Leiweke: Draft was ‘phenomenal’

Fans and media alike have been heaping praises on the Seahawks following the NFL Draft last week, but the biggest enthusiast might be in house — and in charge.

Team CEO Tod Leiweke said he was beyond pleased with how general manager John Schneider and Coach Pete Carroll worked together to produce a draft that has “rewarded our fans.”

“It was phenomenal to see our two top executives linked up, connected at the hip and aligned throughout the process,” said Leiweke, who’s in his seventh year with the organization. “The optimism they had going in was a self-fulfilling prophesy and they made the Seahawks nation proud.”

Leiweke got to experience in the mid-draft excitement for himself, as he was in the War Room for a major portion of the three-day event. The CEO’s enthusiasm — huge smiles, hearty clapping and high-fives for Schneider and Carroll — was on full display when the picks immaculately slotted into place for the Seahawks, especially in the first two rounds.

“You couldn’t have scripted a better draft for us,” Leiweke said. “It’s going to take some period of time, but we took a huge first step and I couldn’t be happier for this organization.”

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‘A great feeling of satisfaction’

The 2010 NFL Draft has come and gone, and with it, a sigh of both relief and accomplishment goes soaring out of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center tonight.

The draft room has cleared out, the football offices are empty and only a member of the VMAC janitorial staff is still working, as the Seahawks headquarters can finally rest after three feverish yet highly successful days.

“It’s just a great feeling of satisfaction,” a beaming Coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the day, following nine draft picks and the acquisition of three players via trades since the draft started a little more than 48 hours ago. “It’s a very proud day for this organization.”

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Seahawks agree to terms with 15 players

As soon as the draft ended Saturday, the Seahawks started agreeing to terms with players who were not selected.

They came up with a list of 15 that had coach Pete Carroll excited, and not just because it included three of his former players at USC:

FS James Bradley (5-10, 196), Utah State

CB Marcus Brown (6-1, 195), Arkansas State

OT Kyle Burkhart (6-4, 293), Southern Miss

C/OG Jeff Byers (6-3, 301), USC

OLB Reggie Carter (6-0, 238), UCLA

TE Patrick Devenny (6-3, 239), Colorado

ILB Kevin Dixon (6-2, 257), Troy

DT DeMarcus Granger (6-2, 332), Oklahoma

WR Quintin Hancock (6-2, 211), Tennessee

FS Will Harris (6-0, 204), USC

C Adrian Martinez (6-3, 317), Colorado State

ILB Joe Pawelek (6-2, 237), Baylor

OT Jacob Phillips (6-6, 299), Belhaven

CB Josh Pinkard (6-1, 214), USC

DE Rob Rose (6-4, 294), Ohio State

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Starting right away

Besides their introductory press conference, first-round draft picks Russell Okung and Earl Thomas also got to meet the coaches and tour the stunning Virginia Mason Athletic Center this afternoon.

As their tour wound around the football offices, weight room, locker room and indoor practice facility, the caravan would pick up more and more coaches and staffers, lending to some funny exchanges.

“We’re glad to have you,” quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said to Okung upon meeting the offensive tackle, cracking a smile in the process. “And so are the quarterbacks — all of them.”

During the tour, Coach Pete Carroll stood in wonder alongside Thomas in the massive indoor practice facility, while offensive line coach Alex Gibbs didn’t waste much time to start, well, coaching Okung, his newest player.

Gibbs handed the star offensive tackle a playbook and the two exchanged phone numbers, even setting up a phone appointment for the teacher and pupil to chat on Monday morning.

The newest Seahawks sure aren’t waiting to get started in their new careers.

Offensive tackle Russell Okung, selected with the sixth pick on Thursday, talks with offensive line coach Alex Gibbs in a hall of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon, just minutes after the draft pick arrived at the facility. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com]

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The newest Seahawks

The Seahawks officially introduced their two first-round draft picks — offensive tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas — in an afternoon press conference at Virginia Mason Athletic Center today. Check out some photos from the presser:

(From left to right) General manager John Schneider, safety Earl Thomas, offensive tackle Russell Okung and Coach Pete Carroll pose with the newest Seahawks’ jerseys. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com]

Earl Thomas and Russell Okung share a laugh during their press conference this afternoon. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com]

General manager John Schneider smiles as Earl Thomas speaks with the media. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com]

Russell Okung answers a question during this afternoon’s press conference. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com]

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Last, but not least

And with their final pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Seahawks lost their collective minds.

How else can you explain drafting a player who began his college career as a linebacker, finished it as a combination tight end/H-back and you’re projecting him as a wide receiver?

“That’s where you take a guy like that,” general manager John Schneider said this afternoon when asked about Kent State’s Jameson Konz.

That is where the Seahawks selected Konz – with the 245th pick overall, and a compensatory pick at that.

Konz’s numbers just added up to taking a shot on his potential. He weighs 223 pounds. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. He has a vertical leap of 46 inches.

“He can jump over the two us standing up straight here,” is the way coach Pete Carroll put it.

Konz (it’s pronounced Cons) is more concerned with making the leap from Kent State to the NFL.

“A lot of is natural,” he said of his off-the-chart workout numbers. “But a lot of it is hard work. I go out and bust my butt in the weight room. I will do anything I have to do to try and be the best player on the field.”

For the record, he never played basketball at Lake High School in Hartville, Ohio – despite his impressive-plus leaping ability.

“The entire time growing up, my basketball coach in high school was begging me to play,” he said. “But my focus was on football. Looking back, I wish I had done that a little bit. He definitely wanted me to play. But I had to turn him down because my focus was on football.”

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Free agent bonanza

Pandemonium has broken out in the Seahawks’ draft room.

The draft has concluded, yet madness has ensued as team executives rack up minutes on their cell phone bills to call and make sales pitches to undrafted free agents and/or their agents.

The rush will last less than an hour as the Seahawks aim to fill any remaining holes in their 80-man roster before next weekend’s minicamp.

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Seahawks select Kent State wide receiver

With their final pick in the NFL draft (No. 245 overall), the Seahawks selected Kent State wide receiver Jameson Konz.

Konz was an outside linebacker for three years in college. He moved to a combination tight end/H-back role last year. The Seahawks will give the 6-foot-3, 234-pounder a shot at wide receiver.

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Seahawks select Arizona State defensive end

The Seahawks’ search for a pass-rushing defensive end led them to the seventh round, where they selected Arizona State’s Dexter Davis with the 236th pick overall.

Davis weighs only 244 pounds and had been projected as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense by some teams. But the Seahawks selected Oregon defensive end Nick Reed in the seventh round last year and he weighs 245.

Davis was a team captain for the Sun Devils under former Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson and his 50 career starts are a school record.

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Quiet and calm in the draft room

You’ve seen the exclusive pictures and read the minute-by-minute accounts from the Seahawks draft room, but what’s it really like in there?

About as counterintuitive as you can imagine.

It’s far from a stock market atmosphere — papers flying and voices shouting — and close to a library setting, where the conversation is hushed, the mood is calm and the proceedings move along with amazing organization and precision. And even when the Seahawks are on the clock or getting close to a pick, the debate quietly sways amongst the team executives and scouts.

The tranquil environment allows for easy and clear communication, a key component of the team’s draft process designed by general manager John Schneider and Coach Pete Carroll. Besides the muted whispers and mumbled conversation, the only other significant noise in the draft room comes from occasional phone calls and a television on very low volume that airs NFL Network’s live coverage of the picks.

So if you thought the Seahawks draft room has been the scene of rowdy chaos during the last few days, think again. It’s been quite the opposite.

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