Lessons Learned from Seattle Seahawks', John Schneider's 2012 Draft Strategy

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 27, 2012

RENTON, WA- CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, John Schneider of the Seattle Seahawks poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Seattle finished the 2011 season at 7-9 after a 2-6 start, and that was with an injured quarterback and piecemeal offensive line. The plan put in place by general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll seems to be taking, as the Seahawks are young, aggressive, and enthusiastic on both sides of the ball. What angles would Schneider play in the draft to try to catch the suddenly dominant 49ers?

The Seahawks will trust their talent evaluation over any consensus views

Sure, there have been reports that Bruce Irvin would have went in the top 20 if the Seahawks hadn't taken him, but the pick still went against the grain of every single mock draft and player ranking available anywhere in the football media. The team's choice of James Carpenter in the first round of the 2011 draft was equally unexpected.

Irvin's status as the best pure speed rusher in the draft and the Seahawks need for that skill to complement starting defensive end Red Bryant made him an excellent fit, one that more of us should have noticed in hindsight.

The Seahawks don't buy into the stress on quarterback height

After giving Matt Flynn ten million guaranteed dollars in free agency, the Seahawks still couldn't resist taking Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round. Wilson's leadership, winning ways, production, accuracy, and athleticism are all exactly what the NFL is looking for in a quarterback. His 5'11" height isn't. 

The Seahawks against-the-grain could pay off big if Wilson can defy his height limitation a la Drew Brees. Even if Flynn hits, having two good young quarterbacks is a problem every franchise would like to have. With the scarcity of starting quality quarterbacks in the NFL, this bold move may end up being one of the steals of the 2012 draft.

Seattle has a great relationship with Utah State

Getting to know coaches and other key staff of college programs is an important part of the draft process. NFL teams depend on them for access to information that the general public doesn't hear or read. No one knows the "real story" on a college player better than his coaches. 

The Seahawks scouts and other key decision makers must have a lot of trust and respect for the Utah State program, because they treated it as a farm team in this draft. Second round linebacker Bobby Wagner has the inside track to start at middle linebacker, and fourth round running back Robert Turbin is likely to be Marshawn Lynch's primary backup, or even start if Lynch is suspended for his DUI arrest.