RENTON -- Just a week ago, the Seahawks were sent to enter the NFL Draft with just four picks at their disposal.
Somehow, they ended up making 11 selections this weekend as they restocked their roster with a bunch of new faces. The Minnesota Vikings were the only team to make more selections than Seattle with 12 and the Arizona Cardinals matched the Seahawks with 11 selections.
The Seahawks made seven selections on the third and final day of the draft, headlined by West Virginia wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. in the fourth round.
General manager John Schneider telegraphed Seattle's plan to add at least one more receiver on Saturday during their meeting with reporters on Friday night, stating "there's still several doggone good receivers on the board so we're working our way through that." He didn't wait too long to get another option in the stable.
"He did a great job at the Senior Bowl," Schneider said of Jennings. "He’s the fastest guy on the GPS, they tracked him at 23 miles per hour. Jim Nagy is running that now, he used to work for us. He had the fastest feet of anybody at the Senior Bowl down there, with the zebra timing. Phenomenal hands."
With Doug Baldwin's future in doubt due to injuries that have him contemplating retirement, getting more talent at wide receiver quickly became a necessity. In addition to second-round pick D.K. Metcalf and Jennings, Seattle would add a third receiver in the seventh-round in Hawaii's John Ursua. The Seahawks traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to Jacksonville to acquire the seventh-round pick needed to grab Ursua.
"Suddenness, instant separation," Schneider said of Ursua. "Really good feel for sitting in zones and setting guys up. He has a really good shake off the line of scrimmage. Then, he has deceiving speed, too. He would have liked to have had his 40 time back (4.56), but he plays much faster than that.”
Both Metcalf and Jennings were among the top 10 performers in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and add a significant speed element to Seattle's offensive attack.
"That was the number one thing, we wanted to get fast, make sure we can compliment the stuff, like running down the field, take advantage of Russell’s ability to throw the ball down the field, which is awesome," head coach Pete Carroll said. "And be able to compliment the work that we were able to do with Tyler. Make sure that he’s not the only fast guy who can take the top off. We’re really excited about that.”
Jennings was the 18th pick in the fourth round, No. 120 overall, by the Seahawks. At 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, Jennings spent most of the last two seasons playing in the slot for the Mountaineers. Schneider and Carroll indicated that Jennings will likely get time on the perimeter with the potential to move inside at times.
Jennings actually grew up with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as a basketball coach at the local YMCA in Virginia. Jennings played basketball with Wilson's sister, Anna, who now plays college basketball at Stanford.
“It was a feeling like no other. For it to be Seattle as well, it’s a perfect fit for me. For the system and what they do as an offense," Jennings said.
Seattle initially held the 114th overall pick before sliding back sixth spots in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings that allowed the Seahawks to pick up an additional sixth round selection.
Some offensive line help came next in the form of Wake Forest guard Phil Haynes.
"Phil is a guy that we targeted early because of his makeup and his style of play," Carroll said. "... He’s going to be 340 pounds. He’s a really strong, really physical guy. He likes to finish blocks and knock guys down. He’s got an attitude about him."
Haynes was a basketball player until picking up football late in high school. He got a scholarship to Wake Forest off just one season of football.
“I’m a physical guy who loves to run block," Haynes said. "I’m also a decent pass blocker. I think that’s why I got picked by the Seahawks because they love to run and I can definitely help out there.”
Oregon defensive back Ugo Amadi was the last of Seattle's three fourth-round selections. He's played safety and nickel cornerback during his time at Oregon and will start out at safety with the Seahawks. He will be the free safety option to compliment second-round selection Marquise Blair.
"He’s a safety and we’re going to start him off playing back in the middle, he’ll play free safety to start," Carroll said. "... He’s done a lot of coverage stuff on the slots, he’s done nickel work in a unique way and been effective there too. We’d like to see how that works out in time."
Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, Miami running back Travis Homer and Florida State defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas rounded out Seattle's selections on the final day or the draft.
- Rd 1: L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
- Rd 2: Marquise Blair, S, Utah
- Rd 2: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
- Rd 3: Cody Barton, LB, Utah
- Rd 4: Gary Jennings Jr., WR, West Virginia
- Rd 4: Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest
- Rd 4: Ugo Amadi, CB, Oregon
- Rd 5: Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
- Rd 6: Travis Homer, RB, Miami (FL)
- Rd 6: Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State
- Rd 7: John Ursua, WR, Hawaii
Photo Credit: STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 17: Wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers makes a catch over safety Jarrick Bernard #24 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the fourth quarter on November 17, 2018 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State upset West Virginia 45-41. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Wake Forest guard Phil Haynes lines up against North Carolina. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. (photo courtesy of Wake Forest University)
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 17: Cornerback Ugo Amadi #14 of the Oregon Ducks intercepts a pass against wide receiver Brayden Lenius #81 of the Washington Huskies in the fourth quarter on October 17, 2015 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 26-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 08: Wide receiver Darren Carrington #7 of the Oregon Ducks is tackled by linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven #25 of the Washington Huskies on October 8, 2016 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Travis Homer #24 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes against Rashad Weaver #17 of the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 24, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Florida State defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas chases the ball carrier in a game against Delaware State in 2018. (photo courtesy of Florida State University)
Photo Credit: Hawaii wide receiver John Ursua looks to haul in a pass in a game against Duquesne in 2018. (photo courtesy of the University of Hawaii)
John Schneider & Pete Carroll Transcript:
Schneider: “We’ve concluded, we’re working on rookie free agency in there right now. It’s kind of like surgeons and doctors thinking ‘that operation was just ok.’ Obviously we say this every year, but we’re super excited. We thought it went great. We’re really proud of the collaboration between the coaches and the personnel staff on how all the preparation went throughout the weekend with the communication and what’s going on in there right now with rookie free agency. We just feel real blessed that we were able to [go from] what started out as four picks to get to 11 was a big deal for us. You’ll see a constant theme through here and that’s smart, tough, reliable guys; physicality, special teams help. We added a ton of competition and some alpha dogs to this group.”
(On what they thought was a realistic pick total when the week started…)
Carroll: “Six or seven, we were hoping to get to there. We just leapfrogged it.”
(On the flexibility, opportunities and roster building help they have with 11 draft picks…)
Schneider: “That’s it, opportunities. Opportunities to be able to coach and develop some guys and try to accentuate these guys’ strengths. We have a solid group of guys right here in this building right now and now we’re adding a whole new group of guys to come in and try to take it to another level.”
Carroll: “It really surpassed my expectations for this week to be like we are. We’re thrilled with what happened and all of the work that was done to get it done. You see a whole different framework and that’s really exciting. It’s going to be competitive and that’s exactly how we like it. Guys are going to be battling in spots and it forces the energy and the juice of what camp will be like. This is beyond our expectations.”
(On how the extra first round pick set them up to make more draft selections…)
Carroll: “I really think it was the key to kickstart this thing. John was able to make a couple decisions and work a couple angles and before you know it, we were rolling. It just started flowing from there. It kind of felt like a slow start a little bit. But as soon as we got to working it, the opportunities were created and we really tend to make some big decisions on the move. Our experience really showed up and it was really well done. They did a great job.”
Schneider: “I really thought Scott [Fitterer] and Trent [Kirchner] and Matt Berry and all those guys did an excellent job of working the phones and keeping us in as many things as they possibly could. That’s something that we pride ourselves on, not just this weekend, but throughout the whole process. We were just talking about trying to know the landscape of what’s happening in the National Football League and that draft choice with Frank [Clark] definitely helped us. We’re not in the habit of giving away outstanding pass rushers and we both have a fond place in our hearts for Frank and we always will.”
(On how important it was for them to bolster special teams…)
Schneider: “It always is. [There’s] three units and when you have guys that you know you can add depth to specific positions and competition at certain positions and you know that they’re going to be special teams players for sure, we know a lot of these guys are going to be special teams players. They’ve already done it, they’ve proven it and this isn’t like some of them are projections, but the majority of them are we’ve seen them play on [special] teams. It’s different, it’s a different feel. You have to have an instinctive feel for knowing how to block in space and knowing how to cover. It’s a different deal.”
Carroll: “I think the move that John was able to make to get Jason Myers in here really kickstarted the emphasis on let’s make the special teams aspect of this club really be there and ready to answer the call to be at a championship level. Right down the list, all of these guys, we talked to already, we evaluated as special teams guys and that was a big part of the factor. We’re really excited about some guys that will be competing for their time right of the bat. The linebackers and the safeties in particular.”
(On why special teams was a focus in this draft…)
Carroll: “That’s just the way it happened. But it wasn’t an intent. We’re trying to make everything as competitive as we can and trying to lead the charge with being as competitive as we can with all of our guys and bringing that mentality to each kid that we add to the team. It kind of suits the whole thing.”
Schneider: “We had a lot of buy in and a lot of work that was put in by Brian Schneider and Larry Izzo too. Larry’s played in this league for a long time. Those guys sat all the way through our offensive meetings, our defensive meetings and we had a real cool collaboration and communication with the special teams coaches and the personnel guys.”
(On Ben Burr-Kirven on special teams and his overall appeal…)
Carroll: “I thought it was a really exciting pick to evaluate because he’s such a unique type of player. Whenever you get a guy that’s this active and has these kinds of numbers, you have to take a look. We took a really deep look at what Ben’s all about. He reminded me so much of Lofa Tatupu. Lofa had this extraordinary knack for finding the football in unique ways and the way he fit in the running game, he was amazing. This is the way that Ben plays. Our guys all latched on to him and the productivity, but he’s also got speed. The special knack was something that we were really excited about. We know that he’s going to be a factor on special teams. He’s going to be running down those kicks and making hits. He’s recognized as a really big-time player and the fact that he’s local is pretty cool also.”
Schneider: “A funny story about him, I’ll usually try to sneak over to Washington for their training camp and I usually go over there later in the year because it’s so close and it’s an easy school visit. I was having trouble with the computer so I went and asked the video guy if he could help me. And I hadn’t looked at stats or anything like that and I was like, ‘Man, this BBK kid makes a ton of plays, this guy is super active.’ And he looks at me and goes, ‘Yeah, he’s leading the nation in tackles right now.’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I totally knew that. I totally knew he was leading the nation in tackles right now.’ As I was keeping track of that, I have so many other things on my mind. The guy is so productive, it’s ridiculous.”
(On how else they’d like to bolster the pass rush with Frank gone…)
Carroll: “There is work that we’re engaged in [during] this stage of filling up the roster and we’re very involved in what is coming up next. We’re not done, we have work to do. We’re excited about what’s coming up and you guys will see in time.”
Schneider: “We talk about those phases of free agency and there’s basically three or four different phases and we’re basically now heading into phase three.”
(On focusing on physicality with this year’s draft picks…)
Schneider: “Of course. Those guys that fly around and knock the crap out of people, yeah absolutely. You can just go down the list. Collier, Blair, Metcalf, Barton, Jennings is super strong after the catch, Phil is a monster, Ugo, Ben Burr, Homer is a really good special teams player, Christmas is a big man.”
(On how Phil Haynes fits into what they want to do…)
Carroll: “Phil is a guy that we targeted early because of his makeup and his style of play. We’re really excited about how our guards have been playing. You saw us go out and get Mike Iupati to go along with what D.J. [Fluker] has done. We thought early on that this is a guy that can fit in the mold of that. He’s going to be 340 pounds. He’s a really strong, really physical guy. He likes to finish blocks and knock guys down. He’s got an attitude about him. He just looked like he would fit the bill to compete with those guys. We’ve been shifting gears here the last couple of years here and this is an indication of that. It was really a guy that we had sighted from early on and John figured out where he would go and we were able to nail it specifically because of his makeup that kind of matched up with the guys that we’ve had some success with and we’re excited about it.”
(On Phil Haynes’ pass protection…)
Carroll: “They did a lot of throwing [at Wake Forest]. He’s done fine. He’s got a lot of work to do there as a lot of young guys do, but he’s coming off the rock with a real physical style that we’re really excited about.”
(On if they like Phil Haynes at either guard spot…)
Carroll: “He’s been playing left guard, but he’ll be able to play both of them in time. But we’ll start him on the left side.”
(On their plans for Ugo Amadi…)
Carroll: “He’s a very versatile football player. He’s been recognized and has been awarded some stuff through recognition of being an all-around player. He’s a safety and we’re going to start him off playing back in the middle, he’ll play free safety to start. Marquise [Blair] will be on the other side. He’s done a lot of coverage stuff on the slots, he’s done nickel work in a unique way and been effective there too. We’d like to see how that works out in time. He’s been a returner. He will be a very instrumental guy in the special teams area as well because he’s a runner and a hitter. But I don’t want to overdo the young guys with too many obligations other than he’s going to be on special teams, he’s going to be playing safety. So we’ll start him off at free safety and find out what it feels like knowing that we’ll be able to use him in coverage in time.”
Schneider: “Pete and I talked to a head coach in the Pac-12 this week because he is a shorter guy, you have some questions about the length and all that sort of stuff, but he talked about the presence that you feel from him on the field. He’s a total alpha dog so we went for it. The guy total pulls the trigger and he’s an explosive cat.”
(On if they heard that Ugo Amadi became a dad today…)
Schneider: “No, I did not. Thanks for the heads up, we probably should have known that.”
(On the three receivers drafted …)
Schneider: “D.K. [Metcalf], he lasted, and we definitely moved up to go grab him. Jennings, he had a great year. Coming out of that offense, there’s always questions. But he did a great job at the Senior Bowl. He’s the fastest guy on the GPS, they tracked him at 23 miles per hour. Jim Nagy is running that now, he used to work for us. He had the fastest feet of anybody at the Senior Bowl down there, with the zebra timing. Phenomenal hands. Really strong after the catch. And then, John [Ursua] has been honestly one of our favorite players throughout the whole process. He had an awesome visit with us, led the nation with 16 touchdowns. He is going to come in and compete for that slot spot. He is a really cool kid, he went to Paris, that’s where he did his mission.”
(On whether they knew that Russell Wilson had coached [Gary] Jennings in YMCA basketball…)
Schneider: “No, we did not.”
(On Jennings being a slot guy…)
Schneider: “He could be that power guy in there. He’s a really, strong. Hitch, Smoke, and he can fly for a 216-pound guy.”
(On having two guys with speed…)
Carroll: “It was really important going in. That was the number one thing, we wanted to get fast, make sure we can compliment the stuff, like running down the field, take advantage of Russell’s ability to throw the ball down the field, which is awesome. And be able to compliment the work that we were able to do with Tyler. Make sure that he’s not the only fast guy who can take the top off. We’re really excited about that.”
(On how John Ursua compensates for a lack of size…)
Schneider: “Suddenness, instant separation. Really good feel for sitting in zones and setting guys up. He has a really good shake off the line of scrimmage. Then, he has deceiving speed, too. He would have liked to have had his 40 time back, but he plays much faster than that.”
(On when the pass rusher supply start to run out…)
Schneider: “Right away.”
Carroll: “First round. There were 11 or 12 defensive linemen taken in the first round. Plus Josh.”
Schneider: “After Chase went.”
(On whether Gary and Sweat would have passed a physical…)
Schneider: “I’m not supposed to answer that.”
(On the type of player that Travis Homer is…)
Schneider: “He can play an every down back. He’s really tough. He’s only 20 years old. He’s a grit guy for us, hell of a special teams player. He can play on third down. We actually had him in the third down category because he had such good hands coming out of the backfield. Really good instincts. Just a really, really tough.”
(On assessing the safety position…)
Carroll: “Competition. Just keep it competitive and let that take care of most of the decision making. It’s an opportunity for those guys to go at it. We’re very, very young, other than Bradley, and he’s been a terrific leader for those guys. If you’ve noticed, the linebackers and the safeties, we wanted to make sure those guys have the versatility and the special teams aspects as well. That was really important. Just make it way more competitive and bring out the best in everybody.”
(On what will be the best spot for McDougald on the defense…)
Carroll: “Using his versatility to do everything with him. He can play close to the line of scrimmage, he’s very efficient run player. He’s our best all around coverage guy. Matching people up. Remember how we watched him in the dime situation when we put him on a wide receiver or tight end, as well as the backs and all of those special things; through his experience he’s really good at all that stuff.”
(On the role of Demarcus Christmas…)
Carroll: “He’s going to play 3-technique to start us out. We just want to bring him along. Good, tough guy, who can do a lot of good stuff. We just want to develop him, we need the depth, and we need the girth. He’s a 300-plus pound guy. He’ll start at 3-technique.”
(On whether Christmas has the potential to play nose…)
Carroll: “He could, but that’s not something we’re looking for. He will play there some, those guys will rotate. But we would like to see him load up and play 3-technique and see how he does there first.”
(On the depth at defensive tackle…)
Carroll: “We picked one, so we thought it was important. We’ll continue to work to develop that.”
(On whether beefing up the depth at linebacker was a priority…)
Schneider: “Yeah, I think so. Yeah, definitely. This year’s class was much better than last year’s.”
(On the role of Analytics…)
Schneider: “Yeah, we worked with Patrick and Josh and Brian Eayrs all the way through it. Leading up to it. It’s a checks and balances deal. Both Pete and I sat with them, just the analytics guys, probably two days before, just to kind of go through the board.”
Carroll: “Possibly the most intimately involved they’ve ever been. Best we’ve ever been in that area. John had them in his room, really consistent throughout.”
Schneider: “They’re in our meetings all the time.”
Carroll: “It was a really nice aspect of the process.”
(On whether there was a specific pick where analytics played a big role…)
Schneider: “Not that we can determine yet, I don’t think.
(On the draft process…)
Carroll: “I think we’re as good as we’ve ever been. John’s efficiency with his guys, it was like clockwork. They were no restrictions, we were able to do whatever was available. I’m saying it because he won’t talk about himself, but to watch the way they function is really, really special. Great expertise. I think the best we’ve been at that, just observing, sitting on the outside, watching them work. Really, really well done.”
(On whether there was a guy that was surprising to be available…)
Carroll: “I’m going to say D.K. We never would have thought that we would have had a shot to get him. When John realized, he just snapped at the opportunity to get a pick to elevate, so we could have that 64th pick. I was shocked. That was as much fun as I’ve had. Just to have that guy on our team. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, everything converged perfectly. We nailed it, and yes we got the trade, and bang, bang, bang, he made it to us. It was really exciting.”
(On the overall team depth…)
Carroll: “I think we’re in pretty good shape right now, if everything keeps coming. We have to keep moving forward, keep all of our guys, some of them have to get well, as they’re rehabbing through the offseason. But, I feel like we have competitive players across the board. This was not a draft where we went in and had big holes. We didn’t feel like that. We were able to look at the guys and see who was coming down the pike, and John played the rhythms of the draft well so that we hit the linebackers, that was in a nice spot. I think they are going to be competitive. The receivers are really competitive. We are already competitive at the running back spot. Those guys are battling just for their playing time right now. The O-line, there have been a couple things that happened. Mike and Phil. It just seems really solid. The tight end position is solid. We’re excited about the quarterback position, with a little bit of help from Paxton. He looks like he’s going to give us exciting choice there. We’ll see how he develops. We nailed the kicking game, with Jason and Michael. So, there’s a lot of good stuff going on. That’s why we have felt like that, anyway. And then, we just took 11 guys. I would have never thought that would have happened. We’re not done. John has a lot of stuff he’s working on in the next couple of weeks. We’re really excited about that. This feels like one of those rosters that we had 4 or 5 years ago, maybe about 5 years ago, when I really felt like there are guys on our team that other people want. And, that’s a good spot to be in. It’s taken some time to get back to that. We’ve seen the cycle of the roster movement. This is a really exciting spot right now.”
(On why the Seahawks gave up a pick next year to get John Ursua…)
Schneider: “Besides the player, who we all really liked as a competitive slot receiver, when you’re in the seventh round, you have to look at where guys have visited, and who’s had private workouts with them, and who’s spent the most amount of time with them. He had spent time with several teams that we were concerned about. We were worried about not being able to sign him as a rookie free agent. We did not have a seventh-round pick. We had 12 picks next year, so, let’s go get the guy that everybody feels really good about, let’s just lock it down. He’s a really cool kid.”
(On whether they are still waiting to decide on Ifedi…)
Schneider: “Yes, we’re still waiting.”
(On Doug Baldwin’s timeline for his decision…)
Schneider: “I would say weeks.”
(On the progress of Will Dissly…)
Carroll: “He’s making great progress. Really everybody is excited that he’s going to be OK by the time we open up. At camp it will be a really interesting time to see how far he’s come. He’s running, he’s working. He looks good, his attitude’s great, his weight is up, and all that. Strength is really good. Everything is pointing toward where he is going to be very competitive. We loved the start he had with us last time around. Our hopes are really high that he will be a big part.”
(On which clue would have told us about Collier…)
Carroll: “It was obvious, wasn’t it?”
(On whether it took one take on the piano…)
Carroll: “That was one take. I appreciate you bringing that up.”