Pete Carroll and John Schneider conducted their pre-draft press conference today. Unsurprisingly the subject of pass rushers came up early. A few quotes from Carroll:
“The most difficult talent to find is ‘pass rusher’.”
“We think Clem (Chris Clemons) is a premier pass rusher. He’s a factor. We need to add to that.”
“You never have enough pass rushers, a lot of edge guys in this draft.”
Carroll also noted that pass rushers don’t have to be 6-4 with long arms, at least not for the Seahawks. I think it’s pretty clear – not that it wasn’t already – that the Seahawks are targeting at least one pass rusher early. It’s been clear for a while. Last year’s pre-draft press conferences didn’t give anything away directly, but there was enough honest information to work with. The team wanted to move down – a genuine plea almost to the rest of the league – but nothing materialised. They wanted to get bigger up front on both lines. They talked about other needs and positions the team were linked with, they answered openly. Yet the options seemed clear and Seattle eventually went big on the offensive line by taking James Carpenter and John Moffitt.
This year, the pass rush is almost certainly going to receive a similar focus. The defense needs more pressure up front. Carroll admitted Jason Jones has been brought in to play the three technique and predominantly play through the middle, but accepted it was an area they were still open to improving. But the Jones signing does suggest it’s going to be an outside rusher that will be drafted as the priority. Despite a lot of attention focused on Luke Kuechly or David DeCastro in a lot of mock drafts, the Seahawks appear destined to try and improve the one area holding back the defensive unit from becoming a real force.
Onto other subjects…
John Schneider noted that misinformation between teams began two weeks ago. He complimented members of the front office for identifying team needs and being able to see through the various smokescreens. Pete Carroll was asked about Ryan Tannehill’s work out, he replied by saying he ran well and looked good. He praised his ‘toughness’ after transitioning from receiver. Peter King wrote today about the Seahawks desires for Ryan Tannehill if he falls to #12. He also poured water on the idea Seattle would move up to #7. I wouldn’t expect the Seahawks to draft Tannehill at #12.
Carroll on wide receiver being a need: “It’s hard to pass up a touchdown maker. Anyone who can score touchdowns is big on our board. We have a very competitive group coming back.” For what it’s worth Carroll and Schneider spent time praising the receivers already on the roster.
Earl Thomas was called a “heart and soul guy for this programme” by Carroll. Marshawn Lynch and Michael Robinson were name checked in a similar way on offense. On tight ends, “We think he (Cameron Morrah) is a really good football player. Anthony’s got some really unique aspects. It’s a good, solid position for us.” Carroll also noted they’d still look at the position and again used the ‘touchdown maker’ phrase. I suspect the Seahawks are willing to keep an open mind at receiver and tight end if the value’s there. I also believe Carroll sees a lot of talent at both positions on the roster and that maybe they deserve a further chance to shine this year.
Carroll admitted Brandon Weeden turning 29 this year is an issue and would be a factor in the way the team viewed him. He also said he’s a good football player. It didn’t sound like Seattle will be drafting Weeden.
When talking about finding value late in the draft, Schneider admitted he takes “a lot of pride from the fourth round down.” He also said Kam Chancellor was graded much higher than the 5th round where he was taken. Schneider spent some time talking about the situation at Green Bay with Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn and why the 7th round quarterback beat out the 2nd rounder. Schneider also talked about perceived scheme fit: ”If we see some cool qualities, we’re not saying ‘this is our scheme’. If we like a guy and everyone agrees with it, we’re going to go for it.”
I posted an updated quick-hit mock draft last night. If you missed it, take a look by clicking here.