There are two sides to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider. He can be both aggressive and very, very conservative constructing the team's roster depending on the situation and this dichotomy is best exemplified by his first-round draft history.
Schneider took big swings to acquire Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham in exchange for first-round selections and these blockbuster trades were sandwiched between examples of when he’s chosen to trade down, stockpiling extra picks in the process. Never were these two extremes more evident than last year, when the team ultimately wound up with nine picks through a combination of trades involving every conceivable type of transaction. Only one of those picks, the fourth rounder used to select Washington tight end Will Dissly, was originally theirs. The others were acquired either by trading players or dealing down. The end result was a deep and varied draft class that provided both excellent early returns as well as a few “redshirt” candidates who should continue to pay dividends in future years.
The Seahawks better hope so, because 2019 isn’t shaping up to be as fruitful.
As our lead writer Corbin Smith detailed here, trading down from their current spot at 21st overall in the first round may be one of Schneider’s biggest challenges to date. Currently holding just four picks in the entire draft, the need to move down and recoup picks is more imperative than ever, but the ability to do so will be more challenging.
Schneider will be dogged in his attempts to add draft picks, and while the potential trade partners may not be as obvious as in year’s past, the possibilities will likely present themselves on draft day albeit with the possibility of less desirable returns.
Here’s an advanced look at a few scenarios where the Seahawks may be able to accomplish their goal. As always, we use the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart first developed by former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson. The Hawks current pick is valued at 800 points, so any team wanting to make a deal has to put together a package getting as close to that number as possible. It’s not an exact science, but it does give us a roadmap to try and predict the cost of doing business for teams looking to move up the draft board.
1. Seahawks trade No. 21 to Raiders for No. 27 and No. 99
No team will be more fascinating to watch in this year’s draft than the Oakland Raiders. After dealing away Kahlil Mack and Amari Cooper, the silver and black own three picks in this first round. With a laundry list of needs and a ton of cap space to work with, coach Jon Gruden may be willing to be aggressive in moving up the board to grab a player he feels they need to have. In a draft deep with the pass-rush types he’ll certainly covet, a move up the board to snag one of the more dynamic receivers before the inevitable run on that position may make sense. In this scenario, the Seahawks are able to add another fourth round pick while only moving down six spots.
Seahawks picks after this trade: 1,3,4,4,5
2. Seahawks trade No. 21 to Chargers for No. 28 and No. 91
The Chargers seem to be a candidate to make some moves during the draft for a couple of reasons.They have their full complement of seven original picks, their championship window with the aging Philip Rivers may be closing, and they need to follow up last year’s promising season with one that will garner additional support from the lackluster fan base they’re trying to groom in Los Angeles. A move up the board here could be for a possible heir-apparent quarterback, should the right one fall this far.
Seahawks picks after this trade: 1,3,3,4,5
3. Seahawks trade No. 21 to Patriots for No. 32 and No. 73
Like the Chargers, the defending Super Bowl champions also have no answer behind Tom Brady should he finally slow down or move on over the next couple of seasons. If coach Bill Belichick identifies the right signal caller to take early as Brady's heir apparent and doesn’t feel he’ll last until the final pick in the round, he has shown a tendency to be aggressive in draft’s past.
Seahawks picks after this trade: 1,3,3,4,5
4. Seahawks trade No. 21 to Packers for No. 30, No. 107, No. 111 and No. 171
Seem too good to be true? Perhaps, but it’s a nearly identical points match on the trade chart. This would be the type of haul Schneider would likely jump at, as it would really fill in the middle rounds where he and Pete Carroll have been adept at finding competent starters. While it may seem uber-aggressive for the typically conservative Packers remember they have a second-year GM and a first-year head coach. They also have two first round picks, with the other being at No. 12 Aaron Rodgers could benefit from a boost to the offensive line or even another dynamic receiver to take some pressure off Davante Adams, while the defense needs all kinds of help. They may now be the third-best team in the vastly improved NFC North. They need to make a bold move or two.
Seahawks picks after this trade: 1,3,4,4,4,5,6
5. Seahawks trade No. 28 to Broncos for No. 41, No. 106 and No. 118
I wanted to offer this as another possibility. We’ve seen the Seahawks trade completely out of the first round before back in 2014, and in an attempt to add even more picks, we could see it again this year. Moving from the 21st selection all the way out of the first day would require a huge package, one that most teams would be unwilling to meet. In this example, I’ve got Seattle taking the deal with the Chargers listed above, and then making another deal with the Broncos.
We all know the Broncos need to add a young quarterback to their roster, as Case Keenum isn't the long-term answer under center. And general manager John Elway has been aggressive before in moving up the board to try and do so. In fact, it was the Seahawks who accommodated him in 2016 when he wanted Paxton Lynch. Seattle dropped five spots in the first round to the 31st overall pick while receiving an additional third rounder in the process.
Lynch didn’t work out for Denver, and ironically is now on the Seahawks roster, but if Elway sees a similar opportunity to get a player such as Drew Lock, he may not let that past mishap stop him from being proactive going after another quarterback.
Seahawks picks after this trade: 2,3,3,4,4,4,5
Obviously a lot could change between now and draft day as teams hone in on identifying their biggest needs. The best thing that could happen to the Seahawks over the next two months is for the top quarterback prospects in this class to wow quarterback-needy teams during the Scouting Combine and college pro days. Teams without quarterbacks get greedy, and on draft day, that greed could wind up being John Schneider's best friend.