RENTON — Though John Schneider is beginning to become an old hand at the NFL draft, the event still revives youthful feelings.
Schneider, who Thursday will lead his fifth Seahawks draft as the team’s general manager, says being able to scout and select players is something “I dreamed about’’ as a kid.
This year, though, the wait is longer than usual for one of Schneider’s most-anticipated days of the year.
The first reason is that the draft is two weeks later than normal. That’s due to what the NFL said was a scheduling conflict with Radio City Music Hall. But the league might also have desired to see what the reaction would be to even more prolonged buildup.
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And more specifically to the Seahawks is their draft position in the first round, the No. 32 spot awarded to the team that won the previous season’s Super Bowl.
“We’re going to watch 31 players come off our board,’’ Schneider said, already anticipating an agonizing wait. “That’s a lot of guys.’’
Few will be surprised, though, if the Seahawks end up waiting even longer — and doing it to themselves by moving out of the first round to get more selections later on.
It’s something Seattle has done often during the four drafts under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. They have drafted in their assigned spot just 12 of 28 times.
The temptation to move could be even greater this year because of where Seattle sits in the first round. With teams able to control first-round choices for five seasons if they desire (other draft picks get four-year deals), Seattle’s selection could be hotly desired by a team that might want to move up to grab a player it really wants, and in particular a quarterback.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network envisioned exactly that scenario recently.
“What I think is a good chance of happening is if Houston doesn’t take a quarterback at one, the entire league expects them to take a quarterback at 33,’’ Mayock said. “So depending on who is sitting on the board at the quarterback position at 32, I think they (the Seahawks) could get an awful lot of activity to move down. I think they’re in a great spot because of that.
“If I’m a Seattle fan, I’m rooting for Houston to take (South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon) Clowney at one. And I’m rooting for (Louisiana State quarterback Zach) Mettenberger and (Louisville QB Teddy) Bridgewater and (Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy) Garoppolo, all those guys, to still be on the board so somebody wants to come up ahead of Houston, and Seattle to trade down a few slots. I really believe that has a good chance of happening.’’
Another reason Seattle might also be tempted to move down is that it has just six picks, having traded its third-rounder away last year as part of the Percy Harvin trade, and its seventh-rounder last month for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Schneider mentioned last week that moving down is always on the table, saying “I just like it in general.’’
Schneider, though, would give away little about the team’s strategy, other than to say the basic philosophy won’t change this year just because the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champs with a roster that has few holes.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to continue to do it the way we’ve been doing it and the way we’ve built it, which is with young people and competing at every position at the highest level we possibly can and never shutting the door on anything,’’ Schneider said.
Positions that make sense for Seattle to address, though, include receiver, the offensive line, defensive line and safety, all of which took hits during free agency.
Mayock says the key for teams drafting late is to not get locked into thinking about specific positions but waiting to see it develops.
“If they sit there at 32, I’m a big believer of this, you just have to be versatile,” he said. “You have to pick at 32, regardless of your needs, a good football player.’’
Another NFL Network analyst, Daniel Jeremiah, agreed that the Seahawks mostly just need to continue with their formula.
“This team has so much depth and so much talent,’’ Jeremiah said. “Everybody gives lip service to they’re a team that selects the best available player, but the advantage in the NFL is when you have a great roster, that’s easy to do. You don’t have to force things.’’
|What to expect at No. 32|
|The Seahawks have the No. 32 overall selection, the last choice of the first round. Drew Brees is the most famous No. 32 pick. But just one of the past 10 years has No. 32 produced a Pro Bowler.|
|2013||S Matt Elam, Baltimore: Started 15 games as the heir apparent to departed Ed Reed|
|2012||RB David Wilson, NY Giants: 504 yards in two seasons, battling injuries|
|2011||OL Derek Sherrod, Green Bay: Has played just 12 games, also hit by injuries|
|2010||DB Patrick Robinson, New Orleans: 2012 starter, limited to two games by injuries last year|
|2009||DE Ziggy Hood, Pittsburgh: Just 11.5 sacks in five seasons|
|2008||DE Phillip Merling, Miami: First pick of second round; Patriots forfeited pick due to SpyGate|
|2007||WR Anthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis: 99 receptions in five years, out of football now|
|2006||DE Mathias Kiwanuka, NY Giants: Serviceable, if unspectacular career, still with Giants|
|2005||OL Logan Mankins, New England: Six-time Pro Bowler|
|2004||TE Ben Watson, New England: Has 340 receptions in a solid career|
|NFL mock draft|
|Seattle Times reporter Jayson Jenks takes his best shot at a mock draft for Thursday’s first round.|
|1. Houston||DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina||Tempting to go QB but Clowney is too talented|
|2. St. Louis||OT Greg Robinson, Auburn||The one sure thing seems to be Robinson to the Rams|
|3. Jacksonville||WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson||Best WR in a very deep pool|
|4. Cleveland||DE Khalil Mack, Buffalo||Cleveland passes on a QB for instant difference-maker|
|5. Oakland||WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M||Evans’ size makes him highly intriguing|
|6. Atlanta||OT Jack Matthews, Texas A&M||Atlanta could trade up for Mack or Clowney|
|7. Tampa Bay||QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M||The Bucs need a QB and Manziel is best available|
|8. Minnesota||DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh||A freaky athletic interior lineman|
|9. Buffalo||TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina||Ebron gives QB E.J. Manuel a safety valve|
|10. Detroit||CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State||The Lions desperately need help at CB|
|11. Tennessee||CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech||Fuller is physical and considered by some the best CB|
|12. NY Giants||OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan||Lewan will help a struggling Giants line immediately|
|13. St. Louis||S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama||Best safety in the draft|
|14. Chicago||CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State||Bears need to overhaul their secondary|
|15. Pittsburgh||WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State||Steelers could use a playmaking WR|
|16. Dallas||OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA||One of the draft’s best pass rushers|
|17. Baltimore||OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame||Ravens need an offensive tackle|
|18. NY Jets||WR Marqise Lee, USC||Lee will pair nicely with Eric Decker|
|19. Miami||T Morgan Moses, Virginia||Moses solves a glaring hole for the Dolphins|
|20. Arizona||QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida||Carson Palmer’s heir apparent|
|21. Green Bay||LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama||The best inside linebacker in the draft|
|22. Philadelphia||S Calvin Pryor, Louisville||Pryor is a hard hitter and playmaker|
|23. Kansas City||WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU||Beckham could go higher but Chiefs would be ecstatic if he fell|
|24. Cincinnati||CB Jason Verrett, TCU||Verrett is small but has great ball skills|
|25. San Diego||CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State||Addresses an immediate need for the Chargers|
|26. Cleveland||QB Derek Carr, Fresno State||The Browns get their quarterback|
|27. New Orleans||DE Kony Early, Missouri||Early gives the Saints the edge rusher they covet|
|28. Carolina||OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama||The Panthers could really use an offensive tackle|
|29. New England||TE Jace Amaro, New England||Gives the Patriots a needed weapon at tight end|
|30. San Francisco||WR Cody Latimer, Indiana||The 49ers need speed to pair with Boldin and Crabtree|
|31. Denver||DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State||Helps form a very stout interior defensive line|
|32. Seattle||OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State||Worth nothing: It’s doubtful the Seahawks pick here|
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.