Seahawks Insider

Seahawks continue to hone their chase of UDFAs

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on May 8, 2014 at 8:30 am with 11 Comments »
May 11, 2014 3:00 pm

When the draft lights go out, Pete Carroll picks up the phone.

Just thinking about this makes him smile, pushing up the crinkles in his 62-year-old face. It’s a flashback to a feeling he had while running the nation’s most successful college football program at USC. He’s recruiting all over again. The chase is on.

The oodles of undrafted free agents are pursued with haste after Mr. Irrelevant is selected with the final pick of the draft. With the draft concluded, Carroll is now working inside of an approximately 90-minute window.

General manager John Schneider and his scouting department have treated these free agents the same as other draft picks. The research has been extensive for multiple reasons.

First, the Seahawks see young (and inexpensive) players as a core focus. Tuesday, Carroll talked about how just last season he thought the team was fresh at the end of the year because of extensive use of young players.

They also want to be able to have facts accompany their pitch when Carroll starts dialing. The Seahawks put together and sent to agents a brochure covering how much undrafted free agents have played for them since 2010. Inside are charts showing how much undrafted free agents play during the preseason (Seattle is tops in the league), plus the average playing time of undrafted defensive players (Seattle is fifth) and offensive players (Seattle is again first).

“We really do believe that young guys can make it,” Carroll said. “We believe we can find special qualities guys have based on the way we go about it. We not just trying to throw guys into the wolves and see if they can make it. Give them a chance to do what they do well, show us where they fit, then we’ll build on their strengths. That’s been a long commitment that we’ve had. It also helps us win.”

For instance, the Seahawks assigned a sixth-round grade to wide receiver Doug Baldwin in 2011. Once the draft was over, and he was not selected, they were immediately on the phone with him.

It’s not just the possibility that a guy can stick. The Seahawks need to fill out a full rookie mini-camp roster, which consists of around 50 players.

As Seattle grapples with big signings and the salary cap, the development of younger (and, again, inexpensive) players will be crucial. Like recruiting brings Carroll back to campus, so does the pursuit of developing younger players.

“I found dedication to the younger guys was really crucial, we carried that over,” Carroll said. “John and I talked about that when we first got together. He was so surprised I was so committed to young guys. A lot of teams don’t utilize that philosophy to put them out there because they’re afraid they’re going to make mistakes. We’ve kind of force fed our guys with a plan. That really did shift when I was in charge at SC.”

So, the sales pitch goes something like this: “We won the Super Bowl because, in part, we were willing to let young, undrafted players compete. We’ll give you the same shot.”

Come Saturday night, Carroll will have his dialing fingers ready.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. FleaFlicker says:

    Todd, aren’t teams talking to agents ahead of the draft (“we like your guy, don’t think he’ll get his name called, and if that’s the case we’re very interested”)?

    Granted, a UDFA doesn’t technically exist until that last pick is announced, but I’d be surprised if the FO is not greasing the wheels ahead of time. Is that right or wrong? Maybe there’s some CBA rule which prevents those kinds of conversations?

  2. pabuwal says:

    Something very underrated about Carroll is reflected in this quote –

    “Give them a chance to do what they do well, show us where they fit, then we’ll build on their strengths.”

    They are able to buy low on young, physically talented players that have obvious deficiencies and work around and in most cases improve those deficiencies.

    This is something Duke pointed out as Carroll’s strength way back in 2010-2011 (I’m not sure how he knew that) and it’s been the key to the development of the Defense through the years.

  3. SaigonSun says:

    I took today and tomorrow off to enjoy the draft . I am starting to feel we’ll trade out of the first round and I’ll wait in vain till the end….

  4. montanamike2 says:

    They already passed out fliers from the Seahawks org. It’s telling a bunch of players the same thing, and we now have a perception that you’ll get a shot no matter what.

  5. montanamike2 says:

    I’m not going to be glued to it until we’re up and then find out we traded down. Depends who’s there i suppose.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    pabuwal – It was simply a feeling I had from studying his defensive schemes at USC, and what he was asking his players to do.

  7. pabuwal says:

    I took the Vegas bet at nearly 3:1 that Clowney won’t be the first pick.

    But I’m thinking what happens is that Houston drafts Clowney number 1 and then trades him later to Atlanta for extra picks provided the player they covet (Manziel?) is still there.

  8. BobbyK says:

    That’s probably a good bet.

  9. montanamike2 says:

    Clowney gives up on a play if it breaks down or doesn’t appear for him, Physical freak that can be coached up or another bust.

  10. this part of their philosophy obviously becomes so much more important now that we’ve necessarily started paying some big salaries out to our stars.

  11. Skavage says:

    Pabs I’m right there with you on the draft/trade scenario for Clowney. I’m just not sure it’s with Atlanta. Atlanta’s certainly a possibility but I think they might be reluctant to give up a slew of draft picks for him considering their needs.

    My outside very-very-long-shot of a straight trade pre-pick is the Niners giving up most of their draft this year and part next year for the rights to pick Clowney.

    I’ve been feeling like Harblow and Balke might be a little worried about their window closing before they can replace some of their “aging” stars and it’s really hard for me to look past their d-line as being first in line for an upgrade. Not to mention Smith’s off field issues that could cost them dearly by mid-season.

    I know it would smell of desperation but I just have this weird feeling. I hope to hell I’m wrong, but if they had one more elite d-lineman that could cover up their problems in the secondary. Of course they could choose to keep their picks and go for multiple DB’s and DL’s but Harblow’s never been terribly comfortable playing his youngsters imo, and I just can’t get past the fact that I think he’s close to panicking after watching his arch nemesis win the SB.

    There’s just these little signs that he’ll want to make a massive push this year. His ego. His contract situation. The (supposed) issues with the FO. His roster aging at critical positions. The time is now for the niners or it might be a few more years.

    I’m probably totally wrong but what the hell, we all gotta stick our neck out sometime in life. :)

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