John Schneider and Pete Carroll talk about the Seahawks draft – Seattle Times

The NFL Draft is one time when it’s good to hear everything the Seahawks’ brain trust has to say.

So here is the entire transcript of the post-draft press conference of coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

(Opening) Carroll: “What a great day, this is really fun. It’s great to have a chance to just take this kind of day, John [Schneider], all the options that he had, because of the dealings, just made for a really unique day. I thought he did great, it was awesome.”

(On if he got their man with their first pick) Carroll: “Yeah. We did. He was really the guy we were hoping to get and it worked out.”

(On Malik McDowell) Carroll: “He’s got a lot of flexibility, he’s played all across the board. He’s been a defensive end, he’s been a nose tackle, he’s been a three technique, which bodes well for us. We see a lot of flexibility in him, he’s a unique player, he’s a very young man, 20 years old, who has a lot of growing. We think he has great upside, he had a fantastic sophomore season that we weighted heavily and we think we have a really special player and we’re really happy to get him. Had a good visit when he came in, all that, and it paid off.”

(On Malik McDowell’s effort and consistency last year) Schneider: “He had some inconsistencies, he had some close buddies leave, fellow defensive linemen, he was banged up and I think he would tell you that there were a couple games he would want back. Maybe he already told you guys that, I’m not sure. But from a motor standpoint, he knows that he needs to keep going, and those are part of the discussions we had with him when he visited.”

(On how motor questions in the past factored into the evaluation) Schneider: “He’s too unique. We’ve been looking for a pass rushing three technique like Pete talked about, we’ve talked about this a lot, since we’ve been here together.

Carroll: “We really think he’s so young that we can develop the things that aren’t quite right yet. We think we can mold him into a really good role player for us and fit him into a number of different spots.”

Schneider: “He’s 300 pounds and 4.7, 4.8… Something like that.”

(On thoughts on McDowell as a player) Schneider: “Similar to what Calais Campbell looked like, coming out of University of Miami. Just long, gets off the ball, can get skinny, uses his hands, covers a lot of ground.”

Carroll: “He’s really an instinctive player, feels the run really well. I keep saying this, he’s a really young kid too, so we think we can really build with him. He was dominant as a sophomore and he went in with a high ankle sprain the first game and some other things, just never got right. I thought it was a great job of evaluating his whole career and we think there’s a great upside. A very unique player.”

Schneider: “Yes, Jason Barnes and Ed Dodds spent a ton of time there with those guys and were really getting to know them. It’s a cool story. We had to sweat it out too, it was one spot.”

(On if the knocks on McDowell were why they kept trading down) Schneider: “No, we just had several guys. So we knew we were going to get one of those guys, and I forget who asked last night, but we just knew we could keep going.”

(On if McDowell’s skillset is more like Mebane or McDaniel) Carroll: “Oh no, he’s way different than that. He’s not a Mebane guy at all. Like John [Schneider] said, John had a great example of Calais. He plays real long and tall and will affect the passer in those ways, whether he gets there or not.  I think he’s much different style-wise. He’s 6’6”, so he’s a big guy.”

(On where Ethan Pocic will play on the line) Carroll: “We think he’s the most flexible guy in the draft. He started a lot at center but he’s played at guard and he’s played tackle. He’s been a primary player for them in a great conference and just been steady as a rock. Really smart, intelligent, tough guy. Long, tall, he has all the right elements and the background was so versatile that we just thought that was a great opportunity. We really were hoping, there weren’t many offensive linemen in the draft as you’ve noticed that already, and we just thought he could fit into a number of spots and really help us out. We’ll see him at guard and tackle, knowing he can play center.”

Schneider: “He was the one guy that, quite frankly, we were really sweating out. We felt like we were drafting maybe two and a half players with one guy, so we debated whether to go up and get him or just sit and wait and sweat it out. I changed my shirt [laughing].”

(On if there is one ideal spot for Pocic) Carroll: “The place he has played the most is center, but he’s played everything. So we’re going to see how it fits and see where he fits in best for us, and we have some spots we’re trying to work out as we move guys around a little bit here, but we think he gives us a great upside.”

(On Pocic not meeting with Tom Cable before the draft) Schneider: “Like we said, we sweated it out with him. We thought he was so versatile, we just wanted to be very careful with how much interest we showed.”

(On if linemen is one of the harder positions to draft) Schneider: “It’s just a very hard position in general, in terms of quantity, in college football. We just run into that, that shows up. Rob [Rang] would know, Tony [Softli] would know, it’s not a position that’s real heavy.”

(On if zone blocking in LSU helped them draft Pocic) Carroll: “We know he can do it, yeah. We know he can fit in. We see that.”

(On Shaquill Griffin) Schneider: “You guys are going to love him, he is a fun kid. Really confident, really tough, really fast, 4.37. He had a couple rough situations, but he responded the right way and he’s just our kind of DB in my opinion.”

Carroll: “I think he’s going to be a special teams guy for us, too. You’ll see him on the perimeter, holding up guys and change and be the gunner and all that kind of stuff. Really good motor and the speed, you just can’t deny that it’s really there. He’s a terrific athlete.”

(On if they see Griffin as an outside guy or in the slot) Carroll: “I see him as an outside guy. We’ll start there and try to transition to our style of stuff. His ability to play the ball, really his ball sense too, we think he’ll be a really good fit.”

Schneider: “He’s a good athlete and he’s not afraid of anything.”

(On Griffin not playing much press) Carroll: “It doesn’t matter.”

(On if there was a play on film for Griffin that stood out) Schneider: “I think just that ability to respond, to get beat and come right back and compete. That’s one thing I loved about him.”

Carroll: “He had some big plays on the ball, he had plenty of good turnovers and stuff. He looks just like he’ll fit in just right.”

(On where he sees Delano Hill fitting) Carroll: “That’s a good question. We know he can play safety. He’s played a lot and he’s very physical. He’s just right in the right framework of our style that we love to see. Tough and also, he’s played on the slot a lot, so he’s played kind of the nickel position quite a bit, which has shown the ability to cover receivers, which is good. As always, we’ll check our guys out see what the expanse of his play will bring us. We won’t be hesitant to see how he matches up with wide receivers. That’s a good thing for him, but there’s no question he can play safety. We would say strong and free, he looks more like a hitter, he’s really physical. Might be a little more like Kam [Chancellor] style, so we’ll see. He’s done everything their scheme showed, all of that, so it really was a good evaluation for us, we have a lot of hopes for this.”

(On the low salary of the O-line) Schneider: “I think we completely the understand the importance of the position, we’ve just made what we think are the appropriate decisions in managing our cap along the way, and trying not to overspend at certain positions and it just so happens that we’ve had pro-bowl, top 5 guys on defense and we ended up trying to keep those guys. But yes, every year we spend so much time and we’re going to do it tomorrow, too. We’re going to try to find out what somebody can bring us. What intangibles do these guys have and what can we work with to see if we can develop somebody.”

(On if drafting another center is because of Justin Britt) Carroll: “Not at all. We think Justin played great last year, and really in his first year there, he did a really good job. I think the comment I would make about this, is if you noticed when guys came to their next contract, we had to move along. And that’s happened a few times to us because of the cap issues and we like the guys that we’ve picked over the years, but they’ve had to move on just because of the numbers they were able to generate in the free market. That’s what happened to Russell [Okung] and Sweez (J.R. Sweezy) and Max [Unger], we’ve seen they get to a point where we’ve had to move. But that’s because of other decisions we made and you have to give and take a little bit. We would like really, would hope with this young group we have right now, we would like to keep these guys together and really build with them, see if we are able to do that, because we think we really have a nice nucleus right now. They’re just so darn young. This is the youngest offensive line in the NFL last year, and we might still be the youngest as we move just one year ahead, but at least we are banking a lot of good experience for these guys and continuity that it takes. We really think we can develop these guys. We’re really excited about it.”

Schneider: “Pete brought up a good point, when we were doing exactly what you were talking about, looking at our offensive line board, like George Fant, where would he go in this draft? It’s amazing when you think about, if you put him right now into that, we couldn’t have projected that.”

(On four of the first five picks being defense) Schneider: “We followed the board. We spent a long, long time, we spent a lot of long hours, in that room building the board, and you have to try to stick with it.”

Carroll: “We also made two statements to go get Luke Joeckel to play for us in the offseason and [Oday] Aboushi also, those were big deals to us to get those guys in and bring some experience and bring some know-how. Those were the first things we did in the offseason was address that, so that gave us some freedom to do what we had to do, and really that was not a big year for offensive linemen. There were not many players, as you saw.”

Schneider: “And that’s why, again, with Ethan [Pocic], that’s why he was so important to us, because it’s almost like he had a couple guys.”

(On Ethan Pocic comparing himself to Justin Britt) Carroll: “Yeah, they’re about the same size, they got the same kind of quickness the same kind of smarts. They really are very close and we’ve already seen Justin’s ability to play spots. That’s a big deal to us right now and we’re really excited about it.”

(On why Pocic didn’t rise up earlier) Carroll: “I don’t know. We just felt fortunate that he didn’t. As John said, we were all just hanging on to our opportunity and the hopes that we could get him. It was as really big deal for us to get him.”

(On Shaquill Griffin insisting his brother get a scholarship) Carroll: “He didn’t bring it up on the phone call for us. This guy is a really unique person and like John said, the attitude and his approach to he game, his approach to life, it comes through. For him to make that kind of statement, he has a big heart and it makes sense.”

Schneider: “I think he had like 14 visits or something like that, so we were really worried about if he was going to make it to us. It’s like trying to figure out where we could take him. The kid is like, he’s pretty cool.”

(On if they saw the combo of size and speed in Griffin in many other cornerbacks) Schneider: “Well he was one of the faster ones, for sure. Delano, he’s shoot, 220 pounds, he ran like 4.44 at the combine and has really good movement skills. Really good ball skills.”

(On Nazair Jones) Carroll: “Really fired up about that pick. John did a great job to nail him. He’s a big, if you look back at the guys we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of big three techniques. That‘s because we load up and play that running game in our division in particular. We’re hoping he’s going to fit that mold. You go back, you got some names that you can dig out that are big guys. He’s right there. Line of scrimmage guy, early down player, good technique guy, plays hard. Another young guy just coming into it, has amazing stories, as I’m sure you guys are already picking up on. We’re really excited about him. He really fits that role to kind of fit in the division, play that three technique, big and heavy. He’ll be able to play five technique as well, he’s really long and tall. We’re upping our depth and making it challenging and competitive. I think it was a great pick. I love it.”

(On McDowell versus Jones) Schneider: “They are every different. Malik probably has the ability to go out and play end more than Naz [Nazair Jones] does, Naz looks more like a defensive tackle, and Malik looks like a…”

Carroll: “Yeah, Naz is a strong , thick guy and Malik is more slippery, more active, moves really well when we move and stunt and all that. He’s really savvy on the move, so they’re really different style, and we love that.”

(On Nazair Jones’ backstory) Schneider: “He had a ton to overcome, he really did. I couldn’t tell you exactly the name of the disease, but it’s really scary, but he got it back and he worked hard and was supposed to be a really highly recruited guy but then he wasn’t. He’s one of those guys that we talk about, adding guys who overcome obstacles in their life, and it’s pretty admirable how they did that. I got a text last night form him, or they probably texted every GM in the league, but he was working out at 12:33 or whatever, like ‘the grind is on,’ or something like that.”

(On the most effective way to reach guys when consistency is in question) Carroll: “It’s always starting to get to know the guys and figure them out. It’s the term, ‘learn the learner.’ We have to figure out who the kid is, dig into him, and then make the connections that will really hit home. There’s a number of different ways, it just depends on the individual, but we will not stop. We compete like crazy to figure the kid out, and that’s, you have to communicate, you have to be straight up and once you do that, then we kind of develop the strategy of how we’re going to work with them. We’ve already started that. That’s why John visited him and we’ve talked to him at the combine, just to get to know him as much as we could. The coaches have done a great job to get to the point where we think we can really make sense and reach this kid. We think we know him well enough to know that. We invested a lot to figure that out and that’s why we were so committed to getting this done. Really the movement in this draft to make that pick, I don’t know, we picked up four other picks and still got the guy that we wanted to get. It was a phenomenal opportunity.

(On how much veterans like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett help guys with effort issues) Carroll: “Good leadership, that’s what we’re counting on. We’re counting on our guys to communicate with them and challenge them and show them the way and all of that. Our guys have already shown that they like doing that and they’re quick to try to help a guy along.”

(On Amara Darboh) Schneider: “He’s young in football and looks like a professional wide receiver. That’s probably the most amazing thing about his story. He’s got, we see him as a blue grit kid that has overcome a ton in his life. I’ve never met anybody from Iowa that I didn’t like, he was living in Des Moines, Iowa [laughing]. No, he’s really a good route runner, he’s got really good ball skills, he’ll block, he’ll play on teams. He’s one of those kids that just checks off all those boxes and there’s still a lot out there in front of him. He’s a very respectful, very articulate kid who has been through a ton.”

(On how much they talked to Darboh about his childhood) Schneider: “He was one of those guys that we were kind of laying the weeds a little bit and they give you so much information on him and he checks so many boxes, that he was one of those guys that you didn’t really have to spend a ton of extra time on.”

(On what that said about Darboh) Carroll: “The guy has a great story and he went through a lot. He’s come through as such an amazing kid and that tells you a lot about a guy. Like John said, we like those stories, that background that makes these kids who they are. These guys have brought their story with them. Nazair brought his story with him and his life, it’s part of his makeup.”

(On if Darboh’s pro-style scheme at Michigan will help) Carroll: “Coach Harbaugh does a great job. It’s a good scheme fit to see those guys in pro-style”

Schneider: “He’s a really good route runner, you can see it. It’s so refreshing when you sit down and you watch them run routes. You’re like, thank God, he’s really running a slant.”

(On taking so many players from Harbaugh at Michigan) Carroll: “He’s a great coach. He knows how to get the most out of people. Look what he did at that program, look how he turned it around. He did a fantastic job, which is no surprise. He’s done a great job everywhere he has been and the style of play really helps us, and we appreciate the opportunity to evaluate guys. The offensive line, with the spread passing game and all that stuff, as we talked about in the past, we don’t see guys coming off the rock like we like. We have to project how it’s going to be. Again, for Pocic, they’re a downhill running team. We see all the style that we need to see, we saw really a great product coming out of their program and the kind of makeup that we love to see. That really helped us really trust and believe in the kid.”

(On how close the Huskies cornerbacks were to being on their board) Carroll: “Really good players. Really good group. Very talented and with good character and all that kind of stuff, it just didn’t work out right, as it happens sometimes. But they’re really good, they’re going to make their impact around the league. Great that they showed respect with the young guy that got hurt. It just didn’t happen for us.”

John Schneider and Pete Carroll talk about the Seahawks draft – Seattle Times

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