We all thought the Seahawks were done at receiver when Paul Richardson came off the board to them at 45, turns out they were far from done. Like a lot of receivers in this draft, if Alabama’s Kevin Norwood were in another class he easily could have been picked right where his new teammate was, or higher.
After being able to snag Norwood in the 4th round at 123rd overall, everybody in the Seattle organization is enamored with what they are bringing to the Northwest. When Carroll and Schneider were asked about who they thought was the biggest steal of day three for them, they weren’t shy about their sentiments towards Norwood.
Probably in my opinion the fact that Kevin Norwood was there, was probably the guy we felt we were most fortunate to still have a shot at.
– Seahawks HC Pete Carroll
For me it was Kevin just because he’s so… he’s just a stud. He’s a studded kid, background, everything he’s had to overcome. He was such a reliable guy for them, 3rd down, big, big games. You can watch him two or three years ago playing against the “honey-badger” (Arizona’s safety Tyrann Mathieu who was selected by Arizona in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft), the guy had his hands full. I think that really stood out to me and it was represented on our board, he was by himself up there…
He stayed there and I think maybe because he’s such a solid guy. There’s nothing overly flashy about him except he’s incredibly tough, reliable and incredibly savvy…
– Seahawks GM John Schneider
Almost more than with Richardson, there was a genuine admiration and almost an awe that Norwood was still available to add to this offense. As we’ve found out in recent drafts when the Seahawks took guys that they didn’t necessarily have to take because a position was ‘already full’, the overwhelming thought was that they just could not pass Kevin Norwood up.
Carroll mentioned something else that was very interesting, that Norwood’s average… AVERAGE scoring strikes were from 40 plus yards out while at Alabama. You can probably attribute that to his 6’2″, 198 lbs frame, along with a 4.48 40 speed that actually is quite fast for a guy his size.
In comparison Golden Tate ran a 4.42 and was said to “lack explosiveness” coming out of Notre Dame. They were the same weight, both had ‘short arms’ and yet go up and catch the ball the same way in traffic and run away from defenders with quick burst in the open field. Norwood does have a huge attribute boost with four huge inches on Tate, making him a second jump-ball red zone threat among the receivers that the Seahawks have accumulated, though with RW3 and Marshawn in the backfield a Seahawks’ red zone isn’t really cut-and-dried like most red zone offenses in the NFL. That just means yet another layer to Seattle’s already difficult-to-defend offense and less double coverages on Percy Harvin farther out in the field.
Schneider went on in his characterizing of the special traits Norwood brings to his team:
When you look at a guy like Kevin, you’re talking about a guy that’s played for arguably the best program in the country for the last several years and he’s been a humongous part of it. So that reliability factor is something that you don’t take for granted. I know those guys at Alabama didn’t take it for granted and he had to work for it.
So the receiver room is completely stacked now and the loss of Golden Tate to free agency is pretty much irrelevant. Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette return and that’s a pretty solid five-deep in itself. But now you look at the free agency additions of Taylor Price and Chris Matthews and add Richardson and Norwood to this suddenly awesome puzzle in the draft. This is going to be a difficult decision on who stays and who goes come Fall camp.