An Important Reminder Before Seahawks Embark on 2022 NFL Draft – Sports Illustrated

Seahawks general manager John Schneider and his staff have a propensity to surprise on draft week, particularly in the first round. They have never been one to play things "by the book" this time of year and that appears unlikely to change anytime soon, even with the team possessing its first top-10 pick in over a decade.
"We draft for our team," Schneider emphasized in his recent joint press conference with head coach Pete Carroll. "We don't draft for how the league feels about people. That's where you get in trouble."
Mounted in the heart of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center is a draft board unique to its residents, uninfluenced by the beliefs littered across various social media channels, blogs and news outlets. The organization has a core set of principles that are heavily guarded by the immovable force of Schneider and Carroll's self-confidence, potentially setting the scene for yet another draft filled with confusion, disappointment and skepticism within the team's fanbase. 
On occasion, Seattle's leading men have been proven right with the "risks" or "reaches" they have made in the first round. Other times, however, they have been dead wrong, creating a first-round hit rate that has been debated ad nauseam throughout the years. As a result, each draft has been gradually met with more than a hint of pessimism from those outside the franchise, and this year has been no different.
In fact, this sense of hopelessness is being magnified more than ever in light of the team's decision to ship star quarterback Russell Wilson off to the Broncos. The confidence levels of the Seahawks' top brass and those watching from afar fall on complete opposite ends of the spectrum; and at this point, expectations are more or less adjusted for the possibility that Seattle once again goes "off the board."
Not the team's board, though. 
Whoever Schneider and company wind up picking will be someone they feel confident in developing better than the rest. That's ultimately the name of the game, isn't it—to get the players best suited to your particular strengths as an organization? 
Contrary to popular belief, the draft is not a popularity contest; accruing the biggest names in the spots they've long been speculated to land in doesn't always equate to on-field success. Even the most talented prospects can fit a team like a square peg in a spherical hole. 
This isn't to say Seattle's method is undeserving of some of the criticism it has received. But no matter the player, nor the position, there is no telling whether a pick is good, bad or indifferent until it is revealed how the pieces fall into place. 
Reporter and editor covering the Seattle Seahawks for All Seahawks and Seattle Mariners for Inside the Mariners. Host of the Locked On Mariners Podcast. 

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