Seahawks add RB, DT depth in Day 2
Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft was all about options for the Seahawks.
Not just when it came to selecting players in the second and third rounds on Friday, but also with the players they selected – Texas A&M running back Christine (pronounced Christian) Michael and Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill.
While Michael is an addition at a position of strength, Hill provides needed depth and some pass-rush ability for the interior of a defensive line that lost Alan Branch and Jason Jones in free agency.
"You can't go through drafts and passing on talents like Michael," general manager John Schneider said when asked about taking a player in the second round who is not expected to start. "When you start doing that is when, in my opinion, you start making a lot of mistakes."
Offered coach Pete Carroll, "I don't think we really looked at it in that way, that we have to get guys that are going to start. I look at it as hoping that we can add a competitive nature to the position and then that will bring out the best in everybody.
"Each one of the guys that we've picked, we see something in there that will add to that."
The Seahawks will enter Saturday's third day of the draft with 10 picks after adding two more in trading down six spots in the second round with the Baltimore Ravens – one in the fifth round and another in the sixth – before selecting Michael. They already had eight third-day picks.
"We're looking forward to this. This has been a great area of the draft for us," Carroll said, referring to the selections of All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor, linebackers K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith and guard J.R. Sweezy on the third day of the past three drafts.
"We're going in very optimistically that we're going to come up with some good stuff and terrific kids."
Carroll also added, "And we won't forget that thing that's the exciting part of this draft is that we really do think that Percy was our first-round pick."
That would be Percy Harvin, the receiver/runner/returner who was acquired last month from the Minnesota Vikings in a three-pick deal – which included the Seahawks' pick in Thursday night's first round. The Seahawks did not see a better offensive player – and more diverse offensive player – in this draft class. The actions of the other teams underlined that belief, as only five skill-position players were taken in the first round.
The selection of Michael caught some off-guard, because the Seahawks already have All-Pro back Marshawn Lynch and added backup Robert Turbin in the fourth round of the draft last year. But Michael was the highest-rated player on the Seahawks' draft board when they made the 62nd pick overall, his physical style is a good complement to Lynch and Turbin and there is an opening for a third back after Leon Washington was released last month.
"We want this position loaded up," Carroll said. "The chance to get another good, strong, tough guy like he is just adds to the theme of what we're trying to present as a team. … To have this consistency in the makeup of the guys is a good thing for us."
Offered Schneider, "He's our kind of runner. He's a tough, intense, up-field, one-cut guy. A very good football player."
Michael also has had a couple of serious injuries – a torn knee ligament that ended his 2011 season and a broken leg that ended his 2010 season. But the Seahawks checked him out thoroughly and had Michael in for a pre-draft visit. As they were preparing to make the selection, Schneider huddled with Sam Ramsden, the team's director of health and player performance, for an extended period in the draft room.
"He's overcome an ACL and came back," Schneider said of Michael rushing for 12 touchdowns in a situational role last season. "He's a really cool player."
Matt Berry scouts the Southwest region for the Seahawks, and he also likes the selection – again, for the obvious reasons.
"He's a really explosive back," Berry said. "One cut, downhill, runs through arm-tackles. Real good balance on contact. He's just an explosive NFL back. He's got a lot of talent. It jumps off the tape."
The Seahawks ran the ball more than any team in the NFL last season (536 times), and Carroll wants to continue running the ball with authority – and production – even as the offense becomes more balanced in Russell Wilson's second season as the quarterback.
"We know how we want to run it. We know the style we'd like to bring," Carroll said. "We don't need to take a step back at any time when these guys come off the bench, so I think it gives us great depth and really the consistency that we can really build on.
"We hammered pretty good this year, and we hope to continue that."
The Seahawks also saw something that was needed, and that they could not pass on, with Hill. So much so that Schneider said they would have consider drafting him in the second round if Michael had not been there.
"Defensive tackle was definitely a need for us, adding depth to the position," Schneider said. "That was the one spot that, quite honestly, when you're putting it together you're a little nervous that maybe you're pushing players because of a need."
But they didn't feel that way about Hill, because of what he brings and how he brings it.
Asked to describe his game, Hill offered, "I'm a guy that plays with a high motor. I just want to get after it each and every play. I just love playing football and I love to compete."
No wonder Carroll likes him so much. And Hill has an on-field personality that also is easy to like.
"It's really everything to my game because just of the way I out-work the guy in front of me, how much work I put into it studying film and stuff like that and just my relentless play," he said. "Whenever you work that hard at something you're bound to succeed."
Just as Schneider and Carroll feel they've improved an already good team with the additions of Michael and Hill.
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