Granted, the Seattle Seahawks may not have hit a home run in the NFL Draft, but I think all the preliminary conclusions of them having the worst draft in the league is way premature and not necessarily all that accurate. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but it’s largely based on the fact that I think their first round selection — Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter — is going to develop into a really fine player in the NFL. Just because the media had been talking up Gabe Carimi as a better OT prospect throughout the pre-draft evaluation process doesn’t mean he’s uh, actually better. The Seahawks remember just hired former Raiders head coach Tom Cable to coach their offensive line, and though Cable may not have the ideal personality to be a head coach, the man knows a thing or two about evaluating talent along the offensive line. Anyway, Pete Carroll doesn’t want to hear that the Seahawks’ draft was a bust. He loves it and believes it’s exactly what the team needed to do.
Carroll joined 950 KJR in Seattle to talk about what the coaching staff is able to do now that the lockout has been reinstated, what they were able to accomplish during the short window last week when the lockout was lifted, his assessment of the Seahawks’ NFL Draft, how they had James Carpenter graded higher than the other remaining tackles available, how Carpenter and their second round pick John Moffitt should immediately help shore up the team’s offensive line, Moffitt’s future being at right guard with Seattle, and how they considered taking a quarterback in round one, specifically Andy Dalton who they thought very highly of.
With the lockout back in place, what can he and the rest of the coaching staff do exactly moving forward while they wait for a resolution to the labor impasse:
“Well we had been preparing for the OTAs and the work that we could normally do. We had finalized all the preparation for the mini-camp that would be a weekend from now, so all of that work is done, we’ve got it all nailed. So what happens now is the coaches get a little bit of a break. If the stay is upheld, then the coaches get a little bit of a break here and then we’ll come back next week and start working on this schedule for next season — and we’ll get some bonus time in here where we can do that. So, just like when we had bonus time for this draft, we have a little extra time because there’s just fewer hours spent with the players and on the field and all that. So we just turn that into looking and getting prepared as we go down the road.”
If he can speak to how long he think it might take to get a training camp and other practice scheduling in place were the lockout to be lifted sometime soon:
“Well let me give you an example — when it was lifted for a few hours the other day, we had about a ten minute meeting with the staff and it was like ‘okay, everybody get ready to just crank it up, burn those phones up, get everything sent out, get the word out that we want the players to come by the area.’ I mean, we cranked it up. Within about a half hour, we were a machine pumping out stuff to everybody because we knew it could close at any time. So we did a great job — players came in to the training room and up to the coaches’ offices and hung out, we talked to everybody on the roster that we could get a hold of — and guys were all over the country, you know. So we just wanted to let them know that we’d do whatever we can, it was just about competing in our minds. And we had a great day in there. It must have been on Friday I guess it was. So that was pretty cool. And so with that though, if we were able to go, we could, other than just the travel issues, we could get it cranked up and get it rolling. One of the concerns now for the players is we have to find out where their conditioning level is, and we need a little bit of time to assess that and make sure we don’t over do it with guys that have not had they kind of prep that they would normally have at this time. So we have to be a little bit more cautious in that regard, and we’re going to certainly do that, that’s a major concern. But the teaching, the mental side, all of the stuff that we can get going, we would jump into it and we would be ready to have a mini-camp next weekend. So if we had that opportunity, then we’re ready to go.”
On how he would assess the Seahawks’ NFL Draft:
“Well let me just say this — you can only see the work of this part of the offseason work in terms of personnel beacuse that’s all we’ve had a shot to work on. As we go through the opportunity of free agency to compliment what’s happened, we have a huge plan in mind, and we feel like we were able to stay exactly on course with what we wanted to get done. So the players that we chose were players that we had particularly tied together with the personnel department and the coaches; we worked hand in hand, considerably more so than last year. And we made clear decisions on the guys we wanted based on their personality, based on their background, based on their physicality, and we feel great about the guys we have. So regardless of what other people’s evaluations are and all the rest, we were able to nail this thing. There were a couple of chances that could have come up if things had fell differently, but we had kind of orchestrated in our mind of how this thing could go, and it really hit on course. So we’re thrilled about it and looking forward to it and getting our guys plugged in. Every guy that we have has a specific role to fill that we had in mind, and we had them set up to go here and fit in and all that. So we’re thrilled about it and that’s really all that matters right now.”
On the decision to draft James Carpenter in round one, and why the Seahawks evaluated him as a better prospect than guys like Gabe Carimi and Derrek Sherrod who were still on the board when they selected:
“Well we think he has a compactness to him — you know, an athletic make-up — that allows him to have really flexible ankles and hips. He can get down underneath guys even though he’s a monster of a kid. He’s very aggressive in his nature, he wants to attack and wants to drill guys, wants to play with a real physical nature in the running game — which is exactly what we wanted to pick up. He’s a no-nonse football dude that can’t wait to get here and get working. So we fit it all together and we liked him more than the other guys.And that’s just our opinion on it. It’s not that we didn’t study the other guy, we just didn’t listen to what other people said. We did our homework and thought we really dug in and found the guy that was just right for us. And we followed up with John Moffitt — I don’t know if you’ve heard him speak or if you’ve got any information on John yet. But John is a hard-nosed, tough, blue collar, physical dude that’s serious in his business, is all about football. So that was really important to us to get the attitude guys and the physical guys that could fit in to what we wanted to get done. Now, other teams look at guys differently, but that’s how we saw both those two.”
If he sees second round pick John Moffit playing right guard in the immediate future:
“Yeah we like the looks of him playing right guard and Carpenter playing right tackle.”
If there was any consideration to taking either Colin Kaepernick or Andy Dalton with their first round pick:
“We had really gone into tremendous depth with the quarterbacks to know what we were getting or to know what we were giving up if we didn’t get them. And we had to make decisions based on what’s going on now, what’s going to happen in free agency, all of the other factors that go into it. I think both those kids are good players; they’re totally different athletes and style of play, and everything about them is totally on different ends of the spectrum. But they’re both really good players and have a high end. And Andy Dalton is a guy we felt was a really classy football player, had accomplished a tremendous amount during his college years, and certainly we had gone into I can’t tell you how much depth with how much we were going to give up if we didn’t take him. But we had a mindset that we needed to get this thing started up front and it didn’t matter who was playing quarterback. So that’s how we looked at it.”
On if he’s a coach that is (theoretically speaking) willing to ‘mortgage the future’ in order to acquire the right quarterback even if it costs one or more first round picks or what not in order to make the acquisition:
“For that position yes. If he’s the right guy and can really lead you and command the position like the great players have been able to do, then it’s totally worth it. That player being available is a whole different question — is there somebody out there that is like that? But it is so important that whatever it takes to get the guy, you get him in my mind. And John feels the same way about that. But whether there’s somebody available to even have the chance to go that far, that’s a whole different story. But yeah, I think that position stands out above all of the rest so much so that if you’ve got a guy that’s been there and know can do it, that can sit and matchup with the players that you have, then you’ve got to do what you can do to go get it done.”