INDIANAPOLIS — You know it’s NFL combine time when your Twitter feed starts filling up with talk of quarterbacks’ hand size.
So, the combine kicked off in earnest Monday with measurements for quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers.
The combine will shift into an even higher gear Tuesday when many coaches and general managers will meet the media.
That includes Seattle’s Pete Carroll and John Schneider, who will each hold official interview sessions Tuesday. It will be the first public comments for Carroll since the end of the season and the first for Schneider (to the media at large, anyway) since the 2019 draft.
The Seahawks made a little bit of news Monday by bringing in Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith as consultants through the draft. Each most recently worked with the Browns, Wolf as assistant general manager and Highsmith (also a former running back) as vice president of player personnel.
Wolf and Schneider worked together in Green Bay’s scouting department for eight years (he is the son of longtime Packers executive Ron Wolf, who gave Schneider his first job in Green Bay roughly 30 years ago), so Schneider is bringing back a trusted hand to help out this offseason.
The Seahawks regularly have brought in consultants, such as former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson in 2018, and this continues that trend.
Expect much more news and notes from the Seahawks throughout the week.
For now, let’s answer a few more questions via social media about the Seahawks and the draft.
A: If you mean the first three rounds — or the first two days — I don’t think so.
Chris Carson should be healthy for the 2020 season after recovering from a fractured hip that did not require surgery. While Rashaad Penny might be more of a question mark as he rehabs from a knee injury, the Seahawks also return Travis Homer, who showed promise at the end of the 2020 season and would appear to be a good fit for the two minute/third-down back role.
Seattle, though, needs to add depth at running back, and taking a running back at some point among the nine choices they are expected to have makes sense (compensatory picks have yet to be announced and might wait until the outcome of the players vote on the collective bargaining agreement is known. A vote on the CBA could happen this week).
As you suggest, the Seahawks do need to think about the future.
Carson is entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract, and the guess is that he’ll be allowed to play that contract out and the Seahawks will reassess it at the end of the season. The Seahawks have yet to sign a running back they acquired either through the draft or as an undrafted free agent to a second contract during the Carroll/Schneider era.
The combine will help sort out what talent will be available in the draft, but early word on the running back corps says it’s strong.
“Really good at running back,” NFL draft expert Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said last week.
I’d expect the Seahawks to take a really close look at that group but likely get one in the middle to late rounds instead.
A: Not realistically. Recall that Seattle has the No. 27 pick in the first round.
Here’s the famed Jimmy Johnson draft chart, which assigns a point value to each pick as a guide for how much lower-round choices can add up to those in the higher rounds, a chart still relied on by many teams (with others using it but with their own tweaks).
As you can see, there’s a huge difference in the perceived value of picks No. 2 (2,600) and No. 27 (680).
Even if Seattle gave its first three picks (27, 59, 64, which would add up to 1,260) it wouldn’t come close to the perceived value of the No. 2 pick (and, obviously, the value of future draft choices is harder to determine but Seattle hopes to pick near the bottom, of course).
Chase Young, a defensive end from Ohio State and Heisman finalist, is regarded as a potentially elite, franchise-altering player, and Washington is apparently not really thinking about trading that pick.
It’s a nice thought but hard to see such a big move up into the first round happening.
A: No. Seattle needed to beef up its tight end spot regardless, with Will Dissly coming off an Achilles injury (the Seahawks are optimistic he’ll be ready for the season, but that’s a tricky injury for recovery) and Ed Dickson’s likely release.
While Greg Olsen and a healthy Dissly could give Seattle a nice 1-2 punch at tight end (with Jacob Hollister probably back as the third TE), the Seahawks need to keep upgrading the receiving corps beyond Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Neither David Moore, Malik Turner or Jaron Brown solidified the spot last year (and Brown, a free agent, appears unlikely to return).
The Seahawks took three receivers in the draft last year, but this is a really good year to add to that group. As the combine opens, there is significant buzz about the receiver corps.
“I’ve got 27 wide receivers with top-three-round grades in this draft,’’ Jeremiah said last week. “And consider (that an) average (of) 31 are taken. … So this is a really phenomenal group of wideouts. Not all those guys are going to go early. They’ll end up spreading throughout the draft.’’
One especially intriguing prospect — Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool — grew even more so Monday. Listed as a receiver, Claypool weighed in at 238 pounds, leading to the idea he could also be used as a tight end, if not exclusively so.
With Olsen officially signing just a one-year contract, the Seahawks might well continue to explore the idea of bringing in another young tight end.
Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk gained some attention with his measurements Monday. Aiyuk stands just 5 feet, 11 5/8 inches, but was measured with a wingspan of 33½ inches. The NFL will see that as a valuable attribute for creating separation and winning battles for closely contested passes.
Aiyuk also was one of college football’s top kickoff and punt returners last year, which the Seahawks might find attractive. The problem is that Aiyuk is likely becoming a first-rounder at this point, possibly too high for the Seahawks, given their defensive needs.
Conversely, we don’t know how free agency will evolve and if the Seahawks will keep Jadeveon Clowney, Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson — as well as adding to their core — or if they’ll have to replenish them through the draft.
But the combine helps make clear what talent is available in both pools — the draft and free agency.
The Seahawks know there should be all kinds of receivers available in the draft — a belief the combine figures to reinforce, which might mean they can spend their free agency dollars elsewhere.