As is their custom, the Seahawks fell back out of the first round, but now have 10 picks Friday and Saturday from a talent pool that looks surprisingly rich.
It may be some sort of religious ritual, or perhaps a superstition, possibly a simple bar dare, seeing if the Seahawks can stay in contention by avoiding convention. Or maybe the first round has cooties that only the Seahawks see. But they did it again. Twice.
After trading down and then out of the first round, coach Pete Carroll fought hard to contain a snicker of glee.
“Exquisite” was the word he chose. “It worked out exactly like we hoped it could going into tomorrow. We have the second pick and have a good sense for it.”
That would be Friday in rounds two and three, when the Seahawks have six picks, including the second of the day at No. 34. Saturday, in rounds four through seven, they have four picks.
Still available are OLs Cam Robinson of Alabama and Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky, DBs Kevin King and Budda Baker of Washington, RB Dalvin Cook of Florida, DT Malik McDowell of Michigan State and others who had been labeled as first-rounders in mock drafts that were turned into pixel ash by a surprising amount of unpredictability.
Tumult began with the second pick, when the Bears, picking third, turned over a passel of draft picks to the 49ers, picking second, for the right to select QB Mitchell Trubisky, the one-year wonder from North Carolina that most scouts viewed as the third of three quarterbacks likely in the first round.
Mike Ditka wouldn’t have cared for that. Nor did most of Chicago.
“We didn’t see that coming,” said GM John Schneider, smiling. “We can’t be in everybody’s buildings.”
Kansas City traded up with Buffalo to 10th for another QB, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. The third top-tier QB, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, went at 12 to Houston. Add in receivers such as Washington’s John Ross, ninth to Cincinnati, and others who figured to go lower or out of the first round, and suddenly the Seahawks saw coming to their position at 26 athletes they didn’t anticipate would be available.
Trading down seemed to get easier by the pick.
Days ago, Atlanta at 31 had been rumored to be in discussion to trade up with Seattle, especially since coach Dan Quinn was a former assistant under Carroll. Turned out to be true. Astonishingly, Atlanta gave up its third- and seventh-round picks to for the right to advance five spots to take UCLA LB Takkarist McKinley.
Another team, perhaps San Francisco, was also in Schneider’s ear about moving up.
According to a source in the Seahawks draft room, the clock on the pick was running down inside a minute as Schneider patiently waited for Atlanta to sweeten its offer before the Seahawks took a player.
“John had it in his head what could happen,” Carroll said. “We had to figure what we’d do and take a shot. It worked just like we had hoped.”
Said Schneider: “It was pretty close. We were debating whether to make the pick or the trade. We had a couple of things going (besides Atlanta). Atlanta made the most sense. They were closest to us (at 31st).”
So Seattle sat at 31 until the 49ers, at 34, had an itch to take Reuben Foster, Alabama’s prized linebacker who was all over the Huskies in the College Football Playoffs. So the teams switched picks and Seattle picked up a fourth-rounder (111th overall) for its trouble.
Asked about the intent to add more picks, Schneider said. “It was (the plan) to a certain extent, but not at the cost of losing a player.”
Presumably that means the Seahawks’ primary target remained available for Friday, although Foster and two Wisconsin players, OL Ryan Ramczyk and LB T.J. Watt, were the next to go to finish out the first round.
They all could have been fits, but Schneider and Carroll apparently lusted after one of the remaining luminaries who fell from the draft sky. We’ll know Friday.
“A lot of people were picking different players,” Schneider said. “We had a couple of upsets, and that totally helped us out.”
But nobody helped out with an offer to that would have relieved them of the enigmatic Richard Sherman. Calls came in, but . . .
“I’d rather not get into that,” Schneider said. “Were there calls? Yeah, don’t want to get in that.”
Since the best time for a mega-deal was pre-draft, it looks as if the Sherman saga goes on hiatus.
Meantime, the Seahawks figure to pick at least one player Friday. Unless they can trade further back.