Seahawks Break Silence About Passing on Malik Willis & Other Quarterbacks

Pete Carroll John Schneider

Getty Seahawks general manager John Schneider (left) and head coach Pete Carroll appear to have won the Russell Wilson trade.

The Seattle Seahawks had plenty of opportunities to select Malik Willis but clearly did not rate the Liberty quarterback as highly as many analysts’ pre-draft rankings. Heading into the draft, Willis was the top ranked quarterback by many including ESPN’s Todd McShay.

Prior to day one, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Seahawks would consider taking Willis at No. 9. Not only did the Seahawks not select Willis in the first round but went on to pass on the quarterback with both of their second round selections, along with the team’s third-round pick.

Willis finally landed with the Titans after Tennessee moved up to No. 86 to select the dynamic quarterback in the third round. After passing on Willis three times on day two, Seahawks general manager John Schneider was asked if there was a temptation to select one of the quarterbacks remaining on the board. Schneider noted that things did not “time up right.”

“Sure, it’s just things have to time up right, but they just didn’t time up,” Schneider explained during an April 29 press conference.

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Schneider: ‘There’s Several Good Quarterbacks in This Draft’

The Seahawks were not the only quarterback-needy team that passed on Willis and the other top-rated players at the position. The Steelers’ selection of Pitt signal-caller Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback selected until Willis went off the board in the third round. After passing on the quarterbacks in round one, Schneider spoke in greater detail on this year’s prospects.

“I personally feel that for these young guys that are competitors, they’re young men, sometimes the pressure that’s placed on them, right?” Schneider explained during an April 28 press conference. “They’re supposed to be first-round draft choices. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

“There’s several good quarterbacks in this draft. And there’s millions of mock drafts and that’s cool. It’s entertainment, we all get it. But you end up kind of feeling bad for these guys, right? There’s just so much pressure on them and there’s a bunch of them that’ll get picked- several tomorrow, for sure. But the pressure of the first round is always stronger, especially for quarterbacks.”

Carroll on QB Competition: ‘It’s Going to Be a Really Strong, Competitive Room’

Schneider talked up this year’s quarterback class but the Seahawks’ actions on day two showed that the team did not think too highly of the prospects. The Seahawks are also proving that they do indeed have a lot of faith in Drew Lock and Geno Smith despite the skepticism. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll noted the team has even more confidence in Lock after working with him this offseason.

“We’ve been able to see Drew [Lock] in great depth, we’ve seen everything,” Carroll told reporters on April 29. “We went all the way back to all those college days and everything else, every throw he’s ever thrown to show us what he’s capable of doing. So, we’re fitting it together. It’s going to be a really strong, competitive room and we’re going to be smart.”