Carroll & Schneider pre-draft press conference

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.


  1. Jacob Stevens

    Did he elaborate on why the 7th rounder beat out the 2nd rounder?

  2. Other Other Ben

    Carroll on what he needs to see in pass rusher: “Speed is really important. …there’s a makeup, there’s a fit. …It’s very hard to find.”

  3. Darin

    These guys have something up their sleeve, they aren’t content with just 6 picks.

    Rob, Mayock has said he wouldn’t be surprised if Upshaw falls out of the first round and if Jones goes between 10-20. Any chance the Hawks are one of the teams that have liked Jones for a long time? I know you are wary of the late riser, but I really like the kids length and ability to grow into a 280 lbs nightmare off the edge.

  4. Other Other Ben

    Here’s a link to the audio of the press-conference (via Fieldgulls). The question about pass-rushers starts at approximately 19:25 in the feed:

  5. Rob

    Jacob – He did, but it went on for a while and I struggled to transcribe.

    Other Other Ben – Sure speed is important.

    Darin – I’d be surprised. And Mayock was singing Upshaw’s praises to the max at the Senior Bowl, so maybe he’s listening too hard to certain sources. It doesn’t mean he’ll be the pick at #12, but I’ll be surprised if he drops as far as everyone thinks.

  6. james

    Let me start by saying I love what you do here Rob, (and gang,) but I really think you missed the mark on this interpretation. Any chance you had access to the transcript only?

    First, the comments on the pass rush seemed as close to placating as it gets, as the questions posed were almost laughably unanswerable pre-draft. If anything, I got that they were both a little annoyed at the presumptuous nature of those questions. They went out of their way to remind folks that they might be surprised come draft day.

    Sure smokescreens exist but enthusiasm is tough to fake. I think PC faked it on the coples/ingram comparison. They sure didn’t sound like they were faking it when talking about the 6′ 4″ speedy TD maker.

    I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Floyd is the pick at 12 if they can’t move down.

  7. Bobby Cink

    As far as touchdown makers are concerned, what do you think of Orson Charles, Rob? Do you think that pick could potentially be good value in round 3?

  8. Jacob Stevens

    Now that I’ve been able to listen, it sounds like both Schneider & Carroll allude to confidence being critical and teams & circumstances can undermine that.

  9. John_s

    If Courtbey Upshaw is the pick it won’t be super excited but I will be content. I have faith that PC would be able to put him in positions to win his battles. Do I see him as an every down player not really but he can be a consistent player who would not make the team worse. Not necessarily the guy I would take with a high pick though.

    I think someone compared Upshaw to Lamarr Woodley. Coming out Woodley ran 4.62 40, 38″ vert and 4.42 short shuttle compared to Upshaws 4.77 27.5 vert and 4.97 short shuttle so there should not really be any comparison.

  10. MJ

    Upshaw and Woodley have similar playing styles. I wouldn’t get too hung up on the underwear olypmic numbers. Both guys are shorter, power guys who don’t fit the prototype pass rusher, which is why they people make the comparison.

    Personally, I hate all comparisons. Easiest way to make a terrible pick or evaluation. As soon as you make a comparison, people tend to get tunnel vision on what they see to justify it. Dangerous game. I bet the best evaluativors in the business avoid that practice.

  11. John_s

    Problem with that though is that Woodley would have the better burst off the edge and the shuttle shows the hip flexibility to be able to turn and cover. Not saying that he does, but #’s lend to something.

    Comparisons are great for the fans me included to kind of get a gauge on the type of NFL player the guy could be.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the Hawks will do in the second and /or third rounds. You know JS is chomping to get back in the 4th round and additional picks later in the draft.

  12. Charlie

    @John S

    Woodely ran a 4.74. Not sure where you are getting these numbers.

  13. MJ

    John_s – I didnt mean to imply that the #s are worthless. But as a clear example of discrepancy, the respective 40 times for Kendall Wright and Michael Floyd at the combine…on the field, it’s a totally different story.

    I guess the point is that nobody thought Upshaw would blow up the 40 yd dash. What gets lost, is that he does have good short area burst (on tape, LSU game has several examples) and his game is not predicated on speed. He’s a power/leverage player. Not to mention, he’s comfortably in the 270s and ran in the 4.7s. That is very impressive for that weight.

    I am not trying to convert anybody’s opinion, but the constant argument against Upshaw is tantamount to focusing on Albert Pujols poor ability to steal bases. That’s not his game. I’d rather have people focus on why his power/leverage won’t translate. A similar argument could be made against speed guys, everybody in the NFL is faster.

  14. SeattleAztec

    Regarding pass rushers, I think you left out one of the major things said in this press conference. When asked what they NEED in a pass rusher, PC said speed is essential. I’ve been banging that drum since he said it at the first off-season conference and is one of the main reasons I don’t think Upshaw will be the pick like Rob and Kip have been suggesting. I’m not saying they won’t pick Upshaw for the sole reason of him being on the slower side, but because he isn’t a speed rusher and doesn’t bring a lot of speed to the field.

  15. Lenny253


    Lets say the hawks do pick up Upshaw, will KJ be moved to our long term Mike? Also do you think KJ can be a better MLB compared to Kuechly, Wagner, or kendericks? I guess if we pick Upshaw are Core would be Upshaw- Sam. KJ- Mike and Hill- Will. In the Upshaw scenario we would be taking care of two needs with 1 player. With that said, I believe we would be done with the DL and LB unit for this draft considering we added Jones and Rudd for depth earlier in the year. If our Will in the long term is a concern we could address that in 2013. This leaves quite alot of flexibility in rds 2-4.

  16. Curlin

    MJ, not sure I agree with the Pujols comparison … completely different. A lack of speed in the NFL impacts just about everything he’ll be asked to do … rushing the passer, tackling running backs, coverage … everything. It absolutely does matter. Certainly it’s just one of many pieces of the pie and it doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t be a good player, but it does make it less likely, so you can’t punt it aside quite like that either.

  17. MJ

    Curlin – I agree with your general sentiment, but once again, Upshaw runs in the 4.7s and had no problems with speed in the SEC. Not trying to convert anybody, it just gets tiring to read about Upshaw as if he is running a 7 second 40. He didn’t seem to have concerns with speed on the field (sure, he wasn’t the blazer). If he consistently has to run a 40 in a straight line during the season, with no thought before, during, or after, then I’d say we need 11 new guys on defense. It’s unfortunate that the combine has taken precedent over what a player does during the season, on the field.

    And yes the Pujols analogy was stupid. It was meant to be a simplistic comparison because unfortunately you cannot go any deeper than that on this board anymore (that’s not a shot at you, I just have been struggling this year with people taking off with one part of a statement and misconstruing it).

  18. MJ

    Curlin – Just to reiterate, that wasn’t meant to be a shot at you, I just get frustrated at how the combine and workouts in spandex have so much value now. To go with another baseball analogy, it’s like watching a guy in BP and basing your evaluation on that over 600 at bats during the season.

    I do value your opinion, I would just rather have the speed issue be brought up because of game film, not a workout.

  19. Swamp_fox

    I believe it was Colin Powell who said you have to “Hire people for their strengths, not their lack of weaknesses.”

    Looking back at Ruskell’s picks (Lawrence “Safe as Sears” Jackson and Aaron Curry topping the list) there is a pervasive feeling of ‘high floor’ guys that clearly fell flat. I feel so much better with this FO’s ability to gun for strengths instead of picking ‘defensively’ for safe picks.

    Trust your scouting and put the money on the table, gentlemen. It’s time to let it ride.

  20. MJ

    Swamp fox – Amen. That’s what I love about this FO. They view the draft as an opportunity to get better, not a chance to screw up. Almost like a job interview. Some people get so worried about what bad can happen rather than the great opportunity that lies ahead. Cliche, but really is true.

  21. FWBrodie

    I don’t even think there’s any proof that Upshaw couldn’t do well in coverage relative to what any SLB would be asked to do. I’ve seen several accounts from people with access to the real tape that have been totally comfortable with Upshaw dropping into coverage including Mike Mayock and more recently the guys over at Yahoo. I’ve seen Upshaw cover a lot of ground in the flats chasing down QB’s and RB’s and I know that he is both instinctive and intimidating. Do you think a RB slip[ping out into the flat wants any part of catching the football if they know Upshaw is out their roaming that zone? I guarantee they don’t. Would we have ever expected Chad Brown or Leroy Hill or Lofa to cover Tony Gonzalez 1 on 1 all game? Of course not, any coach who did would have gotten his team crushed and would deserve to be fired. It’s a non issue when you consider everything else that Upshaw brings to the table. A player that is as powerful and disruptive on the line of scrimmage as Upshaw and also has the ability to lockdown the best NFL TE’s and RB’s in man coverage either does not exist or is extremely rare. It’s such a lame excuse to dismiss this player. You want him up on the LOS doing his thing anyway.

    Here’s the Yahoo report on Upshaw that I referenced:

  22. Madmark

    I still think its Dont Hightower. He can run in the complex schemes Seattle runs and no one even talking about him. I bet he’ll be going in the between 15-20.

  23. A. Simmons

    There’s that word speed again. Speed and pass rush. Speed is the reason I think Upshaw is lower on their board. They want a guy that can fly. No squirrely, athletic QBs running off like Alex Smith. Track them down with speed and bring them down.

  24. Kip Earlywine

    Here is a link to the video of the press conference:

    Something I noticed from the video, at 13:15..

    Pete talks about how pass rushers are so hard to find and how they need to be big and fast. Then John Schneider turns to Carroll, and with a facial expression that is clearly sarcastic, says: “and really athletic.” In other words, he was pretty much scoffing at the idea that a pass rusher had to be a top tier athlete.

    Upshaw of course, is probably the least athletic option among the top pass rushers.

  25. Kip Earlywine

    There was also a part, somewhere in the first 13 minutes or so, where Pete talks about how many unusual players are already on the defense that don’t fit a prototypical role (Clemons, Browner, Red, etc). He then followed that up by saying (paraphrasing) “we might surprise you with some of our picks.” To me, both of those statements once again point to Upshaw, as Upshaw doesn’t fit a prototypical role and outside of this blog hasn’t been talked about at all for the Seahawks.

  26. A. Simmons

    They did talk about Kam not being taken earlier by another team because he wasn’t considered fast enough, yet having him higher rated on their board because they felt his game speed was much faster than the underwear olympics.

    Here is what I believe they are looking and why. Last year we got burned with RBs running the edges. But I don’t think that is as big a conern. Their biggest concern is we got burned by athletic QBs. Red, Branch, and Mebane were great at stuffing the run. But once the QB left the pocket away from Chris Clemons, they extended plays and killed us. Smith was doing this. Skelton. Andy Dalton. Almost any QB with any athleticism moved away from Clemons and outran our pass rush by leaving the pocket extending plays.

    So what does the pass rusher that we’re looking for have to do well: track and bring down a QB once he leaves the pocket. That’s what we’re lacking. We have penetration. Red penetrated a lot. He beat his blocking. Mebane held his position in the middle. Clemons beat his man or at least maintained contain on his side.

    But up the middle didn’t do their job when they got through. Not fast enough to get to the QB. And contain on Red’s side was absent. Once Red got by, the QB would run to his right and evade Red extending the play. OC’s started to use this weakness against us with athletic QBs that can throw on the run. There are more and more of them coming into the league as mobility for the QB is becoming more important.

    So we need a guy that is fast and fluid enough to make the kill once that QB starts to move. I mean on fast QBs like Jake Locker or Cam Newton. Seattle is looking for a guy that is fast enough, strong enough, and vicious enough to track a QB down once he’s been flushed from the pocket and bring him down or at least force him to throw quickly rather than scramble around extending the play until a receiver is open. It’s all about shortening the time a QB has to make a play. That’s why speed, including change of direction, will be absolutely vital to the choice they make.

    • Rob

      James – I did watch the press conference, but a second opinion is always welcome.

      Bobby Cink – He and Dwayne Allen could be options. Also, don’t rule out Michael Egnew.

      John_S – The style of play is similar. Just because a player runs .10 seconds slower doesn’t rule out a comparison.Like MJ says though, comparisons are tough to project. And I’ve just seen Charlie’s post suggesting Woodley ran a similar forty.

      SeattleAztec – speed may well be crucial. We’ll find out on Thursday. Upshaw is liked though, and more than some speed rushers in this class.

      Lenny – I think Wright would be moved if they go that route.

      A.Simmons – even if they don’t take him, Upshaw isn’t low on the board. I would also say what you’ve just described about getting to the athletic QB when he leaves the pocket – sounds very Upshaw-esque. See: 3 sacks vs Cam Newton in 2010. It’s one of the things he does very well.

  27. SeattleAztec

    Kip I think you’re missing big time on what Carroll and Schneider are saying because of your infatuation with Upshaw. I don’t want to be rude that’s just the feel I get. When Schneider said “And really athletic” (and after Carroll agrees) I get the feel he DID mean pass rushers have to be athletic, almost like it’s one of the most common things brought up of pass rushers. Furthermore, you once again missed one of the main things he was saying he wants out of pass rushers – speed. Speed speed speed. Schneider even does a Homer Simpson voice and goes “Mmmmm. Speeeed”. Then Carroll goes on to say how pass rushers don’t have to be tall or have long arms and that the Colts have had good success with speed/high motor guys (hey, wasn’t a pass rusher in this draft just compared to a great Colts pass rusher…). All of this, along with valuing unique players, says we’re most interested in Melvin Ingram than Upshaw IMO.

  28. Rob

    I think it’s a bit harsh to accuse Kip of infatuation on Upshaw. He’s admitted several times there would be other players he’d rather draft. He’s merely being objective on the possibility he could be the pick.

  29. Phil

    If my memory serves me right, in our 2 games vs. SF, we sacked Alex Smith twice. Yet, I seem to recall that he was the most sacked QB in the league last year. So, why the disparity? Why were other teams able to get to him more successfully than we were? I think A. Simmons is right. In the games against SF, we let Smith roam out of the pocket and then he could avoid our pass rush and extend the play.

    The road to the Superbowl is going to run right through the Bay Area for the next few years. We need to focus specifically on what we need to do to win in our division, and improving the pass rush is #1 on my needs list. (Improved QB play would be #2 — TJack was sacked 9 times in those 2 games. I blame him for most of the sacks because he just holds the ball too long. But, I digress …)

    I heard Saban in an interview several months ago speaking about how he and his staff choose who to recruit from the hundreds of highly skilled high schoolers who would like to play at Alabama. He said that the key was to focus on what the specific need is, and not on what the skills of the various players are. So, I’m trying to tell myself to stop looking at Upshaw (for example) and to focus on the need. (Easier said than done.) As Rob has said, the Seahawk pick might not be Upshaw, but it’s almost sure to be a pass rusher.

  30. Clayton

    Chargers wanting to move up, Seattle to oblige and pick up extra picks? Since the Seahawks and the Chargers were recent trade partners (Charlie Whitehurst) what are the odds they strike another deal for the Chargers to move up to 12 and select Mark Barron and have the Seahawks move down, acquire extra picks and still address the pass rush.

  31. Clayton

    Based on the Draft value chart we could essentially pick up an extra 3,4 and a 5th if we did not ask for their 2nd. This is based on a trade with the Chargers to drop from 12 to 18 so they could select Mark Barron. I would jump on this..

  32. Rob

    Any trade down the board will come down to who’s available at #12 and whether the Seahawks can’t live without a certain player. Most fans in 2010 would’ve said they’d prefer a trade down for extra picks than take Earl Thomas. Now, nobody would trade that pick. Could be the same case here. And before people say there’s no Earl Thomas in this class… Thomas was projected as a late first rounder by a lot of people in 2010, and a top-10 pick by others. Worth remembering.

  33. Rob

    Schneider said he is set on two players who will be “very attractive” for his team at 12. He feels like he’ll have a chance to draft at least one, though he wouldn’t offer an identity. What he doesn’t know is if a team will leap ahead of him and nab his guy. He’s ready if that happens, though.

    Could be the two we’ve talked about all along.

  34. Clayton

    Agreed, if Ingram, Coples and Upshaw slip and are available at 12, I think Seattle would pull the trigger to trade down around San Diego (18) to load up on Draft Picks for this and next year.

  35. Jazz

    I think its ridiculous people focus so much on the word speed and they are not looking at legit quantifiable measures to accurately look at someones game speed. Are we really so dumb that we can’t see that the 40 is not an accurate measure of how quick someone is on a field where the average area that needs to be covered on any given play is 10 to 15 yard bursts at most and often 5 yards is the difference between making a play and not. Unless your trying to quantify a running backs ability to break away or a wide receivers deep threat ability looking at the 40 yard dash is pretty stupid. Upshaw has speed to make tackles and get sacks its like a good rebounder in basketball. I personally am not sold on Upshaw to the Seahawks but at least try and use a little logic when your analyzing football, I think MJ is spot on, don’t sugar coat it MJ.

  36. AlaskaHawk

    I like having the data out of the conbine and think speed and power is important. What the combine doesn’t measure is football sense, toughness, and tackling ability. Based on combine we would pick Nick Perry who is fast and bench presses better than most 300+ pound linemen. Based on effort I would take Upshaw. Based on potential I would take Coples. Based on flexibility to play different positions I would take Ingrams. Based on the draft I would take BPA.

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