John Schneider worked his way up through the NFL system. He spent the previous 17 years grinding his way through the ranks of 3 other organizations Packers, Chiefs, and Redskins. He had put his time in. He was rewarded by the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 when he was named General Manager. The Seahawks were a combined 9-23 the previous 2 years before naming Schneider the new GM. He came to an organization a week after they hired former USC football coach Pete Carroll. Both have said their philosophies are very similar and have credited each other with building this team. Since their hiring the Seahawks have compiled a record of 38-24. They have won 2 division titles and appeared in the playoffs 3 out of 4 years; and now can add a Super Bowl to their resumes.
Together they have built a winner and together they have built one of the leagues most ferocious defenses. The Seahawks have had one defensive coordinator hired as a head coach with Gus Bradley being hired in Jacksonville. Their current defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been rumored and interviewed for jobs throughout the league this year. The defensive coaches have been fantastic in developing, scheming, and putting players in position to succeed.
They have been able to do this because of the man behind the scenes. John Schneider inherited 2 defensive players that are still on the team today- Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane both members of the defensive line. Aside from those 2, Schneider has built this defense into what it is today. The saying goes that the front office makes its money in the late rounds of the draft; Schneider and his scouts have proven that theory correct. They have also made smart free agent signings that fit this defense, helped build chemistry, and provide depth. A listing below of players on this current defense and how they were acquired…..
Inherited Red Bryant- age 29- 3 years left on deal
Inherited Brandon Mebane- age 29- 2 years left on deal
Michael Bennett- free agent signing 2013- age 28- free agent
Tony McDaniel- free agent signing 2012- age 29- free agent
Jordan Hill- 3rd round draft pick 2012- age 22- 3 years left on deal
Clinton McDonald- Trade 2011- age 27- restricted free agent
Chris Clemons- Trade 2010- age 32- 1 year left
Cliff Avril- free agent signing 2013- age 27- 1 year left
Bruce Irvin- 1st round pick 2012- age 26- 2 years left
Malcolm Smith- 7th round pick 2011- age 24- 1 year left
Bobby Wagner- 2nd round 2012- age 23- 2 years left
Heath Farwell- free agent signing 2011- age 32- 1 year left
Mike Morgan- undrafted free agent 2011- age 26- restricted free agent
KJ Wright- 4th round pick 2011- age 24- 1 year left
O’Brien Schofield- free agent signing 2013- age 26- free agent
Richard Sherman- 5th round pick 2011- age 25- 1 year left
Byron Maxwell- 6th round pick 2011- age 25- 1 year left
Jeremy Lane- 6th round pick 2012- age 23- 2 year left
Kam Chancellor- 5th round pick 2010- age 25- 4 years left
DeShawn Shead- undrafted free agent signing 2012- age 25- 1 year left
Earl Thomas- 1st round pick 2012- age 24- 1 year left
Chris Maragos- free agent signing 2011- age 27- free agent
The average age of the defense is 26 years old. The listing of players is first and second string for 2013 season. As you can tell, there were not many big name free agent signings or top round draft selections. Six players were acquired through free agency, two players were undrafted free agents, two players via trade, and ten players through the draft with 8 of them coming in the second round or later. Schneider built this defense through scouting and evaluation. Changes are inevitable and this will probably not be exactly what the defense looks like in 2014, but the pieces are there. The window is open and it doesn’t appear to be closing for 3-4 more years. If the past four years are any indication, Schneider will keep that window open longer with his good decision making.