By Brady Henderson
RENTON – The Seahawks entered this year's draft with six picks, their fewest since 2006.
They'll head into the final day with the same amount even after their second-round selections of wide receiver Paul Richardson and offensive tackle Justin Britt.
After trading out of the first round Thursday, Seattle moved back again Friday. The net result of those deals was two additional picks that leaves the Seahawks with six over the final four rounds, where in recent drafts they've unearthed many of the gems that have become key members of their championship roster.
"We feel blessed in that regard," general manager John Schneider said Friday.
|• Round 2: WR Paul Richardson||• Round 2: OT Justin Britt||• Round 4: 108 overall (from Vikings)||• Round 4: 111 overall (from Lions)||• Round 4: 132 overall||• Round 5: 172 overall||• Round 6: 208 overall||• Round 7: 227 overall (from Lions)|
There have been two notable hits – cornerback Walter Thurmond and linebacker K.J. Wright – but more misses during the four previous drafts under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. Two of them – defensive end E.J. Wilson and receiver Chris Harper – didn't make the team as rookies. Two others – defensive tackle Jaye Howard and receiver Kris Durham – lasted only one season in Seattle.
So while the fourth round hasn't been nearly as fruitful as others for the Seahawks, on Saturday they'll have three chances to get it right.
Seattle has one pick in each of the following three rounds.
As for what the Seahawks might do with their six selections, here are five positions that could be on Seattle's wishlist:
Offensive guard. There's not necessarily a starting spot up for grabs with James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy returning. But Carpenter is entering what could be considered a make-or-break year after Seattle decided not to exercise his fifth-year option, making 2014 the final year of his rookie deal. Part of the reason that Carpenter finds himself in that situation is because of injuries – he missed 16 games over his first two seasons – which could give Seattle more reason to find another option.
Cornerback. The Seahawks have picked at least one cornerback in each of the past four drafts, and every one of them has been chosen between Rounds 4-7. There are two openings now that Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond left in free agency. Not only that, but the extensions the Seahawks gave to Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman have made their secondary awfully expensive, making it all the more important to find cost-controlled talent in the draft. Byron Maxwell is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and there's no guarantee Seattle will be able to afford him if he continues his upward trajectory.
Linebacker. Like cornerback, the Seahawks have drafted a linebacker in each of the past four years. That's one of the reasons why they currently have somewhat of a logjam at that position, with Wright, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith competing for three starting spots. But while Seattle is set in the short term, Wright and Smith are both entering contract years. In general, backup linebackers tend to contribute on special teams, which can add to that position's appeal in the later rounds.
Defensive end. Seattle isn't at all hurting for edge rushers after releasing Chris Clemons. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are both returning after leading the team in sacks a year ago. Bruce Irvin, Greg Scruggs, O'Brien Schofield and Benson Mayowa are other options. But what the Seahawks lost when they released their other starting defensive end, Red Bryant, was a run-stuffer who had no heir apparent.
Wide receiver. While the selection of Richardson will make Seattle's receiver corps a crowded one in 2014, look ahead to next offseason. Jermaine Kearse, Sidney Rice and Ricardo Lockette will be free agents, as will Doug Baldwin assuming he signs his one-year tender. Neither of the two who are currently under contract beyond next season – Percy Harvin and Richardson – are the big-bodied type that Seattle has said it likes.
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