Deep crop to choose from
Seahawks expected to upgrade WR corps in first round
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- In his entire NFL head coaching career, Mike Holmgren has never had a wide receiver picked for him or by him in the NFL draft.
That could change on Saturday.
"Do you think four's enough, huh?" the Seattle Seahawks coach and general manager asked Wednesday. "I think this is a pretty strong year for receivers."
Barring a trade, the Seahawks will select seventh and 17th in the first round.
In addition to a starting receiver, they could be looking for a cornerback to start next season or they could opt for a defensive tackle to back up John Randle and Chad Eaton.
"Don't be surprised about anything that happens Saturday," Holmgren told a news conference. "It might not always seem logical or immediate. I'm still thinking on a plan to do it over a length of time."
Headed into the third year of an eight-year contract in Seattle, he's interested in making the Seahawks better quickly, too. They were a disappointing 6-10 last season, giving Holmgren a 15-17 record in his two years in Seattle.
That wasn't exactly what billionaire owner Paul Allen and team president Bob Whitsitt had in mind when they lured Holmgren away from Green Bay and gave him a $32 million contract, making him the highest-paid coach in the league.
It's been a busy off-season for Holmgren, who traded with Green Bay for Brett Favre's backup, Matt Hasselbeck, to be Seattle's starting quarterback next season, as well as signing four free agents to become defensive starters.
Besides Randle (Minnesota) and Eaton (New England), Holmgren brought in middle linebacker Levon Kirkland (Pittsburgh) and free safety Marcus Robertson (Tennessee) to be starters in his defense in the 2001 season.
Now Holmgren needs to fill some more roster holes through the draft.
Holmgren will have 11 picks in the seven-round draft Saturday and Sunday.
The Seahawks originally had the seventh and 10th picks, but traded down to Green Bay in the trade for Hasselbeck. They also gave up their third-round selection.
With the release of Sean Dawkins and Derrick Mayes, the only receivers on Seattle's roster are Darrell Jackson, James Williams, Karsten Bailey and Dwaune Jones. Holmgren wants to bring 10 receivers to the July 29 start of training camp in Cheney.
In Green Bay, where general manager Ron Wolf did the drafting when Holmgren coached for nine seasons, and in Seattle, where he has done his own drafting, his teams never have gone for a receiver in the first round.
"It doesn't make me nervous to jump out there and get a receiver any year if he's the guy," Holmgren said. "You have to trust your board you have up there. If you see something special up there in the first round, you do it."
The Seahawks are expected to pick among David Terrell of Michigan, Koren Robinson of North Carolina State and Rod Gardner of Clemson, all receivers, in the first round.
If they choose to pick a cornerback, where they have an opening for a starter because of the departure of Willie Williams as a free agent, they could go for Nate Clements of Ohio State, Fred Smoot of Mississippi State or Willie Middlebrooks of Minnesota.
If they select a defensive tackle, their choices could be between Shaun Rogers of Texas or Damione Lewis of Miami. Or they could decide on defensive end Jamal Reynolds of Florida State.
"You're going to get two good players who will come in here right away and be good for you," Holmgren said. "There's a good chance they'll start. If they don't start, they'll play a lot."
Holmgren would like to snare a third-round pick. He might be able to do that on draft day if some team is willing to part with its third rounder for veteran running back Ricky Watters. Holmgren has Shaun Alexander, his top draft choice last year, waiting in the wings to replace Watters.
"That's a possibility, I suppose," Holmgren said. "You get a lot of interesting phone calls on draft days."