Seahawks go from following others to setting the example
RENTON, Wash. (AP) When Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in Seattle in 2010, one of their first tasks was deciding who they wanted the Seahawks to become.
They had ideas and ideals for the qualities of the players they wanted to keep and those they wanted to acquire.
And the duo had a model they wanted to follow for finding players that were tough, physical, accountable and could hold up to the challenge of playing on Carroll's team.
''When Pete and I got together at the time the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry was really like the, I mean, those guys, they were clearly the two most physical teams in the National Football League,'' Schneider said. ''And I remember when we came here we were like, `We are not. That's where we have to be. That's the standard, we have to get there. We have to get smart, tough, reliable football players and we have to be able to field a team that is going to be able to play you anywhere, no matter what kind of weather you are playing in.' That really kind of started it.''
The pair began their sixth draft together on Thursday evening, expected to sit around and wait. Seattle traded its first-round pick, No. 31 overall, to New Orleans as part of the trade that brought tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks.
When Seattle does get around to making its first scheduled selection at No. 63 overall on Friday - the next-to-last pick of the second round - it will have priorities. Seattle needs to find at least a couple of offensive linemen after the losses of Max Unger and James Carpenter and will likely address depth on the defensive line and in the secondary.
And they'll be trying to find a competitive trait that fits with what the Seahawks are trying to accomplish and is sometimes the most difficult attribute to judge in a college player.
''We're constantly in a self-evaluation state of mind and I think it really never stops,'' Schneider said. ''It's 24/7 all the time and then just praying you're going to make the correct decision and Pete and I are going to make the right decisions as we go.''
Early in their tenure, one of the strengths of the Schneider-Carroll duo was finding players in the draft as well as undrafted free agents who felt they were being undervalued or overlooked and would enter the NFL with something to prove. Seattle scored with the likes of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and others.
While that remains a priority for Seattle's brass, especially as those overlooked players are now cashing in with big contracts that are taking a bite out of the Seahawks' salary cap space, there is a new element that the Seahawks have had to take into account. For those they are adding to the roster, do they have the toughness - both mental and physical - to hold up to being challenged by the likes of Sherman and others?
Not every pick Seattle has made has handled that stress. But that doesn't mean the Seahawks have adjusted the standard.
''You saw their confidence really skyrocket and then what happens is when you are studying your team and trying to figure out your team you have to know that is the standard. And you have to keep trying to acquire guys like that,'' Schneider said. ''There's no golden wand or anything to just put it in somebody and find out what they have in their heart, what's going to drive them and what's going to be their passion.''
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