Seattle has a history of moving down to add picks, and with only four selections in the 2019 NFL draft, Seahawks GM John Schneider is ready to deal.
General manager John Schneider came up with a temporary solution for the anxiety he felt while looking over the Seattle Seahawks depleted 2019 NFL draft board.
“Right now we’re looking at 11 picks in 2020, but we have four right now [in 2019] and I just spent the weekend looking at our board like, that’s not cool,” he told 710 ESPN Seattle last week. “So I ended up putting a Duane Brown tag in our second spot because it’s just, like, all empty in the second round and it makes me sick to my stomach to look at that. I look at it every day, so I was like, can we please put a Duane Brown sticker up there?”
The sticker reminds Schneider that at least one of the Seahawks’ missing draft picks is already being put to good use — Seattle gave up its 2019 second-rounder as part of the 2017 trade with the Houston Texans for Brown, the team’s starting left tackle — but it doesn’t change the fact that they’ll enter this draft with a league-low four selections: a first (No. 21 overall), third (No. 84), fourth (No. 124) and fifth (No. 159). Seattle gave up its sixth- and seventh-rounders in last summer’s trades for backup quarterback Brett Hundley and safety Shalom Luani, respectively.
For a GM whose M.O. has been to make as many picks as possible, only having four of them is not going to sit well. Nor is it going to stay that way, in all likelihood.
Seattle’s 86 selections over nine drafts under Schneider and Pete Carroll are second most in that span behind the San Francisco 49ers‘ 88. The Seahawks’ total averages to a little more than 9.5 selections per year. Only once under Schneider and Carroll have the Seahawks selected fewer than nine players (eight in 2015).
And as any follower of the team is well aware, the Seahawks have either traded down in the first round or out of it entirely in five of the past seven drafts. The other two times — 2013 and 2015 — Seattle had given up its first-rounder in pre-draft trades for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham, respectively.
And those are just the trades involving their first-round pick. All told, the Seahawks have moved down 13 times in pick-for-pick trades on draft day under Carroll and Schneider. They’ve moved up in such deals five times.
So there’s an obvious desire to acquire more picks and an extensive history of trading down to get that done. Add it up and there’s probably a better chance of Le’Veon Bell winning the Grammy for best debut rap album than there is of the Seahawks drafting only four players this year.
“It’s safe to say, but it’s a darn good draft, so I could see a very good player being there for us at 21,” Schneider said when asked if he’ll try to add selections. “And the other part of it is, everybody’s like, ‘Well, they always like to go back.’ You have to find a partner. You have to negotiate within a specific amount of time. So it’s not like an easy thing just to move back.”
Schneider’s comment about potentially staying put at 21 shouldn’t be dismissed as a GM trying to avoid the perception that he’s desperate to move back.
There are usually far fewer than 32 players with first-round grades in the eyes of the majority of NFL teams. But if this draft is as strong as Schneider says it is, then there could be a first-round talent still available at 21, someone who’s too good to pass up.
And as Schneider noted, it takes two to trade.
Luckily for the Seahawks, there are a few teams who could have interest in that 21st pick. A poll of NFL Nation reporters identified the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars as possibilities. ESPN’s Dan Graziano mentioned the Patriots (who own the 32nd pick) and Eagles (25th) atop his list of the teams most likely to move up. New England has 12 selections, tied for most in the league, and a need at tight end to replace Rob Gronkowski. The Seahawks and Patriots have traded with each other four times since 2010, so there’s a history of dealmaking between their front offices.
Something else to keep in mind is that teams can trade future compensatory picks. Schneider’s mention of having 11 selections in 2020 includes a projected four compensatory picks. According to OverTheCap.com, Seattle is in line for comp picks in the third (Earl Thomas), fourth (Justin Coleman), sixth (Shamar Stephen) and seventh (Hundley) rounds.
The Seahawks could use that future draft capital to add to their 2019 collection of picks.
“So yeah, we’d love to pick more than four times, though,” Schneider said. “It’s just going to be, how do you do it? It’s going to be a challenge this year because like I said, the depth, the way we see it, is pretty good.”
ESPN NFL Nation reporters Jeff Legwold, Mike Reiss, Tim McManus and Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.