RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Pete Carroll dipped back into the Southern California pipeline to fill a need on the Seattle Seahawks defensive line.
Unable to make a move back into the second round for an additional pick, the Seahawks selected USC defensive end Rasheem Green with the 79th overall selection in the third-round on Friday night.
Seattle's initial selection on the second day addressed a significant need along the defensive line. Seattle was slated to have the No. 76-overall pick but traded with Pittsburgh and moved back three spots to No. 79 while also picking up an additional seventh-round selection.
And much to the delight of the Seahawks, Green was still on the board.
"It's tough watching guys getting drafted that play the same position when I personally feel like I'm a bit better than them. But it is what it is." Green said.
It was a relatively quiet night for a team known for being busy with draft moves. Seattle will now have eight picks on the final day of the draft.
General manager John Schneider said there never were any reasonable options that would have allowed Seattle to get back into the second round. That included any possible deals involving safety Earl Thomas, who was the source of trade speculation as his current contract expires after the 2018 season and he was one of the few Seattle options that could have landed a high draft pick.
"You may have looked like he wasn't going to be here but we didn't look at it like that. That's been a lot of speculation on your guys' end of this thing," Carroll said. "We've been counting on Earl being here the whole time."
Schneider believed Green was still available in the third round due to a knee injury suffered several years ago that likely downgraded his stock among teams. Schneider said Green was examined twice by Seattle's doctors and was given high marks.
"I'm sure he thought he was going to go higher. We like to have guys like that," Schneider said.
Green played primarily as a defensive tackle at USC and was able to live in the backfield of opponents. Green had 12 1/2 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season at USC while being named a first-team All-Pac-12 selection. Green projects more as a defensive end in the NFL because of his size — 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds — and that's where he would like to play.
"I personally prefer the outside," Green said. "I feel like I'm just as good as I am inside as I am outside."
Replenishing the pass rush is a priority for the Seahawks. Seattle traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia earlier in the offseason and there are questions about the future of Cliff Avril after he suffered a neck injury that cost him most of last season.
While some of his skills may be raw, Green should have the opportunity to contend for significant playing time right away. Only Frank Clark and Dion Jordan would appear to have set spots in Seattle's regular rotation of defensive ends.
"It's really important for us that we definitely will have some options here. He's really young, he's a 20-year-old kid ... he's got a lot of potential to grow. We will move him all around and figure it out," Carroll said.
Some draft analysts believed Green would have been better off returning for his senior season and working his way into potentially being a first-round pick.
Green was willing to take the chance on leaving early.
"I did have some thoughts of staying. But I just felt like my heart wasn't there anymore," Green said. "I just wanted to do what I thought was the best choice for me. I don't regret it."