BY Art Thiel 12:27AM 04/26/2019

Thiel: Seahawks quickly over the loss of Clark

Seahawks used the pick acquired from trade of Frank Clark to replace him with L.J. Collier of TCU, then traded down twice to end up with eight picks for the draft’s final 2 rounds.

L.J. Collier had a “gut feeling” he’d be a Seahawk. / Texas Christian Athletics

One after another, the big-deal pass rushers the Seahawks sought to replace the traded Frank Clark fell off the draft board. As the first round Thursday night moved toward the their turn at No. 21, tension grew at team headquarters in Renton.

“Body blows,” said general manger John Schneider.

“It went the way it was supposed to go, and we didn’t like that,” said coach Pete Carroll.

So if the rest of the NFL was going to form, so would the Seahawks. They traded back. Not once, but twice.

But this time, they also took a player in the first round. He was however, a player within their customs and traditions: One few foresaw.

Lawrence Junior Collier didn’t become a starter at Texas Christian until his senior year, but he did well enough in the Senior Bowl, at the combine and in an interview in Renton, to draw Seattle’s No. 29 selection. That was the one the Kansas City Chiefs provided to acquire Clark, the rising star they could no longer afford.

So the label is affixed to him in Seattle: The guy who must be Frank Clark. Not Clark Kent.

“I had a feeling,” said an exultant Collier by phone upon learning of Clark’s trade Tuesday. “I had a gut feeling.”

Carroll had different analogy for his newest player.

“He’s a lot like Michael Bennett,”  he said, invoking another traded Seattle D-lineman of some renown. “His versatility, his style, his penetration ability. Real slippery. Terrific pass rush make-up.

“He’ll fit right into the scheme. He has a nice pass-rush bag of tricks. We think we really got something special. We fell in love with the chip on his shoulder.”

However long it takes for Collier, a fifth-year senior, to replicate his predecessors, the evening brought immediate results in the Seahawks’ other goal of increasing the number of picks for rounds two and three Friday, and rounds four through seven Saturday.

By trading their own No. 21 pick for Green Bay’s at 30, then trading the pick to the New York Giants, they ended up with eight choices for the weekend:

  • Round 2, 37
  • Round 3, 92
  • Round 4, 114
  • Round 4, 118
  • Round 4, 124
  • Round 4, 132
  • Round 5, 142
  • Round 5, 159

While the effort was anticipated, the haul looks remarkable for a team that began the day with four.

“It was a great accomplishment to get that done,” Carroll said.

“Lots going on there — one of the craziest first rounds we’ve seen,” Schneider said. “Lots of stuff shaking. The run on D-linemen (12 in the first round) . . .We were waiting but (offensive linemen) never went.”

Pressed about what constituted crazy, Schneider demurred.

“I’ll tell you some other time,” he said, grinning. “Ten years.”

What he did explain was that Collier was a fit by personality as well as need.

“Best way to describe him is: Our kinda guy,” he said. “Real aggressive, tough-minded. Heavy hands. He jumps off the ball. He has really good snap anticipation.

“He has a lot of juice to him. He was the guy who would get in people’s faces.”

Collier’s self-analysis was similar.

“I’m a hard-nosed, physical guy,” he said from a hotel room in Frisco, Tex., where more than 20 family members and friends had gathered. “I play every down. I’m not just a pass rusher, I’m an all-around player. That’s what I bring to the game. I get off the ball and go 110 percent every time.”

That’s much of what Clark brought in 2018, but after three previous years of experience. Collier has come a long way from little Munday, Tex., where his graduating class had 25 students. He was in the rotational depth at TCU until his fifth year, when he made the Big 12 All-Conference team.

Now he’s a first-round draft choice of a team that built its success on a nasty D.

“I’ve watched them for years,” he  said. “I know what they’re about.”

Of the Clark trade, Schneider kiddingly said Carroll “super-hates me” for making it, but said the Chiefs made an offer — the first plus a second in 2020 — he couldn’t refuse.

“Frankly, it was Kansas City’s aggressiveness — extremely aggressive through the process. We budgeted to keep Frank,  hoping to do a long-term deal with him. The Dallas thing (a huge contract for DeMarcus Lawrence)  didn’t help things.”

Said Carroll: “We just couldn’t work it in, so we had to make him available . . . he had a great opportunity and we weren’t going to be able to afford him here. We love him so much that we’re happy for him in that regard.”

Carroll’s dry eyes and smile seems to suggest he was getting over his grief.  Acquiring an “our kinda guy” type, with the prospect of eight more en route, has a way resolving hurt swiftly.

The first round:


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Sadly the player I thought would be an excellent investment for the Hawks went at 22 but they still got a solid player in Collier. I’m surprised that Byron Murphy is still available. I’m hoping the Hawks can trade their third rounder and a fourth to move up in the third or even second round. Really feel bad for Josh Rosen. The Cardinals have really treated him poorly.

    • WestCoastBias79

      The Cards have handled this horribly, but since UCLA, he has also kind of seemed like an insufferable jerk–basically Aaron Rogers level diva without the Aaron Rogers resume. Word is out. I doubt he’s still a Card because they want him, it’s because no one else does.

      • jafabian

        Arizona really gambled on this. They should have done a draft day trade. They could have easily been stuck with Rosen going into training camp. IMO they should have drafted Bosa considering they play Wilson and Goff 4x a year.

  • Talkjoc

    The Hawks have had better luck with players drafted in the latter rounds than in the 1st or 2nd rounds. Please get a big WR or CB soon. Nerve wracking.

  • StephenBody

    I had hoped they’d pick up N’Keal Harry but Collier works just fine and starting the day with four picks and winding up with NINE(!) is vintage Schneider. Just crossing fingers and toes for some of the old Late Round Magic.

  • Alan Harrison

    Thanks for the late-night recap, Art! If they don’t trade down again (I hope they don’t), they might have some interesting choices at #5 today: Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy, D.K. Metcalf (your guy), Jawaan Taylor (because I don’t believe in Ifedi), A.J. Brown (what is it with Mississippi wide receivers and the two initial thing?), and Chase Winovich are all sitting there, available, and will be gone by 92 (I’m guessing).

  • Larry StoneB

    You are now on a roll! Quick, buy a lottery ticket while your prescient ability is strong!

  • Ken S.

    Nice, and only one (full) year of wear and tear in college.