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Schneider's amazing letter to Baldwin after 2011 draft

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The Seattle Seahawks do things differently -- and they do them well.

During coach Pete Carroll's six-year run with the team, he and general manager John Schneider have hit home runs on a rash of late-round picks and undrafted players who have played major roles in the club's success.

Last season, four undrafted players -- receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, offensive linemen Garry Gilliam and Patrick Lewis -- all made starts for the team, with Baldwin serving as the torch-bearer for a Seattle passing attack that electrified the league down the stretch.

Baldwin's 14 receiving touchdowns set a franchise record, a feat the NFL didn't expect when 32 teams passed him by in the 2011 draft. Despite leading Stanford in receiving yards and touchdowns during his final college campaign, Baldwin's size -- he's small for a pass-catcher at 5-foot-10 -- kept him off the radar.

The Seahawks, though, have meshed into a super power by finding starters in places others ignore. Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson was a third-rounder, while secondary stars Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were plucked up in the fifth round.

In Baldwin's case, Schneider went hard after the wideout in the simplest of ways: Pen on paper. The GM sat down after the draft and wrote a two-page letter to Baldwin, per SI.com's Greg Bishop, carefully detailing why they wanted him -- and what kind of team he'd be joining.

Beyond the personal touch, Schneider's ability to see the future in Seattle only adds to his cache as one of the league's premier team-builders:

Dear Doug,

My name is John Schneider. I am the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks and I am writing you this personal note to inform you of our sincere interest in signing you as soon as we are able. I attended your Arizona [State] game (nice deep ball adjust by the way) and came away extremely impressed. We had you as a draftable [sic] player although we drafted a good receiver in Kris Durham earlier in the draft, we feel strongly that you could develop into a unique contributor with your specific skill set. Doug, trust me when I tell you that we are extremely excited about your upside.

I'm sure you are disappointed for not being drafted during the 2011 Draft, but I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter where you start, but where you finish. Coach Carroll prides himself on providing open competition and we are still looking for a "move the chains" guy like Brandon Stokely [sic] did for us last season. Oh, and by the way there were 23 non-drafted players who played in this past season's Pro Bowl! So be confident in this fact.

We- our offensive staff and scouting dept. feels [sic] like you could come in and challenge for early playing time because of your intelligence, passing game savvy, quickness, burst, body control, hand, and in stout separation skills. We also love your ability to track the ball, go up and get it, and take it away/secure it in tight areas. Very impressive in this regard.

Most importantly Doug, you fit the bill for our young program as we are looking for smart, tough, competitive, and confident football players. Coach Carroll and I are trying to build this team with young players, like yourself, who can come in and grow together in order to be a consistently competitive, championship caliber football team. We think that you, along with Golden Tate and Durham would be core guys to build with. All three of you have different skill sets, but high levels of confidence and competitiveness.

I'm sure you are well aware of Coach Carroll's coaching style. We have a great time, but at the same time we are all about competition. Coach Carroll loves fun. Our mission is to get the most competitive group of guys together in order to compete and raise everyone's game. In this lockout year, we feel that this is a great time to go young and let it rip! I personally feel that we are going to be able to add a whole new draft class with the rookie free agents as we had about 18 players left on our draft board when it ended.

In summary we wish you the best with your decision, but we are coming hard after you! I am good friends with your agent Buddy, so we will be making you an offer as soon as we can!

Come join the Hawks!

Sincerely,

John Schneider

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