Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting Preferences: John Schneider and Pete Carroll

 

Interrupting my recent series on free agency I thought this week I would ponder the draft a little bit. With the NFL Combine underway, the focus of the football world is on the upcoming draft and despite the fact the Seahawks don’t have a high pick there is a lot of high impact talent to be excited about. Given that this will be the 4th draft of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era I thought it would be a good idea to look at the drafts this duo have put together in order to give us a clue of what to expect in 2013. Although drafting is usually according to need to some degree, Schneider and Carroll seem to actually endorse the “best player available” motto in a meaningful way as opposed to merely paying lip service to it. They have made some picks that have been treated with suspicion by the outside world but largely they have made pretty good picks. I could attempt to evaluate these picks but for the most part it is too early to do so, though some fairly significant successes (Russell Wilson, Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner) are apparent already. Instead, in this article I will examine the structure of their drafts in terms of position preferences and rounds to see if there are any patterns that might help us know what to expect. First, let’s take a look at the offensive players picked by the Seahawks over the past three years by position and round:

Position

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Round 7

Total

QB

1

1

RB

1

1

FB

0

WR

1

1

1*

3

TE

1

1

G

1

1

2

C

0

OT

2#

2

Total

2

1

2

2

1

2

10

 

*Jamison Konz was initially listed at WR, though to be fair he was more of an intriguing athlete than anything

# James Carpenter was drafted as a tackle although it was always known there was a solid chance he’d wind up at guard.

The biggest number that sticks out here is the total. Only 10 of the 28 players this regime have drafted have been offensive players.  The Seahawks have invested in four offensive lineman and three receivers and very little in the way of backfield personnel, not that Russell Wilson and Robert Turbin are anything to sneeze at. Building from the line out is a fairly well respected and effective strategy so it’s hard to complain here.  7 out of the 10 players listed made at least 1 start for the Seahawks in 2012 and Robert Turbin was a valuable complementary player. Classic case of quality over quantity.

Now let’s take a look at the side of the ball that the Seahawks have been investing so heavily in over the last three years:

Position

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Round 7

Total

LEO

1

1

2

DT

1

1

DE

1

2

3

OLB

1

1

1

3

MLB

1

1

CB

1

1

2

4

S

1

2

1

4

Total

2

1

4

4

3

4

18

 

When we look at defense I think it becomes pretty clear that John Schneider and Pete Carroll like their defensive backs. The Seahawks have drafted 8 DB’s in the past 3 years, usually later in the draft (7 of those 8 in Round 4 or later). Also Seattle has taken some shots at creating depth in case of a Red Bryant injury by selecting 3 big DE’s in the latter rounds, without much success (although the jury still could be out on Scruggs). Defensive tackles have largely been neglected, a problem rearing its ugly head now, but there have been enough draft picks thrown at this side of the ball that no other position has missed out on an influx of young talent.

Overall, what is the big picture? First of all, this is only three drafts and organization needs did have to be considered so we can take any patterns we see here with a grain of salt and be cautious when making declarations regarding organization philosophies. That being said there is an undeniable focus on defense and the defensive backfield specifically. Interestingly, despite drafting 64% defensive players this front office has spent five picks in the top three rounds on offense as opposed to three on defense. 15 of the 18 players defensive players drafted were selected in rounds four through seven. To me this suggests that due to the fact Pete Carroll runs a somewhat unorthodox defense he feels he is able to draft players that fit his system later as their unusual skill sets can have them falling in the draft.

Ultimately this is all stuff we already knew. We know these Seahawks draft a lot of defensive players overall. We know that this front office has spent two first round picks in three years on offensive lineman. We know they have tended to look for sleeper defensive backs in the later rounds. That was the impression that we all had naturally. However, just because it’s the general consensus it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right. Looking at the objective figures often shines lights on holes in the public perception. Just not this time. In this case I wasn’t expecting to unlock anything shocking or revolutionary about Seattle’s drafting strategies, and I didn’t. It turns out they were what we thought they were, although in a couple years I’ll be sure to check back and see if this front office keeps its M.O consistent.

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Tags: James Carpenter Pete Carroll Russell Wilson

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