By Tim Booth | AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE — It’s no secret Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider likes to make draft-related trades.
He’s made 25 or so deals involving draft picks since arriving in Seattle in 2010. Having a clear line of communication with other general managers around the league and being able to quickly make decisions in collaboration with his staff and head coach Pete Carroll is paramount to Schneider’s draft strategy.
Without question, being able to replicate those conversations and make those snap decisions in a remote situation is at the top of Schneider’s concerns going into this year’s draft that begins on Thursday night.
It’s such a concern that even after going through the mock draft run by the league on Monday, Schneider said he plans to do a separate simulation with a handful of teams prior to the draft so that he can be more comfortable with the entire process before the first round begins.
“The negotiation part of it is something that we’re going to still work on some more,” Schneider said during a video conference on Tuesday. “So, honestly to say that I’m totally comfortable with it right now, I’m not. By tomorrow night, I will be.”
Seattle enters the draft with seven picks, its first coming at No. 27 overall. But there’s an expectation Seattle will not pick 27th and by the time the weekend is over will have made more than seven selections. Seattle has not used its original first-round pick since 2011.
One of Schneider’s hallmarks during his Seattle tenure has been the ability to mine the draft for gems beyond the first round. And that’s meant a staggering amount of trades to land additional draft picks. Last year, Seattle started the draft with four selections and ended up making 11 by the time the weekend was done thanks to a whirlwind of wheeling and dealing.
But all the uncertainties of conducting a draft remotely has Schneider concerned whether that same level of communication needed to make a flurry of moves can be replicated, especially with Carroll and the rest of Seattle’s staff scattered.
“The thing that I like to mention about the draft process that you don’t really get to see is the intricacies and the tight woven communications that take place when it does come time for trade opportunities,” Carroll said. “Those conversations, we’ve imagined what this is like so that we can replicate it from a distance. But it’s looking over your shoulder, ‘Take a look, call Indy, and Buffalo’s on the phone and what is your information.’ That all happens in a flow in the draft room. That is going to be affected some.”
Schneider has turned his dining room into a makeshift draft room with boards, monitors and phones all over. Part of why Schneider wants a dry-run at working through trade scenarios is looking at the options and having discussions in a digital setting.
“I want to go through it more in my own head,” Schneider said. “I’m very visual so I want to experience it.”
While most of the focus was on the draft, Schneider touched on Seattle’s moves so far in free agency. The most notable has been the fact defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remains a free agent. Schneider said the team made an offer to the former No. 1 overall pick that spent last season with the Seahawks, but that Clowney seems willing to let free agency continue to play out before making a commitment.
Schneider said Seattle couldn’t wait for an answer in Clowney before moving forward with signing Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa to help the pass rush.
“We’ve had great conversations. He’s just going to feel his way through this odd process. And we’ll see where that goes,” Schneider said.