According to general manager John Schneider, one of the secrets to the success of the Seattle Seahawks is, well, secrets.
When he met the media at the NFL Combine last week, a reporter told Schneider the Seahawks have a reputation for doing a good job “keeping things under your hat’’ when it comes to who they might draft, and other personnel matters.
“I appreciate you saying that,” Schneider said. “I take that as a compliment. I really do. … Loose lips sink ships. I think our people do a very good job of keeping things in house.”
In other words, good luck getting a read from the Seahawks on who they might take with their first-round pick when the NFL draft begins May 8.
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As the Super Bowl champs, Seattle gets the 32nd and last pick in the first round (assuming, of course, no trades up or down). So who the Seahawks pick will also be a function of which players remain when their turn finally comes.
Schneider, head coach Pete Carroll and many other Seahawk coaches, scouts and executives were in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, which wrapped up Tuesday and serves as sort of a symbolic beginning of the draft season.
The combine also helps to give a little more clarity as to which players might be available in which spots. True, misinformation runs rampant this time of year, and with the draft moved back two weeks, there’s more time than ever for things to change from now until the picks are called.
All caveats accepted, here’s a look at who might be available when the Seahawks pick at No. 32, and who might also make sense for Seattle to draft:
• Kelvin Benjamin, wide receiver, Florida State: With Sidney Rice expected to be officially released soon (The Times has confirmed earlier reports that he will soon be cut), the Seahawks are without a big receiver on the roster (though in another caveat, what happens in the March free-agency period will also greatly determine what a team’s true needs are come draft time).
Assuming Seattle still needs a tall receiver, Benjamin — who measured 6 feet 5, 240 at the combine — could fit the bill, if he’s available. Benjamin is one of two big receivers generally considered as potential first-rounders, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans the other. But the consensus out of the combine is that Evans appeared more ready for the NFL and likely to go higher than Benjamin, who looked a little more like a project.
• Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Oregon State: Even if Evans and Benjamin are gone when Seattle’s pick comes, the Seahawks might still want a receiver regardless of size — especially if they have lost Golden Tate or Doug Baldwin, or both, in free agency without getting a replacement. Cooks measured at 5-9¾, 189 pounds at the combine but wowed scouts with a 4.33 40 and a 36-inch vertical that might have, well, leapt him into the first round.
• David Yankey, guard, Stanford: Another takeaway from the combine was the depth of the offensive-line class, especially the tackles. The best of the tackles, though, will be long gone by the time Seattle picks. And at the moment, guard might be Seattle’s bigger need, anyway. Yankey played both at Stanford, but most teams view him as a guard. He’s another who some project a lot higher than Seattle’s No. 32 pick, but he didn’t put up impressive numbers at the combine, leading some to think he could fall to the end of the first round (and Seattle has done pretty well developing Stanford players the last few years).
• Jace Amaro, tight end, Texas Tech: Heading into the combine, the tight-end class was considered exceptionally strong. Coming out of the combine, the story line was that the tight-end class failed to impress as much as expected (including a stress fracture in his foot that prevented Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins from participating). That could be good news for the Seahawks, especially if the team releases Zach Miller for salary-cap reasons, as many speculate could happen. Amaro came out of the combine generally considered the No. 2 tight end after North Carolina’s Eric Ebron and might still be available at No. 32.
• Xavier Sua-Filo, guard, UCLA: Sua-Filo, who played both guard and tackle at UCLA but is regarded more likely to end up inside in the NFL, was generally considered one of the better-performing offensive linemen at the combine, and figures to be a late-first, early-second pick who might make sense for the Seahawks.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699
On Twitter @bcondotta