RENTON — In their long tenure as the brain trust of the Seattle Seahawks, John Schneider and Pete Carroll have never experienced the exhilaration of owning a pick this high on the draft board.
Thank you, Denver, for your terrible 2022 season after acquiring Russell Wilson and sending a bounty of picks back to the Seahawks.
“Everybody’s very excited about the fifth pick, so we have a lot of general managers in this building right now and head coaches,” Schneider said.
One of the most important drafts of the Schneider-Carroll regime arrives next week with Seattle holding picks in places the Seahawks simply have not had the opportunity to draft because of their success for most of the past 13 seasons.
Seattle has five picks in the first 83 selections beginning with No. 5 overall, looking to supplement a roster that last season was good enough to surprise most of football and earn a wild-card berth in the NFC playoffs. Seattle is also scheduled to pick at Nos. 20, 37, 52 and 83.
Last year’s draft appears likely to be considered a smashing success for Seattle by landing the likes of starting offensive linemen Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, running back Kenneth Walker III and cornerback Tariq Woolen.
Hit on another draft this time, especially with those early selections, and Seattle could be on the cusp of having talent depth able to do more than just slip into the postseason.
“I think what’s exciting about this, you get the first challenge coming up at five and then we get a whole other one at 20 and then day two, we’ll come right back again,” Carroll said. “Those three big events of those early picks it kind of comes back to us in a hurry and makes it really fun and a challenge. A lot of scenarios and more so than normal.”
The uncertainty about Seattle surrounds what it’ll do at No. 5. This is not an place in the draft Seattle knows well, having made only two picks in the top 10 during the Carroll-Schneider regime. Both those times, Seattle used the pick on a left tackle — Russell Okung in 2010 and Charles Cross last year.
Much of the attention entering this draft has focused on the quarterbacks that could be available to Seattle at No. 5, potentially as a developmental option behind Geno Smith. More likely would be a defensive player such as Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson or Jalen Carter.
And always a possibility with Schneider at the controls is a trade that could slide Seattle back a little bit in the first round and possibly stack some more second- and third-day selections onto the Seahawks’ plate.
Seattle owned No. 20 and No. 52 picks as its natural selections, but picked up Nos. 5 and 37 from Denver in the Wilson trade. Seattle also has an extra fifth-round pick, No. 151, from Pittsburgh.
Seattle is locked in with Smith likely for the next couple of seasons as the starting quarterback. But the Seahawks made a point of visiting and meeting with all the top quarterbacks expected to be available at the top of the draft.
It seems unlikely the Seahawks will go with quarterback at No. 5 with needs elsewhere, but Schneider and his staff have done their research in case the possibility develops.
Most of Seattle’s moves in free agency have gone toward a makeover on the defensive side. Seattle signed defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed, safety Julian Love, linebacker Devin Bush and brought back Bobby Wagner, one of the best defensive players in franchise history.
The two areas Seattle hasn’t specifically addressed in free agency and is likely to look at in the draft is the pass rush and the interior defensive line. The Seahawks ranked eighth in the league in sacks last season with 45, but the consistency of the pass rush was absent. Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor both had 9½ sacks, but only one other player had more than 5½.
Seattle has two elite wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and a burgeoning star in Walker.
The depth at those skill positions behind that trio is extremely thin.
Seattle has unsuccessfully tried to find a permanent solution for its No. 3 wide receiver for several years, especially as former second-round pick Dee Eskridge has struggled with injuries. Last year’s No. 3 receiver was Marquise Goodwin, who signed with Cleveland in free agency.
Equally unsettling for Seattle is the depth behind Walker. Deejay Dallas is the only other running back currently on the Seahawks roster and as Seattle has shown in the past it needs depth at the position.