Corona beer commercials featuring Snoop Dogg relaxing on a beach ran regularly during ESPN’s coverage of the NFL draft. His demeanor likely stood in stark contrast to most teams’ “war rooms,” which typically teem with as much anxiety as they do intensity.
When it came to the Seahawks, though, you can’t help but wonder if their energy mirrored that of the iconic rapper clutching a cold one. If there was ever a draft you could classify as a vacation for Seattle — this was it.
The Seahawks’ three picks — the 56th, 137th and 208th overall — were tied for the fewest of any team since the 1999 Saints. And it wouldn’t be surprising if just two end up making the 53-man roster.
But that doesn’t mean the Seahawks’ draft picks failed to set this team up for the long haul. It’s just that they didn’t use those draft picks on, you know … the draft.
Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that his team had already hit pay dirt with their first-round pick when it traded it to the Jets for safety Jamal Adams last July. The expectation is that the three-time Pro Bowler will sign a long-term extension with the club.
Friday, after selecting D’Wayne Eskridge late in the second round, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said he’d spend much of Saturday (rounds 4-7) thinking about guard Gabe Jackson and Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap, both of whom came to Seattle in exchange for draft picks.
In other words, a few years from now, it might be hard to judge Carroll and Schneider on the selections they made in regards to the 2021 draft — but it won’t be as hard to judge them on their choices.
Before we go on, here’s a quick recap on who the Seahawks drafted up over the past three days. There was D’Wayne Eskridge, the 4.38-40-running receiver who they picked up late in the second-round. There was Tre Brown, the cornerback with a special-teams flair who they picked up late in the fourth. And there was Stone Forsythe, the 6-foot-9 offensive tackle who they picked up midway through the sixth.
Are the Seahawks a whole better than they were before they made their first pick on Friday? Probably not (although Eskridge and Brown are intriguing). Are they a whole lot better than they would have been had they kept those picks? Probably, yes.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the definition of “win now” mode. This team has shoved in all their chips in hopes of a second “chip.” Carroll and Schneider have a future Hall of Fame quarterback who will be 33 in November (and one who relies on his athleticism more than most signal callers), and they realize this window of opportunity may not come along again while they’re on the payroll.
What would you have done if you were in their position? Would you have passed on acquiring Adams to keep this year’s first and third-round picks and next year’s first-rounder? Or would you have given them up them for a guy who set the NFL sacks record for a defensive back in just 12 games last year, knowing you haven’t struck gold on a first-rounder in nearly a decade?
Would you have passed on acquiring Jackson to keep your fifth-round pick? Or would you have given it up for an established offensive lineman whom Russell Wilson has been pleading for?
Would you have passed on acquiring Dunlap to keep your seventh-round pick? Or would you have given it up for a pass rusher who changed the complexion of the defense as soon as he took the field?
Obviously, these transactions went beyond the Seahawks simply parting ways with draft picks. They’re also taking on these players’ rather considerable salaries, which has a substantial impact on team building.
But as of now, they’re a likely playoff team that may just be one or two moves away from being Super Bowl contenders. If you’re a fan, you take that deal on May 1.
Asked Saturday how this draft felt compared to previous ones, Schneider was direct.
“Unique is the word we keep using, right?,” Schneider said. “It was definitely an odd year.”
Odd, yes. But not necessarily unproductive.
The front office will now turn its attention to undrafted free agents, a category that once included Doug Baldwin and Michael Bennett. Another golden nugget would be nice for this franchise but not essential.
The Seahawks didn’t do much building over the past three days — but they did a whole lot of it over the past several months.