. "He could do a myriad of different things that just made him elite at that level, for sure."

Starkey said that Blair didn't instantly become enamored with Dodge City but the coach told him that after one year there, when he went home for the summer, he would dream about coming back to be with his teammates. 

"When I picked him up for his sophomore year he was like, 'damn coach, I couldn't wait to get back,'" Starkey said. 

Blair did the work in the classroom and made the plays in games that allowed him to stand out. 

"He took coaching very well," Starkey said. "Better than anyone I've ever coached."

And just like at Wooster, Blair created a highlight reel of vicious hits. 

-- Utah hunts for a linebacker, finds a safety

In 2017, Utah had graduated two senior linebackers and needed help at the position. That sent defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley to Dodge City to recruit Blair, who stood out on game video with his speed and tenacity. A three-star recruit yet again, Blair would receive offers from Nebraska, Louisville, Michigan State, Iowa State and others. 

When Scalley met Blair, the coach did a double take. Blair, then about 187 pounds, didn't resemble the player Scalley had seen on video. 

"He looked big (in action)," Scalley said. "Maybe because he just played big. They'd blitz him off the edge and he'd take on pullers. "

Scalley said that Blair's junior college film was one of the most impressive physical displays he'd ever seen. So while Blair was not the guy Utah thought he was, "it didn't change that we loved him," Scalley said.  

Utah recruited Blair to play safety. 

“He could flat out move and was so physical,” Scalley said. “He was worth taking, regardless of position he was going to play.”

The challenge would be to get Blair’s footwork down at the safety position. That directive proved to not be a problem.

“It was very natural for him," Scalley said. "He’s such an athlete.”

Once again, Blair took well to coaching. Different staff. Same results. He bought into the program and Utah bought into him.

Blair needed exactly one play to announce his presence at Utah with a thud. It happened during his debut in the 2017 opener at home against North Dakota. 

“We put him in and he's lined up on the wrong side,” Scalley described, "and I'm screaming at him to run to the other side. He runs over and he's got the tight end in coverage."

The tight end blocked down on a run play to the right that involved a 310-pound guard pulling toward Blair.

"I'm thinking to myself, 'oh crap,'" Scalley said.

His concern proved unwarranted. Blair got low and thrust his legs up sending his shoulder pads into the lineman’s right shoulder. 

“He lights this guard up as if the kid were a little league football player,” Scalley said. "Just ruined him..."The entire stadium just goes, "ooh. That was our first taste of Marquise Blair at the University of Utah."

Back in Dodge City, Starkey watched the game with his girlfriend, who reacted excitedly when Blair made that big hit. Starkey, however, didn't blink. 

"I just kind of looked at her like, 'yeah, that's what he does,'" Starkey said. "That's the lion being a lion."

Blair went on to have a great Utah career that ended with him being named second-team all-Pac-12 as a senior. Remember those academic problems that dogged him in high school? Blair was named to the conference's honorable mention all-academic team. 

Scalley said he believes that Blair is only scratching the surface of what he can do at the safety position because he's only played it for two years. But, he continued, that Blair must continue to work on his man-to-man coverage skills at the next level. Scalley doesn't expect that Blair will ever lose focus and not be able to adjust to new challenges. 

“He hates to lose,” Scalley said. “He hates to lose a rep.”

Plus, Blair is all about team accomplishment and wants to be a key part of that success. 

“He’s not a me-guy," Scalley said. "He doesn’t even have a Twitter account right now...He’s not the guy that you're going to want to interview after the games. He’s not the guy that's going to give you complete sentences but he is a guy that lights up a room with his smile."

--- Seahawks see a fit

On the second night of the NFL Draft, Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll zeroed in on Blair despite safety not being a huge need with starters Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson returning. They were seduced by Blair's physicality and athleticism. 

"We worked him out at the Combine and we thought this guy could play corner," Schneider said. "He’s just that kind of athlete. Really intense tempo-setter. Tough, tough dude.”

Carroll said he could see Blair, who became the father of a son last summer, playing Nickel right away because he is athletic enough to do so. But the primary objective is to groom him as a strong safety. 

"We really like him attacking the line of scrimmage..." Carroll said. "It’s his toughness that we’re really excited about.”

Blair is joined in Seattle by former Utah teammate, linebacker Cody Barton, selected in the third round.  

Barton said Blair's personalities on and off the field are polar opposite. 

"He doesn’t talk much, but he’s a very mellow, cool guy and then all of a sudden he puts the helmet on and he’s a wild man," Barton said. "He just wants to kill people. But great player, super smart on the field, has great range. Playing with him coming from Utah, I know how he plays and he’s going to do great things here."

Barton said the biggest hit he's ever seen Blair deliver came against Arizona when he smacked the Wildcats quarterback. However, Blair was called for targeting, a frequent occurrence during his career and something he said he needs to work on. 

"I've just got to lower my target," he said. 

Seattle also drafted Oregon safety Ugo Amadi in the fourth round to play free safety opposite Blair in the second unit. The two didn't know much about each other until they met at the NFL Scouting Combine. This weekend, they were roommates. 

And, according to Amadi, Blair actually speaks and has done so quite often.

"Yes, he definitely talks to me," Amadi said with a laugh. "We always talk...I don't know if ya'll have something going on, but for me, good vibes over there."

What's clear is that even without much to say, Blair connects with those closest to him off the field. 

"He's a great kid," Scalley said. "He has a great heart. I just loved his personality. You've gotta earn his trust, but once you do that dude will do anything for ya.”

Haas listened to Blair's draft teleconference and the short sentences he delivered and could only laugh. Those who have helped Blair reach this point find his budgeting of words endearing because they know who the person is behind the quiet demeanor. Haas, Starkey and Scalley have helped groom someone that Seattle is hoping will deliver loudly on the field where it matters the most and where he will always speak the loudest. 

"He is a man of very few words," Haas said. "He's very comfortable with silence." 

Unless, of course, Blair is creating the crashing sound of pad-on-pad violence. 

Seattle Seahawks draft grade with a caveat following a mesmerizing three days

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USA Today

Seattle Seahawks draft grade with a caveat following a mesmerizing three days

Grading NFL drafts is about as obnoxious as the media can get. It's like grading a test in school before reviewing the student's answers. Nobody on earth knows how any of these drafts will actually pan out until a few years down the road. 

So, it's with great trepidation that I give Seattle an A-plus grade for its performance during the draft under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. I do so based on what Seattle did more so than based on the players selected. It can never be forgotten that the NFL is a universe where arguably the greatest two quarterbacks in history, Joe Montana and Tom Brady, were drafted in the third and fifth rounds respectively and combined to win 10 Super Bowls, and Seattle built a Super Bowl champion with mostly stars taken in the mid to late rounds. 

So let's not pretend that predicting how well these rookies will perform is mostly based on reasonably educates guesstimate​​. However, there is zero denying that how Seattle handled the draft was pure poetry. 

I monitored Seattle's draft along with web producer Ashley Young while both in different locations communicating via text. Our banter was filled with sheer amusement as we watched Seattle bouncer around the draft to accumulate picks and move up to get the guy they wanted. The most common phrase used was "they traded another pick," whether up or down. 

The net result was that Seattle, which entered last week with four picks, exited the draft with 11 rookies and an extra second round pick in 2020.

(pause for applause). 

I mean....that was flat out mesmerizing. 

Schneider should have taken the podium before the media on Saturday and went all Russell Crowe from the movie "Gladiator" and screamed, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?"

Now, the down side to all of this is that Seattle had to give up defensive end Frank Clark, who had 13 sacks last year and is just entering his prime at age 25. Dealing him to Kansas City prior to the draft netted the No. 29 pick this year and a second-round pick next season. But there is no guarantee that Seattle will be able to replace Clark's production even with the man the team selected with that No. 29 pick, defensive end L.J. Collier out of TCU. 

Another down side is that while all of the wheelin' and dealin' proved to be entertaining and potentially fruitful, for all we know Seattle passed up on some star players in the process. 

For examples: Seattle traded its own No. 21 pick to Green Bay for its No. 30 pick and two fourth-round picks (No. 114 and No. 118). What if there were several Pro Bowlers taken between No. 21 through No. 28 that Seattle could have had? Atlanta took wide receiver Calvin Ridley with the No. 26 pick in 2018. He produced 821 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Falcons. Of course, the final 10 picks have produced many busts over the years as well. It's a gamble either way. Seattle's philosophy is clearly to go after volume while trusting the scouting department and the coaching staff's ability to develop talent under Carroll.  

Maybe the biggest "get" was the selection of wide receiver D.K. Metcalf with the 64th pick in the second round. Seattle traded up with New England to get Metcalf, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound receiver with as much speed as potential but also some question marks. 

“We never would have thought that we would have had a shot to get him," Carroll told reporters. " When John realized, he just snapped at the opportunity to get a pick to elevate, so we could have that 64thpick.  I was shocked.  That was as much fun as I’ve had.  Just to have that guy on our team.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, everything converged perfectly.  We nailed it, and yes we got the trade, and bang, bang, bang, he made it to us.  It was really exciting.”

It was like that for three days. Seattle's brass getting giddy about its ability to move down and trade up in order to get, what in their eyes, was great value with each pick. 

Again, and this can't be stressed enough, we won't know for several years how this draft will ultimately look. Take a trip back down Seattle memory draft lane with this link and you'll find a bunch of names that will make you ask, "who?" mixed in with names you know. 

It's the nature of the beast. But on paper, this was an impressive draft for Seattle. Here's a quick rundown:

Round 1 • Pick 29 (29) • DE L.J. Collier, TCU: Seattle got its potential replacement for Clark right away. Collier is a power end with pass rushing potential that Carroll said will play the five-technique right away. “L.J. fits us," Schneider said. "He’s a heavy-handed, tough, chip-on-his-shoulder guy."

Round 2 • Pick 15 (47) • SS Marquise Blair, Utah: Seattle is solid at safety with Bradley McDougald, signed as a free agent last year, and former fourth-round pick Tedric Thompson, who started most of last year after Earl Thomas was lost for the season. Blair is a heavy hitter who will battle both for playing time. “We’d like to start him at safety on the inside knowing that there’s other things that he may be able to do, but we’re going to zero him in," Carroll said. "We really like him attacking the line of scrimmage. He blitzes well, he tackles well, hits well, great feel. It’s his toughness that we’re really excited about. He happens to be a really great athlete as well. But we’re going to zero him in and focus him in at strong safety.”

Round 2 • Pick 32 (64) • WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi: Carroll and Schneider said it would be a few weeks before they know more about wide receiver Doug Baldwin's status following multiple surgeries this offseason so getting a receiver in the draft was a must. Metcalf, at the very least, will be able to go deep and get up high for passes with his 40-inch vertical. "He’s equipped to do a lot of stuff," Carroll said. "Not just the stuff that he can do in the throwing game, but in the running game too. He’s going to be a big factor for us as a team that loves to run the football. He’s going to be a factor and he’s going to be able to help us in the play action game. He releases off the line of scrimmage with great violence."

Round 3 • Pick 25 (88) • LB Cody Barton, Utah: Seattle loves its starting three linebackers in Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks, but hadn't drafted a linebacker inside of three rounds since Wagner in 2012. That changed in this draft with the selection of Barton. “Versatility, size. He’s 6’2” and a half," Schneider said. "He can play all three spots. He’s always been a phenomenal special teams player. The guy is really intense and loves football. He’s got true grit to him...We got the two Utes. [Utah] actually had a really good defense. He comes from a system where Coach Whittingham is really demanding. [Marquise Blair and Cody Barton] are coming out of a system where they are both well disciplined guys when they come out.”

Round 4 • Pick 18 (120) • WR Gary Jennings, West Virginia: Seattle added more receiver depth with Jennings, who had 913 yards and 13 touchdowns for West Virginia last season. "Phenomenal hands. Really strong after the catch. He had an awesome visit with us, led the nation with 16 touchdowns.  He is going to come in and compete for that slot spot." 

Round 4 • Pick 22 (124) • G Phil Haynes, Wake Forest: Seattle led the NFL in rushing last season but certainly needed to add a young guard to the mix and did so with Haynes. “Phil is a guy that we targeted early because of his makeup and his style of play," Carroll said. "We’re really excited about how our guards have been playing. You saw us go out and get Mike Iupati to go along with what D.J. [Fluker] has done. We thought early on that this is a guy that can fit in the mold of that. He’s going to be 340 pounds. He’s a really strong, really physical guy. He likes to finish blocks and knock guys down. He’s got an attitude about him.”

Round 4 • Pick 30 (132) • FS Ugo Amadi, Oregon: The four-year starter at Oregon played both cornerback and safety for the Ducks. He might not have the speed to play full-time corner in the NFL but he certainly is versatile enough to bounce around the secondary when needed. “He’s a very versatile football player," Carroll said. "He’s been recognized and has been awarded some stuff through recognition of being an all-around player. He’s a safety and we’re going to start him off playing back in the middle, he’ll play free safety to start. Marquise [Blair] will be on the other side. He’s done a lot of coverage stuff on the slots, he’s done nickel work in a unique way and been effective there too.”

Round 5 • Pick 4 (142) • LB Ben Burr-Kirvin, Washington: The Huskies produce great defensive players and Burr-Kirven is certainly one of them. He had 338 career tackles for the Huskies with 11 1/2 sacks. Should be an immediate contributor on special teams. "I thought it was a really exciting pick to evaluate because he’s such a unique type of player. Whenever you get a guy that’s this active and has these kinds of numbers, you have to take a look. We took a really deep look at what Ben’s all about. He reminded me so much of Lofa Tatupu. Lofa had this extraordinary knack for finding the football in unique ways and the way he fit in the running game, he was amazing. This is the way that Ben plays.”

Round 6 • Pick 32 (204) • RB Travis Homer, Miami: Seattle is set at the top of the depth chart with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, but both are 220-pound backs while Homer, at 5-11, 195, adds a speed back element. Over the last two seasons, he rushed for 1,951 yards and 12 touchdowns. “He can play an every down back," Schneider said. " He’s really tough.  He’s only 20 years old.  He’s a grit guy for us, hell of a special teams player.  He can play on third down.  We actually had him in the third down category because he had such good hands coming out of the backfield.  Really good instincts.  Just a really, really tough.”

Round 6 • Pick 37 (209) • DT Demarcus Christmas, Florida State: This late in the draft, a team is looking for guys that show them something that could be developed into a contributor.  “He’s going to play 3-technique to start us out," Carroll said. " We just want to bring him along.  Good, tough guy, who can do a lot of good stuff.  We just want to develop him, we need the depth, and we need the girth.  He’s a 300-plus pound guy."

Round 7 • Pick 22 (236) • WR John Ursua, Hawaii: Seattle, after already taking two receivers, traded to acquire a seventh-round pick just to take Ursua. “Besides the player, who we all really liked as a competitive slot receiver, when you’re in the seventh round, you have to look at where guys have visited, and who’s had private workouts with them, and who’s spent the most amount of time with them," Schneider said. "He had spent time with several teams that we were concerned about.  We were worried about not being able to sign him as a rookie free agent.  We did not have a seventh-round pick.  We had 12 picks next year, so, let’s go get the guy that everybody feels really good about, let’s just lock it down.  He’s a really cool kid.”

Seattle Seahawks prep for draft, ponder potential trades and DE Frank Clark

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Seattle Seahawks prep for draft, ponder potential trades and DE Frank Clark

Seattle general manager John Schneider said today during press conference along with coach Pete Carroll that the team's draft board remains fluid with the NFL Draft set to being Thursday and run through Sunday.

Maybe that's because the team doesn't quite know what to do with itself while having just four picks to work with. 

"Well, it’s not fun," Schneider he told reporters. "But we’ve built our team all the way through the year and that’s just part of the process."

Seattle traded its sixth-round pick for backup quarterback Brett Hundley (now in Arizona), it's seventh-round pick for backup safety Shalom Luani, and the second-round pick in the 2017 deal that landed left tackle Duane Brown.

That leaves Seattle with a pick in the first (21), third (No. 84), fourth (No. 124) and fifth (No. 159).

That's downright painful for a duo that entering its 10th draft together has never had fewer than eight picks (2015) and has averaged 9.6 per draft.

On the surface that means Seattle is likely to look to trade back to acquire draft picks. Or, could the Seahawks deal defensive end Frank Clark?

Clark, just 25, had 13 sacks last season and has emerged as one of the best edge pass rushers in the game. So much so that Seattle slapped him with the franchise tag this offseason to prevent the unrestricted free agent from getting away. Seattle is schedule to pay Clark $17.1 million this season but he has reportedly made it clear that he will not report to camp without a long-term deal in place. Such a deal could cost Seattle $18 million per season. That could prove to be too rich for a franchise that just signed its quarterback, Russell Wilson, to a four-year extension worth $35 million per season. 

According to NFL Network, Seattle has received interest from Indianapolis, the New York Jets and Kansas City regarding Clark. 

Clark could net multiple draft picks and save the team a boat load of salary cap space. 

"We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we weren’t listening to everybody," Schneider said of a possible deal involving Clark. "So I get it. It’s, you know, people need to be speculating on things at this time of the year."

But that doesn't mean Clark is even on the block. Schneider said it's feasible to keep Clark, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (one year remaining on his deal), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (one year remaining) and Clark. But ti won't be easy. 

"Were you in my bedroom last night when I woke up in the middle of the night?" Schneider asked a reporter. "No, I think about it all the time."

It's almost safe to bet the farm that Seattle will make some type of deal before or during the draft. Schneider recognizes that the team has a reputation for being willing to move back to acquire picks. 

"This year is unique for us having four picks," he said. "Rookie free agency is going to be huge for us...But our guys do a great job of calling everybody and trying to get scenarios all set up and where can we go? They’re trying to figure out where we can go and move back to. So, I think the fact that we have done it a lot kind of invites people a little bit."

Seattle Seahawks appear content with core players, dip toe in free agency

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USA Today

Seattle Seahawks appear content with core players, dip toe in free agency

Well, at least Seattle signed one Pro Bowler, albeit a kicker. So, there's that. 

The first official day of free agency in the NFL came and went on Wednesday with a plethora of big moves going down around the league, just not in the Pacific Northwest. 

Seattle, true to their typical form, largely stayed out of the signing frenzy despite being armed with about $50 million in cap space to work with. The Seahawks did sign Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers away from the New York Jets and reportedly will retain the services of linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The Seattle Tims reported this morning that linebacker K.J. Wright would return to the team.

But that's it. Gone are running back Mike Davis (Chicago), cornerback Justin Coleman (Detroit), guard J.R. Sweezy (Arizona) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (Minnesota).

So, what does all of this mean?  Well, first and foremost it means that general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll didn't believe that an available free agent would elevate their team that went 10-6 last year into true Super Bowl contention in 2019, or at least at the price tag they would have wanted to spend.

On the other side of the coin is the reality that Seattle is about to pay huge raises to three star players. Defensive end Frank Clark, whom Seattle has franchise tagged, has reportedly stated that he will not sign such a designation and will hold out if he does not receive a long-term deal. Clark, 25, led the team with 13 sacks last season and certainly would have received big money on the open market as an urestricted free agent. He ultimately will eat up a huge chunk of Seattle's available cap space. 

Then there is middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. He has one year remaining on his contract and is coming off of another Pro Bowl season. He will turn 29 in June so one would imagine that an extension with about $35 million in guaranteed money would be coming his way soon. Seattle is unlikely to play hardball with Wagner as it did safety Earl Thomas last offseason. He, by the way, has signed a $55 million deal with Baltimore. 

Quarterback Russell Wilson is also entering the final year of his contract. In a world where Kirk Cousins is being paid about $28 million per year and Jimmy Garoppolo, who has accomplished nothing, receives an average salary of 27.5 million, Wilson should break the bank. His number should start at $30 million per season and could reach $35 million. 

So, while Seattle has cap space to work with, it's looking at about $55 million in annual salary it must pay Wilson, Wagner and Clark in order to retain their services beyond next season.

There's also the matter of resigning free agent right guard D.J. Fluker. That would also appear to be a must. 

Seattle will assuredly make another small move, or two. Most of the big fish have been acquired. Bargains will start to present themselves and the Seahawks will be able to pick up players on the cheap that could have an impact. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is out there. But he will likely be too expensive for Seattle's budget. Teams around the league will also release players during the offseason that could be acquired, just as Seattle did last offseason with Fluker and Sweezy. 

But, for all intents and purposes, the Seahawks are what they are. Is that good enough to reach the Super Bowl? We shall find out. 

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider ready to wheel and deal?

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USA Today

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider ready to wheel and deal?

The Seattle Seahawks enter the NFL Draft process with four picks. That's about 10 too few for Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.

Having picks in just rounds one, three, four and five certainly won't cut it. 

“That’s a challenge for us,” Schneider told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind.  

Don't expect Seattle to sit still with just four selections once the three-day, seven-round draft starts on April 25. 

Schneider and Carroll love the NFL Draft process and for them, the more picks the better. The duo has made a living out of selecting middle-to-late-round gems such as quarterback Russell Wilson (third round, 2012), cornerback Richard Sherman (fifth round, 2011), safety Kam Chancellor (fifth round, 2010) and running back Chris Carson (seventh round, 2017).

[ALSO READ: Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider addresses QB Russell Wilson's future]

For those reasons, Seattle seeks to stockpile picks. They drafted nine players last year, 11 in 2017 and 10 in 2016. In fact, the last time Seattle drafted just the normal allotment of seven players was in 2009, a year before Carroll and Schneider took over.

“It’s what we do,” Schneider said. “Our guys do a great job of working their relationships around the league and we’re trying to navigate where we’re going throughout the draft and targeting players and moving around.”

There is a good chance that Seattle will do much of the same in April. 

"We don’t necessarily have to go down all the time," Schneider said in regards to trading down in the draft. "But it’s kind of fun." 

Seattle is light on picks because it traded its second-round pick to acquire left tackle Duane Brown from the Houston Texans in 2017, traded its sixth-round pick to Green Bay to acquire backup quarterback Brett Hundley and sent its seventh-round pick to Oakland for safety Shalom Luani.

On safety Earl Thomas: Schneider was asked about safety Early Thomas, who held out of training camp in hopes of a contract extension before returning to action and then breaking his leg in the fourth game of the season. Thomas is now a free agent.

"I understood his frustration," Schneider said when asked about how things ended with Thomas. "It's a business. He's a free agent. He’s going to test free agency. We’ll see what happens. He's going to be one of those dudes that's up in the (ring of honor)."

On running back Rashaad Penny: During last year's draft, Seattle traded down to acquire picks and then selected running back Rashaad Penny No. 27th overall. Penny battled injuries while rushing for 419 yards and two touchdowns while not being able to beat out second-year running back Chris Carson, a seventh-round pick in 2017 who rushed for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns. 

“He had a nice rookie year," Schneider said. "Battled through some things. He’s never been hurt before. As a rookie it was kind of hard for him to figure things out. But I think he’s on the path of getting ready to have a great season. We don’t have any reason to not think that.”

On defensive end Frank Clark: The biggest free agent on Seattle's radar is likely its own, Frank Clark, who led the team with 13 sacks. Seattle is expected to work to keep him but Schneider offered little insight into that process. 

"Frank and I, we have a great relationship," Schneider said. "Communication has been great. There’s a strong level of trust between the two of us."

Kicking situation: Another free agent is kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who turns 41 this weekend. Seattle made a move at that position shortly after the season ended by signing Sam Ficken to a futures contract in January. Ficken appeared in two games with the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 and two in 2017. The 26-year-old out of Penn State has attempted six career field goals making three.

"He had a great workout with us," Schneider said. "We wanted to get him in there as quickly as we could to have that stable guy. We will continue to look for someone to work with him.

Janikowski has made 436 of 542 career field goal attempts. 

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider addresses QB Russell Wilson's future

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Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider addresses QB Russell Wilson's future

An unsubstantiated and, from the Seattle Seahawks' perspective, vicious rumor popped up about a week ago that quarterback Russell Wilson would prefer to play for the New York Giants rather than sign a new contract with his current team that drafted him in 2012, he has won a Super Bowl with and has carved out the early makings of a Hall of Fame career.

Wilson has one year remaining on his current deal so he won't be going anywhere this offseason, unless he were to be traded and that's highly unlikely. Nevertheless, the rumor had enough legs to warrant a question to Seattle general manager John Schneider, who appeared before the media today at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind.

Schneider was asked point blank if he believes that Wilson is committed to Seattle long term.

“I don’t have any other reason to believe that other than, like, website rumors and stuff like that,” Schneider told reporters. 

And that was that. Prior to that question, Schneider was asked about Wilson's contract, which will expire after next season. 

"We’ve been in communication with his agent, Mark (Rodgers)," Schneider said. "I’m sure we’ll continue to talk. There are some guys that are unrestricted free agents right now, so we try to work through that process.”

Seattle would have reason to accelerate the process with Wilson if it believes the rumors to be true. They are, at least, plausible.

The chatter started when radio host Colin Cowherd stated, in so many words, that Wilson's wife, music star Ciara, would prefer to live in media Mecca such as New York rather than Seattle. That is not at all implausible. 

Wilson didn't seek to sign a long-term deal last year but Seattle has control for up to four years with franchise tag options that would pay Wilson a ton of money, but also would keep him in Seattle if he balked at a new long-term deal. 

Wilson's current contract was for $87.6 million over four years. At the time, those numbers were huge, but as is the norm in the NFL, the quarterbacks that came up up next for deals signed contracts that surpassed Wilson's.

That's just life in the NFL. Wilson will make up for that in his next contract. And guess what, quarterbacks signed after that would get more than Wilson signed for. 

Even if Ciara would prefer to live in New York that doesn't mean Wilson should force a deal to the Giants. He doesn't seem like he is that type of person. Plus, this power couple has enough money to establish homes in multiple states and could spend most of the offseason together in New York and the season in the Seattle area, if Ciara really wants to be in the Big Apple. 

It would be shocking to ever see Wilson playing in any other uniform while in his prime.