Found April 20, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Surprise, Surprise! Seattle’s do-it-all crew that includes Pete Carroll, John Schneider, and their entire scouting and management staff have made a recent living on selecting surprise picks in the NFL Draft that seem to find quite the success at the NFL level. From the surprise selection of Bruce Irvin in last year’s draft to various mid- to late-round selections–Richard Sherman in 2011–Seattle has seen some of their best play come from players that were originally thought to be potential busts/non-factors at the next level. And while draft analysts may be pulling out their hair about how to evaluate a Seattle draft from now on (just look at how much they had to change their recent draft grades for the Seahawks at the end of the season), fans of the northwest’s best have come to love and be acquainted with the genius that is Seattle’s front office. That being said, as mentioned previously, it has become very tough for anybody to really pinpoint a player that would best be suited for the Seahawks. For, even though they may appear to be loading up a position or selecting a player that doesn’t fit an exact need, there seems to be a method to Carroll’s and Schnedier’s madness. There still are, however, plenty of “experts” that continue to try to pinpoint the exact players Seattle will draft each year. This year is no different, except in the fact that the Seahawks already have a lot of the pieces they need to build off an extremely successful season. In fact, for the first time in a few years, Seattle brings to the table a very strong roster that is already stacked with talent, likely resulting in many of the drafted players to sit behind starters for another year or two. Taking all of this into account and noting the roller-coaster draft process that Schneider and Carroll seem to go through each year, here are a few surprise picks the Seahawks could go with this year. Kenjon Barner has the tools to succeed. (Photo: kval.com) Kenjon Barner – RB – Oregon Seattle currently has the talent of Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, and even Percy Harvin who can contribute at the running back position. And though they seem loaded with the players to move them forward in the future, the Seahawks could very well select Kenjon Barner, a running back from Oregon, with one of their first few picks of the draft. As has been shown in recent years, Carroll loves competition. The addition of Barner would not only be a move to elevate the competition level between players, it would also be a fantastic move for the future, as Barner has shown he has the strength and ability to succeed at the next level. Though he needs to work on running through the tackles instead of pushing it to the outside, Barner is undoubtedly one of the sleeper picks in the draft the Hawks could go with. Dallas Thomas – OL – Tennessee Though they may have a ton of youthful talent along their offensive line, the Seahawks still have a lot of work to do before they can be happy about that position group. Especially with some of the players looking towards a bigger paycheck in the near future that will be hard to sustain, Seattle could look at Dallas Thomas as a viable option in the draft. Rated as the 13th-best tackle by nfldraftscout.com, Thomas may be a great pickup for the Seahawks as he may see his stock suffer because of a torn labrum he is still rehabbing from. Kyle Long – OL – Oregon I know, I know, another Duck. But this pick makes a lot of sense. Kyle Long is one of those guys who is just starting to be appreciated for all the talents that he could bring to the football field. Though he has had issues off the field, he looks to have passed his troubles and definitely has the blood in him to succeed at the NFL-level. Son of Howie Long, Long is an extremely physical and impressive looking offensive linemen who could become one of the best surprises of the 2013 NFL Draft. Tyrann Mathieu – DB – LSU Earlier this month my colleague here at NWSB Jordin suggested this pick. I second that motion. This may be the most surprising pick the Seahawks could make in the draft this year considering Mathieu’s off-field troubles and Seattle’s talent at the position. That being said, with the recent success of Sherman Brandon Browner, and Earl Thomas, the Seahawks will once again have to pony up a potential large sum of money to keep all their talented players on the roster.  Mathieu presents Seattle with an economical option that may pan out in the future if all his troubles are behind him. Though there will always be doubt surrounding his character, maybe a city like Seattle is just the place for Mathieu to make his comeback. Ryan Swope – WR- Texas A&M Seattle needs to focus on OLB and OL but may very well swipe in and get Ryan Swope for a viable option at wide receiver in the future. One of the biggest surprises at the combine, Swope demonstrated tremendous athletic ability, running a 4.34 40 while looking pretty good in his field drills. Though he suffered an injury at the Senior Bowl, he was a reliable receiver for the Aggies and helped their rise towards the end of the season. He can separate himself from defensive backs and could be an economical option at receiver for the Hawks in the future. IMPORTANT NOTE: These are supposed to be surprise picks. Take them with a grain of salt. They are meant to be surprising considering the trend of Carroll and Schneider in recent years. That being said, feel free to mock my mock picks! 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