Combine notebook: Seahawks scanning ‘cool’ niche QB class

The Seahawks are among the teams that like Ryan Tannehill's versatility and toughness. (US Presswire)

The Seahawks are among the teams that like Ryan Tannehill’s versatility and toughness.

(US Presswire)


INDIANAPOLIS — The Seahawks are one of several teams likely to be in the market for a quarterback through free agency and/or the draft. General manager John Schneider called the crop of quarterbacks in this draft class “unique.” The polished Andrew Luck, the dynamic Robert Griffin III and quarterback-turned-wide receiver-turned quarterback Ryan Tannehill are first-round prospects. Then there’s the soft-armed field general Kellen Moore, 6-foot-8 Brock Osweiler and undersized but athletic and cagey Russell Wilson.

“Every guy has this niche to ’em,” Schneider said. “I think it’s a pretty cool class.”

The Seahawks will find out through a coin flip Friday morning if they will have the No. 11 or 12 overall pick in the first round. Luck and Griffin figure to be long gone. Tannehill might be available, but Schneider stressed that the Seahawks won’t “panic” and select a quarterback unless it’s the right player.

Seattle hasn’t drafted a quarterback in the two years since Schneider was hired.

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“If it happens, it happens,” Schneider said when asked if Seattle will finally draft a quarterback this year. “You can put yourself in a tough position if you go all-in with a guy you feel pressured to take. You can set your organization back.”

So what sets quarterbacks apart in Schneider’s mind?

He’s not necessarily a big fan of prospects who have done nothing but be groomed to be a quarterback. Schneider has an affinity for prospects like Tannehill, football players who have experience at other positions.

“The guy was a quarterback in high school, just a football player. First and foremost, that’s what we’re looking for,” Schneider said. “Especially at that position. Guys that have always been in the quarterback schools, the special camps, and all that kind of stuff. They make me a little nervous to a certain extent.

“At the quarterback position, I believe you have to have a tough-minded individual. A guy that maybe has played some defense and knocked the crap out of a receiver himself, or something.”

• Growing up in a small town in South Dakota, Riley Reiff didn’t have a natural allegiance to an NFL team. He could have followed the Vikings or Broncos like many football fans in his area, but Reiff struck an allegiance for the Raiders. Was it the allure of the Silver and Black? The legacy of Al Davis? Perhaps the future standout left tackle for Iowa patterned his game after former Hawkeyes star Robert Gallery, who entered the NFL as the No. 2 overall pick by the Raiders?

None of the above. “The mailman was a Raiders fan and he always talked to me,” Reiff said of how he became a Raiders fan. “Raiders and Cardinals. He liked to talk.”

• Colts general manager Ryan Grigson denied a report that the team advised Luck not to throw at the combine and just throw at his March 22 Pro Day. “I never said anything. Players are allowed to make their own decisions what they’re going to do at the combine,” Grigson said. “I’ve had no bearing on that, believe me.”

Griffin III is also expected to skip Sunday’s on-field throwing session for the quarterbacks and wait for his March 21 pro day.

• Nineteen days after the end of the 2011 season, the order of the 2012 NFL Draft will be set following 7 a.m. coin flips between the Panthers and Dolphins — determining who will pick eighth and ninth — and the Seahawks and Chiefs (11-12). The coins are specially minted with the logo of the respective teams on either side. The coin flip is not scheduled to be televised by NFL Network or ESPN, the major cable networks on the scene for coverage of the event.

• Johnnie Troutman is grinding through the most important job interview of his life. The former Penn State standout got up at 5 a.m. Thursday, and expected to finally crash back at his hotel room sometime around 11 p.m. For Troutman, the 22nd-rated guard prospect by, he’s a fringe prospect in need of a strong showing to get on the radar of NFL teams.

He scored an invite to the Senior Bowl, but didn’t stand out in any area. Troutman has struggled to focus on training the way he would like following the late finish to Penn State’s season and then traveling to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

“I’m not where I want to be but I think I’m going to do well (at the combine),” he said. “I’m just trying to absorb everything that’s going on.”

And Troutman is well aware of what’s on the line this week.

“It’s definitely one of the most stressful things for a college athlete,” he said of the combine. “You just keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention.”

Quoteworthy: “Have you ever played Spades? He’s holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits.” — Jim Harbaugh on what makes Luck special. is distributed by The Sports Xchange

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