Secondary the focus as Seahawks take 11 players in NFL draft
RENTON, Wash. (AP) John Schneider and Pete Carroll seem to be preparing for a time when the Seattle Seahawks secondary may not include Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, even if it's likely a few years away.
That was a clear statement from Seattle's 11 selections made over the final two days of the NFL draft. The Seahawks used four of their first eight picks on the secondary, the most they have spent on that position group under the Carroll and Schneider.
And all four of the selections addressed different spots. Seattle took cornerback Shaquill Griffin , strong safety Delano Hill on Friday, and free safety Tedric Thompson and safety Mike Tyson on Saturday. Seattle said Tyson will transition to being a cornerback. The four selections expressed the importance of replenishing and discovering the next generation of the Seahawks' secondary.
''It will be really fun to see how these guys fit in. They're all really competitive guys and great players in their programs. We'll see how they fit in with our guys,'' Carroll said on Saturday. ''But it's a very competitive room and we would not take guys that were not going to be able to handle that. They're going to add to it.''
The secondary was a need because the Seahawks are getting older and more expensive. Chancellor is 29 and entering the last year of his contract. Sherman just turned 29 and has been the subject of trade rumors during the offseason. Thomas is about to turn 28 and coming off a major leg injury that cost him the final month of last season. DeShawn Shead suffered a major knee injury during the playoffs and won't be ready for the start of the season.
Schneider said the focus on the secondary was just how the draft board broke down.
''It was really a defensive back heavy draft and it was just how the board came off. We didn't want to start jumping players. That's when you get in trouble,'' Schneider said.
A look at the rest of the Seahawks draft:
SATURDAY SELECTIONS: Seattle started the day getting Thompson in the fourth round then had a lengthy break until taking Tyson and offensive tackle Justin Senior in the sixth round. Seattle's final picks were wide receiver David Moore from Division II East Central and running back Chris Carson from Oklahoma State in the seventh round.
''When it got to seventh round, I thought I'm just looking for free agency,'' Moore said. ''There was nothing wrong with that, I was just trying to get to a camp, honestly.''
LIKELY TO START: Schneider tried to stay quietest about second-round offensive lineman Ethan Pocic. His versatility and experience could lead to him getting an early look as a starter. With Justin Britt emerging last year as a solid center, Pocic will likely be viewed as a guard or even right tackle option for the Seahawks. And Seattle has not been shy about giving rookies a chance on the offensive line with the likes of Britt, Russell Okung, James Carpenter, J.R. Sweezy, George Fant and Germain Ifedi starting their first year.
BEST VALUE: DT Malik McDowell was considered to have first round talent but questions about effort saw him slide to the second round. Seattle believes it can instill the work ethic McDowell needs to be successful in the NFL. He also won't be 21 years old until June.
''We really think he's so young that we can develop the things that aren't quite right yet,'' Carroll said.
BEST NAME: How do you top Seattle's first sixth-round pick of Tyson? He said it's a regular occurrence he gets asked if he has any relation to the famous boxer of the same name. But Tyson is the third generation of his family to have the name.
''When they ask me `Who is the real Mike Tyson?,' I tell them that both are real,'' Tyson said. ''It's just that he boxes and I play football.''
LINE UP: The idea that Seattle doesn't spend resources on the offensive line is inaccurate. The picks of Pocic and Senior mean the Seahawks have used 17 of 77 draft picks (22 percent) on offensive linemen under Carroll and Schneider. The problem has been too many misses and the few that have been successful have left in free agency.
STILL NEED HELP: Seattle has questions at strongside linebacker and backup quarterback. Backup QB Trevone Boykin has run into legal issues this offseason. The linebacker situation may not be as important as the Seahawks could play five defensive backs more often.
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