Tuesday cyber surfing: Everybody’s talking about the draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 24:

General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll met with the media for a pre-draft Q&A session on Monday.

Marc Sessler at NFL.com passes along his five-pack of thoughts on what Carroll and Schneider had to say, including: “An initial observation: Carroll and Schneider are highly comfortable around each other. We’ve seen our share of prickly coach-GM pairings, but not here. More than once, they veered off topic into inside-joke territory, much like two friends at the bar, with Schneider at one point doing his Homer Simpson impression.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how the flexibility of the coaching staff has helped the Seahawks play younger players under Carroll: “ ‘We want to have enough flexibility to be able to embrace and encompass a guy’s uniqueness,’ Carroll said. ‘… We’re going to find a way to fit that guy in if we think he’s that special. You’ve seen it in really good examples — ‘Deuce’ (Thomas) and with Kam Chancellor. They couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum, physically, but both those guys are flourishing in our system because we’re asking them to do things that they can do. So if we said, ‘We want big safeties’ we would have never taken ‘Deuce’, and vice versa. I would like to think that’s a real strength of ours and it’s an openness to try and find a way to get a guy on our club that gives us something that other people can’t.’ So even though plenty of people have an idea of what needs the Seahawks have and what type of players they may be looking for to fill those needs, don’t be surprised if a pick or two leaves you wondering just how the Seahawks will make that player fit in. ‘We might surprise you a little bit with some of our thoughts in that regard,’ Carroll said.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune offers some of the newsier elements, starting with the injury status of just-acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud “Carroll told reporters during a pre-draft press conference Monday that Ruud is recovering from groin, knee and shoulder injuries suffered last season, but is expected to be fully healthy by training camp. Ruud played in only nine games in his only season with Tennessee last year, landing on the season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury. ‘He is working out, he’s doing a lot of stuff,’ Carroll said. ‘But we’re going to be very careful with him in bringing him back. He’s never been hurt before. This is the first year he’s ever had anything and he has three things that are bothering him, so he’s getting them all fixed.’ ”

Williams also looks at the offensive linemen and tight ends in this year’s draft class, focusing on Oregon tight end David Paulson who’s from Auburn: “Paulson is riding the wave of the proliferation of pass-catching tight ends playing a larger role in the league. ‘It helps because teams that have used the tight end are a little more versatile and have had some success with them,’ Paulson said. ‘And now other teams would like to do similar things, so I think I can fit into that role.’ ”

 
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the Seahawks’ ongoing search for a younger quarterback: “ ‘Each guy’s kind of got his own individual makeup and niche,’ Carroll said. ‘It has been a challenge in that regard. They’re all unique, but we think that there’s really good players and there’s almost one for everybody.’ Even the Seahawks? They signed Matt Flynn to a three-year contract earlier this year, and they still have Tarvaris Jackson, whom Carroll said will compete for the starting spot. And don’t forget Josh Portis, who showed promise as an undrafted rookie last year. Would Seattle still be willing to pick a quarterback, even though there’s not an obvious vacancy on the depth chart? ‘Every year we’re after quarterbacks,’ Carroll said. ‘They’re such a rare commodity that we have to do everything we can to entertain the thought that if any one of those guys comes to us, what would we do?’ “

But Art Thiel at sportspress northwest advises against talking a QB too high, with the team having more pressing needs: “Didn’t they just fix quarterback with the free-agent signing of low-mileage, high-performance veteran Matt Flynn last month? Won’t they have a substantial backup in Tarvaris Jackson, who exceeded most expectations as the starter in 2011? Is it against the Carroll house rules to have on the roster a player more than one season removed from his training wheels? I know the circumstance is tough on Carroll. Here he is, in his third draft in Seattle, and he hasn’t taken a quarterback yet. And I’ll admit to some bias on the topic. I was around for the Seahawks selections in the 1990s of Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire and Kelly Stouffer, and I remember Ryan Leaf at Washington State. First rounders, all. Football Hindenburgs.”

The divisional bloggers at ESPN.com held a mock draft, and Mike Sando worked a trade for the Seahawks with the Patriots. So instead of picking No. 12 they drop to No. 27 and select Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones: “Trading back was the plan all along. Jones has the length Seattle covets in its players on defense (think Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, etc.). Jones also fills an obvious need for a pass-rushing defensive end. Trade details: Patriots sent 27 and 31 to Seattle for 12 and 106.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at coach Pete Carroll’s desire – and plan – to continue building a more competitive roster through the draft: “Pete Carroll would like to reach the point where it will be very difficult for a draft choice to crack the Seahawks’ starting lineup, or even earn playing time. But in his third year as coach, Carroll knows his team is not there yet as the Seahawks finalized their preparation for this year’s NFL Draft – with the first round set for Thursday night, rounds two and three being conducted on Friday and the process being completed Saturday with the final four rounds. ‘That’s what we’re hoping for – we want the roster so competitive that really good draft picks are fighting for play time,’ Carroll said Monday, when he and general manager John Schneider had a pre-draft Q&A session with reporters at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘That means the guys ahead of them are better. That’s what John has been advocating since we got together – getting this roster young and competitive and we’d see the benefits of it.’ ”

We also check in with Ruud, as the players move into Week 2 of Phase 1 in the offseason program: “Ruud, 28, brings experience, familiarity with the scheme – he and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley were in Tampa together from 2006-08 – and proven productivity. He registered 100-plus tackles from 2007-10, averaging 128 over the four seasons. ‘The connection with Gus was very key to me coming here,’ said Ruud, a second-round draft choice by the Bucs in 2005. ‘Unfortunately, I was pretty banged up last year. So you kind of have to have somebody that vouches for you, has been around you a lot and knows how you can recover and how you prepare. So knowing Gus and Todd Wash (the Seahawks defensive line coach who also came from the Bucs), those guys know I work pretty hard to recover from things and they have confidence in me.’ ”

Peter King has a lot about a lot in his latest “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, including: “One of the things you’re going to hear in the run-up to Thursday night’s first round of the draft is how badly the Jacksonville Jaguars want to trade down from No. 7, which is true. And last night, one of the stories hatching around the league was that Seattle would move from 12 to seven — ahead of Miami at eight — to pick Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I think it’s unlikely, and not just because the Seahawks just bought a quarterback, Matt Flynn, in free agency, last month. Seattle doesn’t want to use up two of its three choices in the top 100 of a draft they like a lot for a quarterback they might be able to pick sitting at 12. Think of it: There’s one team that might take Tannehill between five and 11 — Miami at eight. Let’s say Seattle GM John Schneider feels there are multiple holes not at quarterback he needs to fill, and let’s say he had to throw in his third-round pick, 75th overall, to be able to draft Tannehill. That means, after taking a quarterback in free agency and budgeting $15.5 million over the next two years for Flynn, he’d have used the 12th and 75th picks to procure another quarterback. Knowing Schneider and his love of building the roster through the draft, I’m dubious. From what I heard over the weekend, the trade market up to seven is comatose, unless Jacksonville’s asking price is downright minuscule.”


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Monday cyber surfing: Launching Ben’s Fund

Good morning. Here’s what’s out about the Seahawks for today, April 16:

Steve Kelly at the Seattle Times has the story of Ben Schneider, the 10-year-old son of Seahawks GM John Schneider and his wife, Traci: “Ben was diagnosed with autism, a disease that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. ‘Once you get the diagnosis, it really kind of rocks your world,’ John said. ‘I didn’t know much about the disease. I thought it was like ‘Rain Man.’ But we had to kind of gather ourselves and figure out how to fix it.’ Thursday, at El Gaucho Bellevue, the Schneiders will be hosting ‘Prime Time,’ a celebrity waiter event that will raise seed money to launch Ben’s Fund, which in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington will provide grants to families to help them cover the cost of medical bills and therapies.”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil looks at the Seahawks’ sudden infusion of linebackers: “Of the 10 linebackers currently on Seattle’s roster, four of those are entering their eighth year in the league. Of the six linebackers entering either their second or third season, only K.J. Wright has experience as a starter. I expect Seattle to look to the draft for young legs to improve the speed of the defense. The presence of (Leroy) Hill and (Barrett) Ruud provides veteran insurance so to speak. Seattle doesn’t head into the draft feeling the pressure to draft a player ready to step in as a starter right away, but the fact that Ruud, (Matt) McCoy and Hill are all on one-year deals shows that Seattle isn’t beholden to the idea that they will be long-term starters.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has the word on ex-Seahawks QB and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer tabbing his former team as one of the possible surprises in the NFC this season and links to the video: “Dilfer, Chris Mortensen and Mel Kiper Jr. focused on several other potential surprise teams in the ‘On the clock’ video above. Dilfer explained his thinking on the Seahawks later in the segment. He likes Matt Flynn’s addition and Seattle’s ability to play pass coverage.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our draft series with a look at the running backs – and their diminishing value in the league: “The position has become “devalued,” as Bucky Brooks puts it. Brooks, the former NFL wide receiver and scout for the Seahawks, is an analyst for NFL.com. Part of the he’s-not-worthy predicament is the increase in passing around the league, but it also has to do with the short shelf life for backs. Just how many 300-carry seasons does one back have? Last season, there were two 300-carry backs in the league, and each led his conference in rushing – Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars (343 carries for 1,606 yards) and Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons (301 for 1,340). That’s down from seven 300-carry backs in 2010, which was down from 10 in 2005 – when the Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander led the NFL in carries (370) and rushing yards (1,880).”

There’s also a closer look at this year’s prospects, as well as a Q&A with Oregon’s LaMichael James.

Speaking of the draft, in general, and running  backs, in particular, Peter King touches on Trent Richardson in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com: “Jeff Fisher loves Trent Richardson, and the impact of the Rams ending up with the Alabama running back would be huge. First, the Rams would presumably either trade or release Steve Jackson if this happens. I don’t see them paying Jackson $7 million in 2012 to share the job with a player certain to eclipse him soon. And that big number takes some logical teams (Steelers, Giants) out of the running for Jackson. Now, I view this scenario as unlikely anyway, because the Rams simply have to get receiver help for Sam Bradford. But if Justin Blackmon is gone here and Richardson’s still there, he’s logical for the Rams. Of course, Cleveland likes Richardson a lot, and rookie Tampa coach Greg Schiano does too, so I don’t see Richardson making it to six.”

In this week’s issue of SI, there’s a profile on Leigh Steinberg and the former superagent’s recovery from alcoholism: “When Steinberg appears in front of his new Irvine offices on a sun-drenched afternoon, he grins and spreads his arms wide, joking, ‘Welcome to our luxurious digs!’ Self-deprecation is his preferred approach to his station — he’s standing by a Dumpster in a parking lot — but it lasts only so long. Wearing white sneakers, jeans and a long-sleeve polo shirt that, on inspection, is inside out, Steinberg walks down a dim hall and reminisces about how his old memorabilia-laden practice, on Newport Beach’s Fashion Island, doubled as ‘a museum where people would just come and stare.’ Today, if those same people could locate Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, they would stare for a different reason. SSE is currently just a DBA (‘doing business as’), not yet an official company. Steinberg occupies a small office with Tom Van Voorst, a fellow recovering alcoholic and lawyer who is also his roommate. The two met at a Sober Living facility in 2010 and now share an apartment in Laguna Niguel. Van Voorst runs errands in Steinberg’s maroon Mercury Mountaineer and fields phone calls. ‘I don’t pay him,’ Steinberg says, ‘but he gets use of the car, which you’d be totally screwed in Southern California without. And he does the cooking!’ “


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Friday cyber surfing: Hill returns, once again

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 13:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the significance of Leroy Hill agreeing to re-sign with the team on Thursday: “Leroy Hill is back with the Seahawks. Then again, he has never actually left, which is nothing short of shocking considering all that has happened the past four years. He has been injured, he has been arrested and he has entered the open market as an unrestricted free agent in three of the previous four offseasons and returned to the Seahawks every time.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com says even with Hill and Matt McCoy agreeing to one-year contracts on Thursday, the Seahawks still need to address linebacker in the NFL Draft: “Veteran Barrett Ruud, signed from Tennessee in free agency last week, provides insurance at middle linebacker after starter David Hawthorne left for New Orleans. It’s an upset, however, if the Seahawks do not seek a starting linebacker at some point in the draft.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune and John Boyle at the Everett Herald also weigh-in on Hill’s return.

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how Hill’s continuing presence on the roster is somewhat of a surprise to him: “For Leroy Hill, the 2010 NFL season was a mix of second chances and double takes.The Seahawks’ veteran linebacker did not re-sign with the team that selected him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft until July 29 and he then watched in amazement – and amusement – as middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu was released two days later and fellow outside linebacker Aaron Curry was traded in October. ‘It’s crazy. It’s unreal,’ Hill said at the time, with a smile and then a laugh, as he tried to figure out how he was still around while Tatupu and Curry were gone. ‘But it is what it is. It’s a crazy business – and I think me still being here and Lofa being gone proves it.’ ”

Also at Seahawks.com, we continue our draft series with a look at the quarterbacks, through the eyes of Jon Gruden: “Gruden is now in his fourth year as an analyst for ESPN, and doing his “Gruden’s QB Camp” where he sits down annually with the top passers in the draft class. So, who better to discuss the position as teams prepare for the April 26-28 NFL Draft? And that’s exactly what Gruden did during a conference-call interview on Wednesday. ‘There are criteria, I think, that most general managers, most head coaches, most quarterback coaches have always looked for,’ Gruden said. ‘Winning is No. 1. At No. 2, you look at durability. No. 3 is playing experience. Those are very important things to study, and you want a quarterback that has won, that’s been durable and productive. Those are the things everybody is looking for. … This class of quarterbacks, every one of these young men has unique traits.”

There’s also a closer look at the position, as well as a Q&A with Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson.

One thing the Seahawks have not addressed in free agency is coach Pete Carroll’s desire for a pass-rusher. Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com has his risers and fallers in the draft class at CBSSports.com and lists USC defensive end Nick Perry among the risers: “After Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram, the next pass rusher off the board is anyone’s guess, but a name to keep an eye on in the top-20 is Southern Cal’s Nick Perry. His wasn’t a name usually found in most first round mock drafts after he declared early for the 2012 NFL Draft, but he has been rising in draft circles since the Combine. In Indianapolis Perry turned heads with 4.58 40-yard dash, 38.5″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump and 35 reps of 225-pounds. He is a tad tightly wound, but has an excellent blend of speed and strength to beat blockers and disrupt the pocket off the edge. Perry, who led the Pac-12 in sacks last season with 9.5, was recruited to play for the Trojans by Pete Carroll and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Seahawks take him as high as the 12th overall selection.”

The do-over draft series at NFL.com has reached 2010, and Bucky Brooks gives the Seahawks center Maurkice Pouncey with the No. 6 pick rather than tackle Russell Okung: “Interior blockers are not traditionally selected within the top 10, but Pouncey has emerged as a top talent at the position (with the Steelers). He is a unique athlete with exceptional strength, quickness and movement skills, and his ability to control the middle sets the tone for the offense. While the Seahawks would love to have a premier blocker on the edge, Pete Carroll would embrace an elite talent at the pivot.”

Also at NFL.com, Jason La Canfora continues to track the activity in free agency.

Joe Vitt, an assistant coach with the Seahawks from 1982-91, will take over for suspended Saints coach Sean Payton. The Associated Press has the story: “ ‘It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season,’ Saints GM Mickey Loomis said Thursday. ‘Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed. But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach. … We considered a number of great options to handle Payton’s duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes.’ ” Loomis worked in the Seahawks’ front office before going to the Saints.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Countdown to the NFL Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 11:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com checks in with the folks at Scouts Inc. for their offseason analysis of the four teams in the NFC West, including the Seahawks and their ideal scenario in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 26: “They have to be looking at Luke Kuechly. He would be a leader of your defense and a great fit. They have to consider the rush end from USC, Nick Perry, if Pete Carroll likes him. He could be the next Chris Clemons and line up opposite him on passing downs for now. Carroll would know. You add Jason Jones with a hand on the ground at defensive tackle and Brandon Mebane or whoever next to him, and suddenly the front four can get after people. The draft will probably work out well for Seattle. Someone better than Perry will fall to them, whether it’s David DeCastro, Kuechly, Michael Floyd or even Ryan Tannehill. I think they would jump on Ryan Tannehill if he is there at No. 12 and maybe even consider moving up to seven to get him. To me, he is a franchise quarterback and they do not have one on their roster, even though they got better at the position.’ “

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with the ridiculously fast Ricardo Lockette – and his former college track coach. But in his second season, Lockette wants to become a complete receiver, not just one who has more speed than most: “The dude isn’t just football fast; Lockette is only-a-blur-as-he-blows-past-you fast. Check this resume: NCAA Division II national champion in the 200 meters at Fort Valley State in 2008 with a time of 20.6 seconds; a PR (personal record) in the event of 20.3 seconds; Georgia state sprint champion at Monroe High School in Albany; tied for third-fastest time in the 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine (4.37 seconds); a PR in that event of 4.26 seconds. And he could have been even faster. Says who? Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State who now holds the same position at South Carolina State, Price’s alma mater. ‘Ricardo was a very good track runner – very good,’ Price said Tuesday. ‘As soon as got here, you could see the potential. If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year.’ ”

Chris Burke at SI.com offers his draft needs for each NFC team, including the Seahawks: “1. Defensive end: Keeping Red Bryant was monumental for Seattle’s run-stopping ability, but he doesn’t help the Seahawks get to the QB. They need someone other than Chris Clemons capable of doing that. 2. Outside linebacker: David Hawthorne signed with New Orleans and Leroy Hill remains a free agent. Seattle did add Barrett Ruud to play the middle, but he’s currently flanked by K.J. Wright and Adrian Moten. Seattle needs better personnel out wide. 3. Cornerback: Richard Sherman had a strong rookie campaign, and Marcus Trufant’s re-signing gives Seattle viable competition between him and Brandon Browner. You can never have too much CB depth, though, especially with Trufant getting up there in years.”

At NFL.com, their series of do-over drafts is at 2008. They don’t, however, go all the way to No. 28 where the Seahawks selected defensive end Lawrence Jackson. But their video-only, beat-writer draft includes Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times selecting USC defensive end Nick Perry for the Seahawks.


Mock around the clock

Yes, we just waded into the sea of mock drafts available in cyberspace yesterday. But it’s a new day, and there are new mocks – and even some new selections for the Seahawks with the 12th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 26.

So let’s take a look:

Clark Judge, CBSSports.com (today): Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. “The loss of David Hawthrone only accentuates the need for an inside linebacker, and Kuechly is the best.”

Rob Rang, of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (yesterday): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. “Adding free agent LB Barrett Ruud and OG Deuce Lutui filled two of Seattle’s primary areas of concern with starting-caliber veterans. Those additions should allow the team to draft the best available player. The most talented player available is certainly Coples, who dominated the Senior Bowl and could provide the team with the headlining pass rusher it has lacked for years. Coples is widely viewed as a boom or bust pick due to his inconsistency but Pete Carroll is a master motivator.”

Dane Brugler, of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (yesterday): Nick Perry, DE, USC. “The Seahawks ranked in the bottom half of the NFL last season with 33.0 sacks and Seattle’s front office has yet to answer their pass rush need during the offseason. Nick Perry, who was recruited to Southern Cal four years ago (by Pete Carroll), brings an intriguing blend of strength and speed off the edge. He isn’t the most flexible athlete, but he blew up the Combine in February with a 4.58 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical leap, 10’4″ broad jump and 35 reps of 225-pounds on the bench press.”

Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com (today): Kuechly. “The Seahawks could go in a few directions at this spot, but Kuechly makes the most sense to me to QB Pete Carroll’s defense. As Carroll said to me last week, linebackers in free agency moved off the board slowly because there are some very interesting linebackers in the draft.”

Will Brinson, CBSSports.com (today): Kuechly. “Pete Carroll would love to see Quinton Coples slip all the way down to 12, but that’s a pretty deep drop for the Tar Heel. And while Carroll and Co. might not like to pay for linebackers, Kuechly is a star who would be drafted much higher if he didn’t play an undervalued position. Five years from now, people will do re-drafts and he’ll be a top-five guy.”

John McClain, Houston Chronicle (yesterday) and this one has photos to go with it: Kuechly. “No team in the league needs linebackers like the Seahawks. They might be willing to trade up to get the best inside prospect.”

Albert Breer, NFL.com (yesterday): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State. “The defensive tackle spot is muddled at the top. My guess is John Schneider goes for the guy with the best tape, which is Cox.”

Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com (today): Coples. “I loved the Seahawks’ quiet re-signing of Red Bryant, one of the most underrated producers in the game, and picking up Jason Jones for one year was a no-lose move. Coples had a monster 2011 season and a solid combine workout. He could play defensive end or rush the passer from the OLB spot. A lot of draftniks have him going in the top 10. He could be a steal at No. 12 for the pass-rush-hungry Seahawks.”


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Monday cyber surfing: Life after football

Good morning. Here’s what was “out there” about the Seahawks over the weekend and today, April 9:

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times checks in with Joe Tafoya, the former defensive lineman for the Seahawks who has formed Jump It Media with other former players: “Two years ago, Tafoya, now 33 and a computer-science major from Arizona, bought an 11-year-old Redmond mobile apps distributor. Now he’s joined forces with like-minded former Seahawks (Kerry) Carter, Chike Okeafor and Omare Lowe to form Jump It Media. Tafoya calls himself ‘The World’s Largest Nerd.’ They’re building profile applications for athletes to help them increase their brands through online channels. Among their subjects are Chicago Bears defensive end Lance Briggs and Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry.”

Josh Kerns at Mynorthwest.com has the story on Ryan Asdourian, who wants to continue in his role as Blitz despite being diagnosed with MS: “For a guy who gets paid to run around in a bird suit and give high fives, Ryan tries hard not to let MS slow him down. And he’s become a huge activist, raising money through his Team Blitz with everything from pub crawls to the annual MS Walk. ‘I go out and talk to support groups, I’ll talk to lots of people at the walk,’ he said. Asdourian is also part of a support at Microsoft where he works, ‘so we kind of make sure that everyone has the resources. That they can talk to people.’ “

The Seahawks added depth and increased the competitive level at three spots on Friday by getting contract agreements with guard Deuce Lutui, linebacker Barrett Ruud and cornerback Roy Lewis. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts, including: “Ruud, 28, was a longtime starter in Tampa Bay before signing with Tennessee last season. He played nine games for the Titans, starting all of them. But a groin injury forced him onto injured reserve. Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was with Tampa Bay when Ruud played for the Buccaneers. Bradley coached linebackers for part of Ruud’s tenure there. That connection means the Seahawks should have a good idea what they’re getting. Ruud’s arrival comes after the Seahawks watched starting middle linebacker David Hawthorne sign with New Orleans. I would expect Seattle to address linebacker in the draft as well.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at Friday’s additions: “Lutui, also 28, is the second lineman to sign with the team since the free-agency period began March 13 – joining Frank Omiyale, who started at left tackle, left guard and right tackle for the Chicago Bears and also played for Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Atlanta Falcons. The club also released veteran guard Robert Gallery, who then signed with the New England Patriots. In a 2½-week period last season, the Seahawks lost right guard John Moffitt (knee), right tackle James Carpenter (knee) and left tackle Russell Okung (pectoral) to injuries that required surgery. In their absence, Paul McQuistan (right guard and left tackle), Breno Giacomini (right tackle) and Lemuel Jeanpierre (right guard) stepped in and played well. Giacomini and McQuistan were free agents, but have been re-signed. Now, enter the Tongan-born Lutui.”

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and Chad Reuter at NFL.com takes a look at some players who weren’t invited to the Scouting Combine, including Washington State linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis (6-1, 232): “The 2011 second-team All-Pac-12 pick did not get much national exposure on a 4-8 Cougars squad. The team’s leading tackler in 2011 backed up his production, though, with a 4.54 40, 36 1/2-inch vertical and 36 bench reps at his pro day.”

At SI.com, Peter King looks at the haves and have nots at the top of the draft in his “Monday Morning Quarterback”: “Teams with the most 2012 draft choices in the top 85 overall picks: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, New England, St. Louis (four). Teams with the least 2012 draft choices in the top 85 overall picks: New Orleans, Oakland (zero). … The Rams have five of the first 96 picks overall (6, 33, 39, 65, 96), and Jeff Fisher told me St. Louis would like to trade down from six for the right price. If not, Justin Blackmon would fit a major need at six.”