RENTON, Wash. — Kevin Norwood’s pre-draft interaction with the Seattle Seahawks amounted to one conversation.
“And that was for them to get my information,” Norwood said.
Once again, Seattle general manager John Schneider was able to keep secret one of the Seahawks’ targets in the NFL draft. This time, it was a player he expected to be gone by the time Seattle got its chance.
Norwood was one of three selections by the Seahawks in the fourth round Saturday, part of a day that saw the Super Bowl champions make seven selections. Schneider wasn’t looking for another receiver after Seattle took speedy Paul Richardson out of Colorado in the second round on Friday. But with Norwood’s 6-foot-2 frame and Alabama pedigree sitting there, the pick was easy to make.
“He’s just a stud. He’s a stud kid, background, everything he’s had to overcome. He was such a reliable guy for them,” Schneider said.
Seattle also grabbed UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh and Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis in the fourth round. Seattle sees Marsh as being similar to Michael Bennett because of his versatility after having played a number of different positions on the defensive line at UCLA. Pierre-Louis was the fastest linebacker in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and played both outside linebacker positions at Boston College, another example of flexibility being an attractive trait for the Seahawks.
“Versatility is a great thing for me. I’m just looking to go in and compete. I know that the Seahawks are huge on competition,” Marsh said. “I followed coach (Pete) Carroll all the way through to ... now and I know competition is the biggest thing and that’s what I love.”
Seattle was busiest in the fourth round but added depth later. The Seahawks took Middle Tennessee defensive tackle Jimmy Staten in the fifth round then took Marshall offensive tackle Garrett Scott and San Diego State defensive back Eric Pinkins in the sixth round. They closed out the draft taking Arkansas fullback Kiero Small in the seventh round.
While he played mostly safety in college, the Seahawks intend on using Pinkins’ 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame as a cornerback.
“I’m used to guarding receivers a lot. As far as speed, I have cornerback speed,” Pinkins said. “I’m just going to learn from the best.”
Norwood did not post numbers that grabbed attention because of how Alabama’s offense functioned. Norwood had 81 catches his entire college career; Richardson had 83 in his senior season alone. But Norwood’s story goes well beyond what he did at Alabama. Growing up on the Mississippi coast, his family faced hardship after Hurricane Katrina. He later saw deadly tornadoes hit the Tuscaloosa area while he was in college.
“It was like all the things coming at me in different angles and different ways, and trying to figure out what I should do next. Should I keep going or is God telling me something?” Norwood said. “In the end, I persevered through it all. I came through and now look at me. It’s a dream come true.”
Norwood finished both his bachelor’s and masters’ degrees at Alabama. He’s an older player who will turn 25 in September. Even with numbers that didn’t grab attention, his ability to rise above defenders and make catches in traffic impressed Seattle scouts.
“It’s all about preparation with me. I feel like if I prepare my best, then I should go out and play fast with no worries and play my best,” Norwood said.
Marsh will be a rush defensive end for Seattle. He slimmed down from 300 pounds when he arrived at UCLA and played his senior season at 265 pounds. He’s played nearly every position on the defensive line, but will likely be a LEO in the Seahawks defensive scheme. Marsh had 16 sacks over his final two seasons at UCLA and had 60 tackles as a senior.
Athleticism made Pierre-Louis jump out to the Seahawks, who anticipate using him as a weakside linebacker. He had 108 tackles, six sacks and one interception in his senior season when he made the position switch.
“If you watch their defense, they’re going to give you a bunch of looks,” Pierre-Louis said. “Their players are quick, they’re fast, they’re agile, they’re players that pretty much don’t fit a particular mold.”
Notes: Seattle SS Kam Chancellor is ahead of schedule in his recovery from hip surgery and Carroll said he should have no problem being ready for training camp in July. ... Former Washington QB Keith Price and USC safety Dion Bailey tweeted they were joining the Seahawks as undrafted free agents.