Relieved by an easy final session led through the aisle, the Seahawks ended their annual three-day mini-camp of rookies at VMAC on Sunday and will now move on to the start of organized team activities on May 23rd.
While not much could be learned from Sunday’s short training session in football and not all players participating this weekend will be with the team for the next stage, coach Pete Carroll appreciated the new starters attacking their game plan and running around the field.
“We wanted to learn about our players as much as we could and over the weekend about who they are and try to gain as much as possible about them as footballers,” Carroll said. “In the meantime, we let them know who we are and what I can expect from being part of this program in this culture and it turned out really well. It was fun, we had a good time, they worked hard, they just they learned every second – we filled their days as much as we could – and they got the Seahawks 24/7 while they were here, so it was great. “
As Seattle bowed to the minicamp, here are five observations from Sunday’s third session through Carroll’s perspective:
1. Basically, all eyes remained fixed on the new draft class in Seattle.
Trying to rate players during off-season mini-camps can be a futile exercise, especially on celebrated walks like a Sunday session. But when asked to identify those who stand out this weekend, Carroll surprisingly cited the draft class of nine Seahawks players as a whole, saying he was pleased with how the group submitted its first action with the team.
In particular, Carroll continued to praise Charles Cross’s first-round pick and Abraham Lucas ’third-round pick, as the pair of encounters have impressed since his arrival and quickly kicked off this weekend.
“I was so caught up in the draft election. I thought everyone was able to show something,” Carroll replied. “The blows pop out right away. They both look physically well equipped, they look like they can move like we hope they can move, they are both smart kids and will pick up their stuff, so the process is going on in a way and I’m on fire because toga.”
On the opposite side of the line, Carroll didn’t have a chance to see as many repeats of Tyreke Smith from the fifth round as he had hoped for an undisclosed injury. But Boye Mafe’s second-round pick exposed its range of physical tools in a non-contact environment, as the speed and speed of the linebacker were evident by shooting from the edge during practice and team exercises.
“Boye [Mafe] he did a really good job, and he really had a chance to show it, “Carroll said.” It’s just like molding clay. He is such a new player in what we do. It will be very exciting to see what he can do because he has great physical tools. “
Carroll also went on to talk about quarterback Ken Walker III, saying choosing a second round “can do it all” outside the hinterland and starting with an already established background in professional running concepts. He also commented on the side players in the seventh round of Bo Melton and Dareka Young, who bring “uniqueness” to the Seattle reception room with vastly different sets of skills and abilities.
2. Given that Cross and Lucas impressed early, Carroll thinks the Seahawks have quality depth in the fight against the season.
Prior to last week’s draft, the Seahawks had just three fights on their roster with a combined five starts in the NFL. With veterans Duane Brown and Brandon Shell still unsigned and with limited experience in the position as a whole, they aggressively doubled their position in the first three rounds with two athletic, prominent aisles protecting the aisle, using a selection from the top 10 at Cross and the election of Lucas in the third round.
With Cross and Lucas added to the fold and already creating waves, while adding another attempt at some point is still likely, Carroll seems pleased with Seattle’s current depth in position thanks to the return of second-year players Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan. Forsythe, selected for the sixth round of the 2021 draft, had just 14 shots last year in attack, but Curhan who was not selected started five games instead of Shell to close the season and proved to be excellent.
“I’m excited about the competition. Yes. We’ll see how it goes, and it’s a great opportunity for Stone [Forsythe]. This is his chance. And Jake [Curhan] had to start a resume last year playing, and did a nice job, so he’ll be back. I’ve already talked to these guys, they already see the game differently than when they’re from freshman to sophomore year, it just turns around so much. So we’ll see if I can take advantage of what they see new, and I know Jake is really excited about coming back without just being in the fog of camp and all that. So we’ll see how it goes. “
Looking towards training camp, Cross is likely to be the favorite in the competition against Forsythe on the left point of the fight. As for Lucas, he and Curhan will fight for the shots on the right. Behind them, Greg Island is the only other game currently under contract.
3. A pair of undrafted rookie signee stand out along the offensive line and in the linebacker.
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While Carroll has obviously paid the most attention to drafting over the past few days, that doesn’t mean the non-drafted players didn’t leave a positive impression on him even in the first action as the Seahawks. In fact, he highlighted several players especially on Sunday, including linebacker Vi Jones and guard Shamarious Gilmore.
Jones, whose father Robert played for the Cowboys and played in three Super Bowl champions, comes from a football family. Both his brothers – Cayleb Jones and Zay Jones – have played in the league for at least a year, and the latter recently signed a multi-year contract with the Jaguars. In his last season in the state of North Carolina, he made 45 strokes and 6.0 sacks, and also blocked three strokes in 2020.
With 6 feet-2, 225 pounds with a wingspan of nearly 80 inches and excellent speed, speed and explosiveness, Carroll says Jones “looks a role” as a potential collaborator in defense and special teams.
“He has a good general background about what he played, and you can see, he has a lot of athleticism. He’s really fast, he really fits in, “Carroll said of Jones.” One of the guys who wasn’t in the draft that I fully accepted was excited to see him, and you can imagine, he could be a special timer. He could play a little outside, play a little inner backer for you, if you need to, and he’ll be able to get along with the guys. So he had a good camp. Really good camp. ”
As for Gilmore, the 6-foot guard 1 and 302 pounds from the state of Georgia has recorded more than 4,000 shots in his collegiate career and earned championship honors for the All-Sun Belt 2021. The athlete plus for his position, his 4.39 – the second short shuttle almost equaled Coby Bryant in the fourth lap, showing his excellent speed and agility.
Given his experience, lateral speed and football savvy, Carroll predicts Gilmore will immediately throw himself into the competition for a place in the roster behind starters Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson, as well as the return of reserve Phil Haynes.
“He played a lot of football. He’s a good player with the ball and he was the leader in the program, and you can say he has a good awareness of him and a good presence, so we’re happy he’s coming back. You never have enough guys, so hopefully he will be able to fit into that. ”
4. Carroll likes what he saw early on from newcomers Sean Desai and Karl Scott at the defense coaching staff.
Until they continue in August, it will be difficult to estimate how different Seattle’s defense will look from a schematic standpoint. However, as Carroll noted on Sunday, Desai and Scott are already leaving their mark on the program in a positive way as assistants in the new defense staff of coordinator Clint Hurtt.
“These guys are doing a great job. I’m really impressed, ”Carroll said.“ I’ll say that forever about these guys. Their command of what we do and their attention to the process, the teaching process, are really something. We learn differently than we are. ”
After spending nearly a decade with the Bears, including as defense coordinator last season, Desai has joined Seattle staff as an assistant head coach and is expected to play a significant role in match planning, among other things. After one season with the Vikings and three seasons in Alabama, Scott has taken the reins as coordinator of the passing game and will also be participating in Sunday’s gameplay.
As for how Desai and Scott teach players differently from their predecessors, Carroll offered no details. But he was visibly inflamed by the influence both coaches have already had so far and is looking forward to seeing how much their presence will help defend the Seahawks at all levels.
“Just the way we break things down, and part of our own method, brings you back to objective behavior and tries to teach guys how to learn things, and that’s a good thing,” Carroll said.
5. Signing is not inevitable – or even likely – but the Seahawks spoke to veteran linebacker KJ Wright.
While beginners and eligible sophomores were the only ones on the field this weekend, Carroll was asked about a potential return for veteran linebacker KJ Wright, who played his first 10 NFL seasons in the organization before spending last season with the Raiders. He currently ranks third on the all-time franchise rankings in combat and is likely to become a member of the Ring of Honor after hanging his football boots.
Last week, Wright told Trey Wing in the Half-Forgotten History podcast that he wants to end his career at Seahawks and that he won’t have fun playing anywhere else in 2022.
Instead of completely avoiding the question, Carroll smiled and replied, “I love KJ, I’ve already talked to him about things for the future and all that. I heard him talk about playing, and we’ve already talked about it. “
Given that Bobby Wagner is now in Los Angeles and Ben Burr-Kirven and Jon Rhattigan are recovering from torn ACLs, it’s not entirely out of the question that Wright could return after a year of absence. But nothing Carroll said on Sunday suggested Seattle had any future plans to re-sign with him and ban injuries, with the team switching to a 3-4 defense and in the midst of the youth movement, the reunion looks incredible.