Schneider: Seahawks Attempted to Trade Down Before Drafting Jordyn Brooks
SEATTLE, WA - For the first couple of hours on Thursday night, the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft had gone according to plan for the Seahawks and general manager John Schneider.
Even after the Jaguars drafted edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson with the 20th overall selection, three of the top defensive ends remained on the board. In addition, quarterback Jordan Love hadn't been selected, giving Schneider a strong bargaining chip looking to trade down from pick No. 27.
Teams hadn't been very active moving up and down the board, as just two trades had been made before the Dolphins were on the clock at pick No. 26. Picks came in early and often with few surprises.
"I was very surprised," Schneider told reporters after the conclusion of the round. "I thought that more people would do things... It felt like things would just keep coming off [as expected]."
As Seattle's pick drew closer, Schneider looked to be in the driver's set with an offer on the table with Green Bay, his former employer. Both franchises have agreed to first-round trades each of the past two years and it seemed they were destined to make it a three-peat.
"We were prepared. Our guys, Scott Fitterer and Matt Thomas, who turns in the trades, and Matt Berry, who turns in the name. I was speaking with [Packers general manager] Brian Gutekunst too."
But the NFL is a business and though Schneider holds his former organization in high regard, Gutekunst simply found a better deal. With Love still on the board, they leaped over the Seahawks to grab their heir apparent for Aaron Rodgers, striking a deal with the Dolphins instead.
"He was cool, he was like 'hey, sorry man, we got a better deal' and all the sudden, they were on the clock," Schneider chuckled. "It happens."
A bit blindsided by Green Bay's jump to draft Love, Seattle found itself in a suddenly precarious spot trying to negotiate a trade down as planned. Without another first-round caliber quarterback available, the offers simply weren't there.
A few teams were reportedly looking to trade back into the first round, including the Broncos, but a deal never materialized. For the first time since 2011, Schneider and the Seahawks selected a player with their native first-round pick, making the unexpected selection of Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
Though linebacker isn't considered one of Seattle's greatest positions of need, coach Pete Carroll reiterated that the team's efforts to improve during free agency positioned them to draft the best player available. After being blown away by Brooks at the the combine, it wasn't a difficult choice.
"He was awesome," Carroll remarked. "Confident, clear, got a plan, knew how to express to us what was important to him - he was clear about all of that. He just really was on point."
One of the top tacklers in all of college football last season, Brooks slid inside after playing outside linebacker his first three seasons for the Red Raiders. He produced 108 tackles and 20 tackles for loss in just 11 games, earning Second-Team All-American honors.
Growing up, Brooks idolized Seahawks star Bobby Wagner, modeling his game after the five-time Pro Bowler. Now teammates, Carroll indicated Wagner already reached out to him wanting the rookie's phone number to text him.
Interestingly, Brooks played his senior season for coach Matt Wells, who came from Utah State and was on the coaching staff when Wagner played for the Aggies.
"I'm excited. This is a blessing from God," Brooks said. "Bobby is some I really have looked up to since he entered into the league. He's been one of the best linebackers in the league, so to get a chance to learn from him, play beside him, feed off of him, pick his brain, I think it's an incredible opportunity for me."
With six rounds left in the draft and at least six more draft choices left to make, Schneider and the Seahawks will quickly turn the page after missing out on a first-round trade down opportunity. But even if their original plan didn't formalize as hoped, Carroll is thrilled with the player they selected and believes he can make an immediate impact for the team.
"Our guys look players that will demonstrate that it really matters to them. That's what they're really looking for and how they demonstrate that by their hard work and their effort and their sincerity and all that. This kid is gonna - our guys are just gonna embrace him immediately - he just comes from the right stuff."