Seahawks general manager John Schneider did a round of radio interviews this morning to wrap up the NFL Draft.
I happened to catch live his appearance on KJR-AM.
Here are a few highlights:
— Asked about the health of safety Kam Chancellor, Schneider said he wasn’t trying to evade the topic when he wouldn’t comment a few weeks ago when asked during a pre-draft meeting with the media but just felt caught off-guard and wasn’t sure what the team had already said about it — the team has since said Chancellor had surgery on his to repair an injury that dates to 2012. He said Chancellor is “progressing well” but that “we will be really careful with him throughout the pre-season and it will be more about getting him ready for the season than it will be about having him in the pre-season and beating on his body.” But he said he expects Chancellor, as well as left tackle Russell Okung, who recently had another surgery on his toe, will be ready for the season. “Yeah, absolutely,” Schneider said.
— Asked for a general evaluation of the draft, Schneider said “you always feel really good about it afterward. We’ll see where it goes. We were able to get nine picks which was a goal of ours and to get (receiver Paul) (Richardson), we feel really blessed.”
— Asked if there was a spot in the draft where a player was selected that they wanted just before they were going to pick, Schneider answered that it happened in the seventh round and that there was a player taken “about 3-4 picks” before Seattle’s turn came that the Seahawks had their eye on. He didn’t name the player. The player taken three spots before Seattle was DT Beau Allen of Wisconsin, and taken four spots prior was LB Brandon Watts of Georgia Tech. Seattle ended up taking fullback Kiero Small of Arkansas.
— Schneider acknowledged that while Seattle tries to go with the best player available, that the team had its eyes on a playmaking receiver and on bolstering the depth of the offensive line. He said that also kept in line with how they graded the draft as a whole, saying “the offensive side of the ball was clearly heavier than the defensive side of the ball. … obviously we really wanted to grab a playmaker in losing Golden (Tate), just kind of make the staff feel we’ve got another explosive player ready to step in. … if you had said to me what is the No. 1 need I would have said improving the depth on our offensive line, something I never would have said before the draft but that I can say now, right?” He said that led to the selection of Justin Britt in the second round, and that they felt they needed to make sure to get him there since they didn’t have a third-round pick. “I felt like because we weren’t going to pick in the third we needed to grab our highest-rated tackle at the time,” he said. “There was some consteratnion in my mind at the time because you don’t want to be drafting for need, but you have to be cognizant of it, as well.” He noted that Morgan Moses was taken two picks later and Billy Turner three picks later. “He was going to go, so we felt pretty blessed right there to be able to select him,” Schneider said. “That was the one postion, improving the depth on the offensive line.”
— As for trading out of the first round, he said again that the team had Richardson’s name on a card ready to go until the trade worked out with the Vikings. He said there were a couple of teams they were talking to, and noted that there were still other receivers on the board, as well, that would have been attractive options. “We felt like there were some guys that would be there,” he said. “We felt it was worth the risk to garner another pick.”
— As for why they liked Richardson, he said “because of his mental makeup, what he has overcome, what he has meant to the team and his uniqueness, coming off the ball he is a lot like Donald Driver and Doug Baldwin — with his reach he ends up having a 6-4 reach. He really separated himself because he was his whole team.” He also mentioned the presence on the roster of Phil Bates and Chris Matthews, which he said didn’t make it a priority to get a big receiver, saying “we felt like we have big receivers here who are going to compete here.”
— He also reiterated that Richardson could return punts, saying “we’re going to give him a shot. He says he has been working at it.”