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Seahawks make a few moves as they prepare for first round of NFL draft

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) John Schneider, General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks and head coach Pete Carroll celebrates after their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NOTE: You can follow our draft live-blog here. 

SEATTLE – It wasn’t completely calm before the NFL Draft storm for the Seattle Seahawks, as the team made a few minor moves in the hours leading up to the first round.

Seattle released quarterback Phillip Sims and signed Tavaris Barnes and tight end Brandon Williams on Thursday as it prepared for the three-day draft.

The Seahawks have nine picks in the seven-round draft, including the 26th overall. There’s little consensus among experts on who the team might target, though many expect them to follow that’s been somewhat of a pattern in past years by trading out of the first round.

Seattle hasn’t picked in the first round since 2012, when it selected Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall pick.

Barnes, 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, had five tackles in 12 games as an undrafted rookie who signed with the New Orleans Saints last season.

Williams, 28, played his college ball at Oregon and played in 25 games from 2013-2015 for the Carolina Panthers, then played four games for the Miami Dolphins last season.

Sims had signed a “futures contract” with the Seahawks in January after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals. His departure means Russell Wilson is the only quarterback on Seattle’s roster.

The first round will take place Thursday evening beginning at 5 p.m., and the second and third rounds are Friday beginning at 4 p.m. Rounds 4-7 will be Saturday, beginning at 9 am.

As it stands, here are the Seahawks’ picks:

  • Round 1: No. 26 overall
  • Round 2: No. 25 (No. 56 overall)
  • Round 3: No. 27 (No. 90 overall)
  • Round 3: No. 35 (No. 97 overall)
  • Round 4: No. 26 (No. 124 overall)
  • Round 5: No. 34 (No. 171 overall)
  • Round 6: No. 40 (No. 215 overall)
  • Round 7: No. 4 (No. 225 overall)
  • Round 7: No. 26 (No. 247 overall)

Elsewhere, as most NFL cities are buzzing with teams, fans and media getting ready for the draft, things were relatively quiet in New England. At least for one more day.

The Patriots are the only team without a pick on the first day of the draft. They had the 29th pick taken away — along with $1 million — as part of the penalty in the “Deflategate” scandal. So there will only 31 picks in the first round.

The Patriots could trade back into the first round, but that’s unlikely because commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s going to confiscate their highest pick no matter what.

There was no availability at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, though the team was no doubt working behind the scenes to get ready for Days 2 and 3. The Patriots have 11 picks in the next two days, including four in the second and third rounds and five in the sixth round.