RENTON, Wash. -- Don't expect general manager John Schneider and the Seattle Seahawks to stand pat with the 25th pick in the first round of the NFL draft next week.
Hasselbeck's hope: To stay in Seattle
It's the direction that might be a bit surprising.
Despite uncertainty about his quarterback situation, Schneider said Monday he would prefer to trade down from No. 25 in an attempt to acquire more middle-round picks.
"Personally, I'd like to move back," he said. "Because I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff and have a coaching staff that a) they're good teachers and b) they're excited to have these guys."
Seattle is without a third-round pick and with plenty of holes to fill. The team needs depth on both the offensive and defensive lines and could use additional bodies in the secondary -- specifically at cornerback.
But most of the attention has focused on the Seahawks potentially taking a quarterback with their first pick, considering the questions about the possible return of Matt Hasselbeck, who will be a free agent. The Seahawks and Hasselbeck's representatives couldn't reach an agreement before the NFL lockout began.
Schneider said looking at quarterbacks always will be a focus in every draft he runs and that any selection of a passer in this draft is independent of Hasselbeck's situation. Much of the speculation has centered around local favorite Jake Locker out of Washington, although the Seahawks have been linked with nearly every quarterback not expected to be taken with the top few picks in the draft, including Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, TCU's Andy Dalton, Florida State's Christian Ponder and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
Schneider's belief that Seattle can find viable talent in the later rounds is fueling his desire to move back in his second draft in charge of the team. It also would help his desire for the Seahawks to get younger overall after plugging holes mostly with older veterans last season.
"I would like to be younger," Schneider said. "I think the way we finished the season was great philosophically for (coach) Pete (Carroll) and his staff and the culture of the team and the culture of the locker room and people buying into his philosophy. But we didn't have that much depth, and obviously, you saw how many transactions we made just to try to add quality depth, and we got to a point in the season where we started getting hit hard with injuries and we kind of just ran out of guys and had to add some veteran types, so we kind of got older."
Slipping back in the draft is easier said than done, especially with the inability to trade players because of the NFL lockout. Last year, Seattle made two draft-day trades for players, one of which landed running back/kick returner Leon Washington.
Schneider said trying to move up actually is easier than moving back.
"I think there's a number of teams that would like to go back right now," Schneider said. "Not having a third-round pick, I'm not excited about that."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press