RENTON — While most of the league was sweating out picks and possible deals Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks were celebrating.
In their eyes, the Seahawks’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft played for Seattle last season.
“Our No. 1 pick is Jamal Adams, and that’s a heck of a pick,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He had a really good year leading into getting drafted by us No. 1, and it would have cost us another No. 1 to get that done, that incredible of a football player we saw last year, and we’re really excited about the future, too.”
Barring a trade, Seattle won’t draft in the first round again until 2023 after surrendering a pair of first-round selections last summer when it acquired Adams from the New York Jets. It was a bold move, but Carroll was correct. Because of Seattle’s consistency every season during Carroll’s tenure, the Seahawks don’t expect to be in a position to select a player near the top of the draft with the potential impact of Adams.
And while it took a while to figure out the best role for Adams, the strong safety ended up having a major impact on the defense. Adams finished the year with 9 ½ sacks and 93 tackles in just 12 regular-season games.
“He’s a great player,” general manager John Schneider said. “We’re glad we made the trade to get him, and he’s going to be a very important part of our future.”
Seattle will get to work in the draft Friday, beginning with just three selections and the first coming at No. 56 overall in the second round. It’s a paltry number of picks for a team that has built much of its roster it previous years through the draft process.
Schneider felt if there was ever a year to be thin in selections and rely heavily on free agency, this was it. Seattle is traditionally meticulous in its draft evaluations and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, could not be as thorough as in the past.
“When you look at this draft, in particular, we had to ask ourselves what kind of questions are we going to have answered by the time we get to next spring? What’s that going to look like? And things just felt too hazy,” Schneider said.
There are still needs for Seattle that can be addressed with its limited picks. One of the primary areas would be alongside Adams in the defensive backfield. Cornerback, wide receiver and interior offensive line appear to be the clear needs for Seattle to try to address during the draft.
Seattle signed cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and traded for guard Gabe Jackson during free agency, but both are areas where Seattle could benefit from more depth. And there are just three proven wide receivers on the roster.
If the Seahawks were trying to acquire more picks, dealing the second-round selection and moving back would be their best bet.
“We’re not going into the draft with great needs, big spaces we need to fill and all that, because of the great work the personnel department put together to get ourselves in position to situate the roster,” Carroll said. “We’re in a really good place. We feel really good about that now. Hopefully, we’ll get some help in all of that.”