|National Football League|
Seattle gets very defensive in 2012 NFL draft
By TIM BOOTH
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Jaye Howard was inside a mall store charging his battery-drained cellphone when the defensive tackle got the call from the Seattle Seahawks, who told him he had been taken in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
Considering how defensive focused Pete Carroll and the Seahawks were during the 2012 draft, all defensive players needed to be ready to take a call from the Northwest.
Seattle closed out the draft on Saturday with seven picks in the final four rounds. Six of those seven were used on defensive players - although seventh-round selection J.R. Sweezy will be switched from defensive tackle to offensive guard.
The Seahawks started the day by drafting Utah State running back Robert Turbin, a burly carbon of Seattle's own star Marshawn Lynch. And then all the focus went to the defense, even though that wasn't the specific plan.
"The way the draft has fallen, every time we've been getting ready to pick we've had better defensive players, not all the time, but it seems like the majority of it," Seattle general manager John Schneider said. "That's the way it seems like it has fallen so far."
Seattle followed the selection of Turbin by getting Howard, from Florida, later in the fourth-round. Then came Idaho linebacker Korey Toomer in the fifth-round; defensive backs Jeremy Lane of Northwestern State and Winston Guy of Kentucky in the sixth-round; and final round selections of Sweezy and Louisville defensive end Greg Scruggs to close out the draft.
It was a bounty of players, considering Seattle went into the draft with just six selections, but used a pair of trades to stockpile additional picks and leave the weekend with 10 new bodies.
The day started with Turbin, taken with the 106th overall selection. Listed at 5-foot-10, 222 pounds, Turbin passed the eye test at the NFL combine that followed up a regular season where he rushed for 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns. He missed the entire 2010 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee.
"I'm a balanced back. What I mean by that is that I can do a little bit of everything, not only running the ball inside, but I can run the ball outside, and catch the ball out of the backfield, and line up at receiver at times," Turbin said. "... I can do special teams. Pretty much whatever I am asked to do. My skill set it pretty broad and wide, so I'm able to do a lot of different things."
Turbin was the second player from Utah State taken by the Seahawks after taking linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round. And they were done with going to the Western Athletic Conference well when they drafted Toomer in the fifth-round out of Idaho. Continuing with the theme of versatility, Toomer did it all at Idaho. He played a pair of linebacker positions, on the defensive line in nickel situations and even saw some snaps at fullback on offense. Toomer was a second-team all-WAC selection his senior season for the Vandals after recording 68 tackles, including 10 1/2 tackles for loss and four sacks.
"With all the speed in these guys, they give us the ability to move them around, with the special teams accent that we can play with these guys," Carroll said. "I can see how you would look at it like a guy can play here and there, so it's a great group in that regard."
Versatility was also at the core of Seattle's final four selections. Guy started his career at Kentucky as a cornerback, then played a true safety position for two seasons before being moved into a hybrid safety/linebacker spot for his senior season. Even though he played at a Football Championship Subdivision school, Lane's best game in his senior season came against LSU when he had nine tackles and his only sack of the year, displaying the ability to play press coverage against top talent.
Scruggs played at defensive end, defensive tackle and even a little outside linebacker in his career at Louisville. Scruggs said the Seahawks intend to have him work at the "5" technique position behind burly defensive end Red Bryant and also provide an inside rush on passing downs.
Then there's Sweezy, who two years ago found trouble off the field that nearly ended his football career. Sweezy straightened himself out, but will go into the pros at a completely foreign position. Sweezy was worked out by Seahawks assistant head coach Tom Cable a few weeks back to see if Sweezy could potentially make the switch to the offensive line. Seattle believes he can and will bring him in to work at guard.
"Everybody since I have been playing defense would say `you'd make a great offensive lineman. You would be a this-and-that offensive lineman.' For years," Sweezy said. "... But now, somebody that I feel actually knows what they're talking about, coach Cable, says, `hey, you could play offensive line.'"
Seattle also agreed to terms with 10 undrafted free agents, including Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and Oregon receiver Lavasier Tuinei. The other eight agreements are: Phil Bates, WR, Ohio; London Durham, CB, McNeese State; Rishaw Johnson, G, California (Pa.); Sean McGrath, TE, Henderson State; Jon Opperud, T, Montana; DeShawn Shead, DB, Portland State; Monte Taylor, LEO, Cincinnati; Carson Wiggs, K, Purdue.
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Updated April 28, 2012