John Schneider: “I would like to move back”

John Schneider admits he'd like to trade down, but it's easier to trade up

Seahawks GM John Schneider held the first of two pre-draft press conferences today. It’s Schneider’s second draft with the team, working in partnership with Pete Carroll. You sense this could be a defining off-season, despite the current lockout which may or may not be ended prematurely via an injunction this week. Last year the key task was to hit on two top-15 picks to launch the start of a new era. With mission accomplished in that sense, the Seahawks now face the daunting proposition of following it up despite picking in the late first round.  

The playoff game was very exciting, special stuff, but it makes the building process more challenging.”  

Eric Williams from the Tacoma News Tribune writes that Schneider ‘admitted to cringing a little’ when the Seahawks defeated St. Louis in the final game of the regular season. Defeat would’ve secured the 8th overall selection, instead they could pick no earlier than 21st. The playoff victory over New Orleans essentially earned the 25th overall selection.  

Inevitably the discussion turned to quarterbacks. The Seahawks currently have Charlie Whitehurst contracted for 2011 on a deal worth around $4 million. Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent, as is JP Losman who acted as the team’s third quarterback for most of last season. Nate Davis was released shortly after signing a deal having left the San Francisco 49ers.  

Quarterback is the hardest position to evaluate. It’s not an area you could panic for but not an area you can overlook.”  

It’s a unique year in the quarterback class because the guys available are so different.”  

ESPN’s Mike Sando asked Schneider about Pete Carroll’s ideal for the position, a question he seemingly believed to be about Ryan Mallett. Sando: 

“Schneider apparently thought I was asking whether the slow-footed Ryan Mallett would fit in Seattle’s offense, but I had no one in mind. Schneider: ‘From a pure, uh, I’m reading your mind with this, I’m going to be really careful how I answer this. Pete and (quarterbacks coach) Carl (Smith) coached Drew Bledsoe, who is not a big movement guy, and he had his best season. I don’t know if Pete has ever had a guy that is a big-time runner, huge movement guy. I wouldn’t slam any of the guys he has had. But everybody likes a guy that can move, but a lot of these guys have compensating factors. So the guy that you’re thinking about would be one of those guys that has compensating factors.'”  

Here are some other selected quotes and notes from John Schneider’s press conference:  

Personally, I would like to move back because I have confidence in our ability in the middle rounds to do good stuff and we have a coaching staff that has good teachers and they are excited to have these guys.”  

Schneider admitted it would be easier to trade up in the draft than trade down.  

On the topic of defensive backs, he stated that height was the primary criteria unless a player is versatile enough to play well in different scenarios. I wonder if this brings Brandon Harris (CB, Miami) back into contention at the end of round one. He’s shorter than Seattle would like (5-9) but he’s a better open field tackler than most cornerbacks. Struggles against the tall, physical Malcolm Floyd were slightly over-blown on second viewing.  

He suggested a good draft ultimately means bringing in impact players who keep cohesion in the locker room. Schneider also admitted the hardest part of the evaluation process is to work out how much a player respects the game.  

Charlie Whitehurst will get an opportunity to compete for the starting position. This isn’t a revelation – he’s the only contracted quarterback on the roster at the moment. Schneider: “Did he have his struggles during the season? Sure. I mean he hasn’t played a lot of regular-season games. So, I thought one of the coolest things he did was come into that Arizona game and bring us right down the field. Now, the series didn’t end that great. He threw a ball he’d like to have back. But I’ve been around a three-time MVP that wasn’t a great decision maker early on in his career, but he became a much better decision maker.”  

To be a consistent Championship team, we have to get better.”  

We’d like to be younger. We didn’t have much depth last year. We want a young, tough, smart, fast, aggressive group.”  

On Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Domenik suggesting as many as six quarterbacks could go in round one: “Mark is a good friend of mine and if he was sitting right here, I would say, ‘He’s got a quarterback, so he wants a lot of guys to be taken. He wants the offensive linemen to fall.”  

The Seahawks would like to come away from the draft with at least one defensive and offensive lineman.  

Schneider said discipline would be key and not panicking to get a quarterback. He used the example of Green Bay drafting Aaron Rodgers at #24 in 2005 and the fact they wouldn’t trade up for him. Of course, it’s easier to say things like that when you’re starting quarterback is Brett Favre, who never missed games for the Packers.  

Final thoughts  

The Seahawks were nothing but transparent before the 2010 draft. It was common knowledge they’d gone bowling with Russell Okung after a trip to Texas (presumably to see Earl Thomas among other things). You’re never going to learn that much from these press conferences because teams are not going to gift wrap their plans to the rest of the world ten days before a draft. I suspect, however, that there’s not a great deal of spin here – there merely isn’t a great deal of hard information. Seattle probably would like to trade down for a good price if the options at #25 aren’t ideal. It probably is easier to be aggressive and approach another team about moving up than it is to be on the receiving end of an acceptable deal.  

I thought the response to Mike Sando’s question was interesting if only for the caution with which it was answered. Sando: “Schneider thought long and hard, choosing his words carefully when I asked him to what extent Carroll, as a defensive head coach, has a vision for what he wants in a quarterback. I wanted to know how that vision might differ from the visions an offensive-minded head coach might have for a quarterback.”  

This may be the most interesting portion of the press conference. Clearly the Seahawks have to make the quarterback position a priority. With or without Matt Hasselbeck, this regime’s success or failure will probably be defined by it’s ability to adequately fill the position for 2011 and beyond. They can talk about offensive lineman and defensive lineman – I would wager that the most heated discussions taking place in the front office right now are about the direction at quarterback. Is there a guy in this draft we should invest our faith in? Will we need to trade up? Who among the second tier prospects, if anyone, has that starter potential? What deals can we arrange once a new CBA is complete or a court injunction ends the lockout? These are surely the kind of questions being asked. 

That slightly tentative and guarded response to Sando’s question may hint that it’s a subject that still hasn’t been fully resolved. Maybe they have come to a decision and they just don’t want to give anything away? Of course, as with the other topics, neither would be a surprise. Yet the importance of the decision cannot be underestimated.  

New look for the blog  

You may have noticed the new home page for Seahawks Draft Blog. In future when you click this is where you’ll arrive. It’s a way to push feature articles and a few other things. Of course it also means clicking ‘Blog’ on the new menu bar to arrive at the actual articles. If you want to avoid the homepage and visit the site as you did normally, it’s pretty simple. All you need to do is type into your address bar. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, because I would like as many people as possible to visit the homepage which will continue to develop with new features. Feedback is always appreciated.


  1. ChavaC

    Interesting read but of course the problem is you can’t really take much away from it. Every time I read something like this I find myself balancing the face value of the statements with the reality that no one wants to show their hand. I can’t help but asking myself:
    “If I were a GM, and the guy I liked at QB was in danger of being plucked from under me by a Buf/Cin/Car/Az team trading back up into the first… how could I convince them I’m not interested? How could I get them to stand pat knowing I was the last QB needy team in the first, and convince them they could wait it out? Or at least get them thinking they only had to worry about moving a few picks to jump each other. I could say I wanted to trade down, and get them thinking I was targeting a Ponder/Dalton/Kaepernick who will be there in the middle of the round”
    Who knows, maybe he is wearing his draft plan on his sleeve, but if this were misdirection I don’t think I could have written a better script.

    The new site looks good. My only concern is that, at least at my laptop’s resolution, you have to scroll down a ways to see the articles.

    • Rob

      There’s been a few comments about the new homepage. It might be shelved until after the draft to maintain consistency for this current ‘draft season’. I’m determined to keep improving the blog and making it into a more complete website is the next step, with many new features fronted by the homepage. But there’s a learning curve for sure.

  2. Derek

    I really like the comment that Schneider made about wanting to draft a QB every year, even if they are set at the position, because they can become a commodity. Smart thinking.

    I am sure you have seen the news about Mallet and the Redskins and surely that has to be a smokescreen right?

    I am feeling however that it is less and less likely Mallet or Locker will be there at #25 and if we do covet either of them, a move up is necessary. If either gets past Miami what do you think the odds are that a team will trade back into the 1st in front of us to gram them? Also what do you think of Greg Little out of UNC? Could he be a #1 guy that we could target later on?

    I know your thoughts on trading back and the lack of talent that follows but what if we trade back and target players in the second or third that have 1st round talent but have some concerns i.e. Marvin Austin, Jonathan Baldwin, Greg Little, Phil Taylor, Stephen Paea? Obviously this is risky and none of these players are guaranteed to be where we are picking but just a thought.

    • Rob

      I suspect it will be difficult to get more than one of Austin, Taylor and Paea. It could be that none are available after moving down – Indy may target DT at #22, Chicago will do at #30. Buffalo early in round two should look at DL’s.

      You can get one of those guys for sure at #25 and one of Baldwin or Little – maybe both depending on how far they fall. That’s without a move down. I’m not totally against the idea by any means – there are deals that I would say ‘yes – moving down was a good move’. I just prefer a more pro-active approach this year. Next year, maybe it’s different. There’s a substantial drop off in talent when you get to about #22-23 in round one. I’d rather be inside that area, where a 7-9 team really should be anyway.

      • Derek

        Oh yea definitly I only meant one of the three DL’s. Also, if we do select Austin at #25, what does that do to our chances to resign Mebane? Is Austin someone we would look to pair up with Mebane or replace Mebane?

  3. kevin mullen

    Great read Rob, thank you.

    It’s seems JS is staying true to “Ted Thompson” form, for which I’m hopefull for. Great teams have boring draft picks, I would cite Indy and Pittsburgh as two successful teams picking BPA and being conservative to their respective boards. As much as I would like for the ‘Hawks to make a splash, I just worry more about the gamble.

    it’s said that a successful draft is picking 3 starters out of a possible 7 pick draft. Investing 2 (maybe 3) possible starters to pick one is way too risky for a team in rebuild mde. I understand QB is needed more than any position due to it’s importance, but half the teams in the league need new QB’s and there’s only 4 worthy of 1st round picks.

    Call me boring but I’d rather pick OL/DL favoring BPA…

    • ChavaC

      2010, 7-9, 2nd place -QB
      2009, 1-15, 4th place – OT
      2008, 2-14, 4th place – DE
      2007, 3-13, 4th place – DE

      If you don’t have a quarterback, you can’t compete. It’s as simple as that. We don’t have a quarterback. In my eyes if you pass on getting that guy now, and you can write off the 2011 season. You can probably scrap 2012 too. Personally I’m getting tired of losing seasons.

  4. Kip Earlywine

    If there isn’t an obvious value selection to be had at #25, then I’d applaud a move down.

    If Seattle does not take a QB at #25, then one of the top players on my board at that point would be Phil Taylor, and from what I’ve read just today his stock is sinking fast because of concerns about his foot. Seattle could trade into the 2nd round, get a high 3rd rounder back, and still probably get a player like Taylor or Austin, no problem. I think Baldwin’s going to slip too, we could easily move down and still get him.

    Seattle could then flip that 3rd rounder into a guy like Joseph Barksdale or Orlando Franklin. Or… Seattle could flip that 3rd to move right back up into the 2nd round and have near back-to-back high 2nd round picks, snagging a guy like Danny Watkins.

    I think its important that Seattle is keen on maneuvering in the draft. This was one of the few things I liked about Tim Ruskell, he moved around in the first two rounds and that got him players like Tatupu and Carlson.

    • Derek

      Austin’s stock seems to be on the rise and I doubt he makes it out of the first round. If Mallet or Locker is available at 25 I can’t imagine not selecting them. I would be dumbfounded. I think both offer a long term answer and someone whom we can build around.

      Also I read that Stacy Andrews will be in compettion for RT. Does that look like a promising spot or would a rookie still be better/needed? I feel like we picked up a lot of tackle prospects throughout the year last year.

      • Kip Earlywine

        Austin’s stock is pretty much impossible to predict. He’s got the talent, but he hasn’t proven himself at the college level and there are work ethic/character concerns. Really, the main thing he’s banking on right now is a very good senior bowl week, similar to Nate Solder.

        Solder seems like a likely 1st rounder because this isn’t a great year for offensive tackles and to some front offices even a right tackle is a premium position- plus there are teams who perhaps misguidedly believe they can make a left tackle out of him. By contrast, there is a glut of DTs of similar draft stock to Austin, and I would suspect that most teams, though perhaps not Seattle, would prefer a safer option will slightly less upside. DT is a notoriously bust prone position in the 1st round, and I think teams will be mindful of that- its the same reason Nick Fairley has been slipping for weeks now.

        For that reason, I’m not “calling it”, but I think there is a very solid chance Austin will be there in the early 2nd and an outside shot of being there at #57. Given the risk he presents, I just can’t endorse taking him at #25, but in the #35-40 range or at #57, it’s easier to swallow for me.

        I’d be dumbfounded too if Seattle passes on Locker/Mallett at #25. It could be though that they rate one of the 2nd tier QBs very highly and think they could address QB slightly later. I’m not saying they do, I’m just being open minded to that possibility, even though I hate the thought of it.

        Given that Andrews will be moved to RT, I think it lessens the need but the need is still there, because Andrews hasn’t played tackle in a while now and hasn’t been good for ust as long. Taking a tackle in rounds 2-4 should still be strongly considered if value presents itself.

    • Carl Shinyama

      You don’t think Joseph Barksdale would last until the 4th? I’m really high on him, and would like to get him in the 4th.

      • Kip Earlywine

        I feel the same way. However, I think sometimes, you take a player you believe in before conventional wisdom dictates. For example, most teams and analysts believe that Lofa Tatupu was a 4th or 5th round talent. And yet Seattle paid their 2nd and TWO 4ths to acquire him- considered a monster reach at the time.

        Similarly, considering how overlooked Barksdale is this offseason, it wouldn’t shock me if he lasts until the 5th round. But I wouldn’t complain about taking him even at #57, because I believe he can be a big time right tackle with left tackle potential. He’s got the right size to move to guard if he fails at tackle too. Getting him in the 4th would be great. I just listed him as a 3rd because I believe in him enough to like picking him there.

  5. amattson

    I’m looking forward to your responses for the following thoughts:

    Pick #25 – trade it and the 2012 4th round pick to Eagles for Kevin Kolb
    Pick #57 – Sheard DE from Pitt

    In Free Agency – get Gallery at LG and Satele also from Oakland at C. Play Unger at RG and Andrews at RT and Okung at LT.
    Then get James Joseph as our #1 corner (he’s the second best corner on the market and a lot cheaper than the alternative)

    Now we’re looking pretty solid – our line looks like an nfl line again, we can rush the passer, guard in the secondary and if we could get Sidney Rice, it would be icing on the cake! NFC West Championship, here we come!

    I am looking forward to hearing if the above is realistic though – how much do you think we could afford in the free agent market? Could we afford Kolb, Gallery, and Satele, and Joseph?

    We then wouldn’t have to resign Hasslebeck, so we’d save money there. Looking forward to your thoughts. Do you think Kolb would be the answer (or at least better than any of the rookies?)

    I do. Thanks and Go Hawks!

    • Charlie

      Yeah I hate to burst your bubble, buts it’s pretty unrealistic. #1 we can’t trade picks for kolb, there’s no cba. #2 sheard most likely won’t be around at 57 infact j think rob has him in the first round or high 2nd. #3 landing both gallery and satele seems unlikely to me, most likely just gallery. #4 landing jonathon Joseph and sidney rice and gallery will simply not happen, your talking about one of the top cb FA and WR FA hitting the market in Joseph and rice. Hate to be that pessimistic guy but none of your post is really realistic at all, you can’t fix a team in one year. it’ll be interesting to hear what rob says.

    • Rob

      Thanks to the ideas amattson, an interesting read.

      As mentioned by Charlie, the prospect of trading for Kevin Kolb using this draft is slim. Even if an injunction stops the lockout, I think I read trading players-for-picks is unlikely.

      Jabaal Sheard is a R1 prospect to me, but even if I’m wrong and he drops into round two – I doubt he makes it to #57.

      Gallery has been liked to Seattle a lot. We’ll see what happens there, it’ll depend a lot on who’s available in the draft. Love the idea of getting Joseph and as you say, he’s a very good corner who’s younger than Asomugha and will be cheaper.

      The Seahawks would almost certainly have preferred free agency before the draft and who knows – maybe we’d have spent the #25 already? As it is we’ll have to wait and see what happens. It wouldn’t be ideal trading future first round picks – I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. If they are sold on Kolb, I hope they get the chance to trade using the #25 instead. I’m not sold on the guy – I don’t like his release point at all and he’s been hit and miss for Philly.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Satele was benched and replaced by Cable himself last year, so I’d be surprised if he signed here at the expense of Spencer, who is clearly the better of the two in my opinion.

      Unger is a backup RG at best- he just can’t hold the point of attack and his lack of power is a very poor fit for Cable. Of course, our FO hardly stayed loyal to Alex Gibbs pure ZBS scheme last year, so maybe they’d mismatch scheme once more, this time in the opposite manner.

  6. Don

    The worst thing the Seahawks can do is reach for a QB at #25, and make him a franchise QB when really he isn’t one. You’ve just wasted a high pick. The Seahawks have so many needs that they should pick the BPA at any position. If the franchise QB falls on your lap, and he deserves the title, you take him.

    The best thing the Seahawks can do is ride the Charlie Whitehurst train all season. Let him show us what he can do. The Seahawks either win with him, or lose big time and get in position for the Luck or Barkley Sweepstakes!

    • Rob

      Of course there’s always the chance the Seahawks are a 5-6 win team which will be good enough to put them out of the Luck sweepstakes but still a bad team.

      I absolutely agree you don’t reach for a quarterback, which is why I’d target the guy I want this year and be aggressive to get him.

  7. Jim Q.

    “”””On the topic of defensive backs, he stated that height was the primary criteria unless a player is versatile enough to play well in different scenarios””””.

    Speaking of CB versatility, would the following players qualify as versatile to the Seahawks?

    Aaron Williams, CB/S, Marcus Gilcrest, CB/S, Chris Culliver, CB/S.

    I think Williams may go late 1-st to early 2-nd. (probably gone by #57).
    Gilcrest may go somewhere in the late 3-rd. or possibly early 4-th (pick #99?) Culliver will likely go in the late 4-th to late 5-th. (156?)

    It would seem to me that getting a player that can play a set position as well as back up at a different possition has some good value. Almost (but not quite) a two for one pick? Maybe?

    • Rob

      It’s an interesting proposition, Jim. I’m not a big Aaron Williams fan – I have him as a R2/3 prospect.

  8. Matt

    And I think Peter King is officially on drugs. Saying the Titans “should pick Dalton at 8,” and states, “he will be the best QB from this draft.”

    Just making sure I don’t lose a grip on reality or my sanity, but what are people seeing? Literally nothing impressive about this kid minus his W-L record, which obviously was squarely on him, not his amazing defense and dog crap schedule.

    • Rob

      The first question you ask is: How much college football does Peter King watch? I’m guessing very little. He’s relying on what he’s been ‘told’. Secondly, he was all over Colt McCoy last year in round one. We all know what happened there.

      • Matt

        I just have a serious fear that he may be picked by us. Call me paranoid but you provide me some sanity regarding this matter. My gut says the increased chatter regarding Dalton is simply a smoke screen. Can’t see how anybody wants to bet a first rounder on this guy.

        • Rob

          I’m completely confident it won’t happen.

      • plyka

        King has admitted that he watches zero college football.

  9. PatrickH

    I wonder if Schneider’s comment about Whitehurst competing to start means that they will not trade for Kevin Kolb (when free agency starts again). One would think that, if they pay a price to bring Kolb in, then he is guaranteed to be the starter ahead of Whitehurst, and there wouldn’t be any QB competition.

    • Rob

      I suspect that the comments about Whitehurst mean little. After all, if they say he’s not there to compete – they might as well cut him. I’m guessing that a new starter will be signed at one point this off season.

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