RENTON -- Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said Monday the team has reduced the number of prospects that will populate its draft board for the 2018 NFL Draft.
And while neither Schneider or head coach Pete Carroll said it directly, the implication is that such a change in focus is almost certainly a reaction to their failed selection of defensive tackle Malik McDowell last year.
"You evaluate your drafts all the time. You're constantly evaluating what you think you did well, what you need to improve on. I think one of the things we've done is it's really cleaned up. We don't have quite as many names on our board," Schneider said. "You have to have certain criteria to be on our board and we're making less excuses for players, I would say."
McDowell had several concerns coming out of Michigan State last year but the Seahawks were enamored with his ability to fill a specific need as a pass rushing defensive tackle.
"He's too unique," Schneider said of McDowell during last year's draft. "We've been looking for a pass-rushing 3-technique since (he and coach Pete Carroll) have been here together."
However, that vision was never realized as McDowell was seriously injured in an ATV accident last July before the start of training camp and missed the entire 2017 season. His status is still uncertain with a recent report indicating the Seahawks plan to release him in the near future.
"We don't have an update that makes us have a call of how we're going to deal with this yet. It's not available to us so we just have to keep waiting," Carroll said.
Added Schneider: "There's a lot of stuff we just can't get into. It's a really unfortunate situation on both sides."
"We haven't had a good update in a longtime," Carroll said.
To be clear, Carroll and Schneider did not invoke McDowell's situation in discussing the decision to trim down the number of prospects on their draft board. However, the fact that their top pick burned them so significantly a year ago undoubtedly effected their thought process.
Schneider did acknowledge character issues being among the red flags that the team more adequately needed to shift through moving forward.
"Sometimes you can make excuses in all those different areas because of a guy's specific skill set," Schneider said.
"There's so much information on every individual. Like I said, the medical portion, the orthopedic portion, the psychological portion, all the testing that goes into this, the functional movement stuff. At some point, the character stuff, there's red flags usually on everybody but what happens is you end up kind of ignoring some of those red flags if you feel like you have a specific need or a fit for a player. I think it's happened in the past, it will probably happen in the future but you just want to limit those."
Schneider made note that the process of putting together their draft board is an 11-month endeavor. He indicated that they got to a point where they, perhaps subconsciously, didn't remove certain players from the draft board because of the large amount of work their scouts and personnel staff had put in to evaluate specific prospects. After evaluating their decision-making, they focused in on focusing in on a smaller set of players that more sufficiently fit their criteria and are attempting to reign in the fringes of their evaluations.
"Our process and our guys doing the evaluations were working so hard and digging into so many guys. We had evaluations on tons and tons of guys and in that we kind of - in respect to the work that we did - we kept them alive and kept them on the board and gave them a chance to be part of the process, but we've just refined it much more so," Carroll said.
Added Schneider: "When you kind of talk about making excuses a little bit for guys... when the area scouts, like Pete said, are working on these guys for 10-11 months. They get to know them so well, they have so much passion for them it's kind of hard to be like 'look, we're not going to deal with that. Sorry. The guy is not going to be on our board."
Carroll: Colin Kaepernick still a possibility for Seahawks:
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that the team has not ruled out the possibility of adding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"We're still battling on all fronts on all guys," Carroll said. "We're still looking at guys and evaluating. There's still free agents that we continue to look at and in that the process just continues. At this point, we've gone through the information gathering and we kind of have a pretty good feel for where we are and it's ongoing. We're not done with that decision at all. We're still watching it."
Seattle has added journeyman Stephen Morris and re-signed Austin Davis to serve as the three quarterbacks on their roster at this stage of the offseason. The team was set to host Kaepernick for a workout in the coming weeks. However, those plans were scuttled for reasons that remain uncertain as Kaepernick's camp and the Seahawks have given conflicting accounts.
Kaepernick's camp, presumably, leaked that the workout had been scratched due to the Seahawks reportedly wanting to have an answer from him regarding whether he will continue to kneel in protest during the national anthem. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have relayed that they wanted to know what his ongoing off-field plans were moving forward.
"I think that kind of got blown up like that was a big marker," Carroll said. "I think we've been working at this thing for some time now so I don't think that's really as telling as it came across. We're aware of him. He's a fine football player. There may be a place for him, we're not sure where that fits yet."
When asked how much Kaepernick's protest would effect their pursuit of signing him, Carroll replied "everything is important. We're taking everything into account to make the decisions that we make. It's no different for the quarterback spot or any other position that we're considering."
Kam Chancellor to have scan before training camp:
Strong safety Kam Chancellor will have scans done in late June or early July to determine the status of the neck injury that has brought his playing career into doubt.
Chancellor was injured in a November game against the Arizona Cardinals and did not play the rest of the season. The injury has left his playing future uncertain though he's indicated he wants to keep playing.
The scans will give the team an indication of what Chancellor's chances of playing will be. Having given Chancellor a new contract prior to last season, the team is committed to paying Chancellor a significant portion of money this season whether he's playing or not. However, they won't clear Chancellor to play if the issue puts him at risk of serious injury if he continues to take the field.
Photo Credit: General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll discuss the Seahawks first day of the 2016 NFL Draft. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)