Friday in Hawkville: Seahawks kickoff rookie minicamp

Luke Willson

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 10, when the Seahawks opened their three-day rookie minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Luke Willson. Oh Canada, indeed. The Seahawks selected the tight end who found his way to Rice University from LaSalle, Ontario, in the fifth round of the NFL Draft because of what his speed might be able to deliver to any already loaded offense.

During the first practice of the team’s three-day minicamp, Willson delivered. And then some.

“He jumped out today. Luke had a very good first day for us,” coach Pete Carroll said after a two-hour practice that was held along the shores of Lake Washington and in 80-degree weather.

“That was probably the brightest spot that you could really see a guy jump out today.”

Not to mention take off, which the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Willson did after taking a pass along the sideline and outrunning defensive backs who are much smaller to the end zone.

“He has really good speed, and it showed up, which is cool to see that on the practice field first day out,” Carroll said.

POSITION WATCH

The right side of the No. 1 offensive line. It was manned by the three linemen who were selected in the seventh round of the draft – Jared Smith at center, Ryan Seymour at guard and Michael Bowie at tackle.

Smith, remember, was a defensive lineman at New Hampshire. As they did with J.R. Sweezy last year, the Seahawks selected Smith with the intention of moving him to offense and line coach Tom Cable has Smith working at center to start with.

“We put him there right from the start to take a look and see if we can utilize his quickness,” Carroll said. “He’s really quick for the offensive side of the ball. He’s got to learn a lot anyway, so stick him in there and make him snap it. He did fine today.  He did just fine today for the first time out.”

Carroll used the term “Sweezy-ratio” while referring to Cable’s latest project.

“It’s going to be one of these things where we see if he can stay up with what Sweez did,” Carroll said. “We’re excited about this, though. We’re very fortunate that we found another guy that we can kind of take forward in a similar fashion.”

If only Smith can take it forward in a similar fashion, because last season Sweezy started the final two regular-season games and both playoff games at right guard as a rookie.

FIFTEEN ROOKIES SIGNED

Before the players took to the practice field, 15 rookies signed multi-year contracts – including seven of the team’s 11 draft choices and eight players who agreed to terms after the NFL Draft.

Draft picks signed: DT Jordan Hill (third round), WR Chris Harper (fourth), DT Jesse Williams (fifth), Willson, Seymour, LB Ty Powell (seventh) and Smith.

Rookie free agents signed: WR Matt Austin, OT Alvin Bailey, DE Kenneth Boatright, LB Ramon Buchanan, LB John Lotulelei, S Ray Polk, OG Jordon Roussos and LB Craig Wilkins.

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TRYING TO CATCH ON

Among the 67 players at this minicamp are 38 who are here on a tryout basis.

Quarterbacks (2): Murray State’s Casey Brockman, McMurray University’s Jake Mullin

Wide receivers (5): North Carolina State’s Owen Spencer, Idaho’s Justin Veltung, Montana’s Gerald Kemp, Mississippi State’s Arceto Clark, St. Francis’ Austin Coleman

Running backs (1): South Florida’s Darrell Scott

Tight ends (2): University of British Columbia’s Victor Marshall; former pro basketball player Darren Fells, who was released on Wednesday

Offensive linemen (6): West Virginia center/guard Josh Jenkins, Harvard guard John Collins, North Carolina State center Zach Allen, Temple guard Pat Boyle, Washington tackle Drew Schaefer, Minnesota-Duluth tackle Jake Bscherer

Defensive linemen (8): Citadel end Chris Billingslea, Bethune-Cookman tackle Harold Love, Idaho end Benson Mayowa, St. Thomas end Ayo Idowu, Oregon State tackle Andrew Seumalo, Richmond tackle Martin Parker, LSU end Chancey Aghayere, Arkansas end Dequinta Jones

Linebacker (3): North Greenville’s Jonathan Sharpe, Ball State’s Rob Eddins, Oklahoma’s Jaydan Bird

Defensive backs (8): Lincoln cornerback O’Hara Fluellen, BYU cornerback Preston Hadley, Boston College cornerback Jim Noel, Ohio State safety Donald Washington, USC safety Drew McAllister, Texas A&M safety Steve Campbell, Middle Tennessee safety JaJuan Harley, Memphis safety Akeem Davis

Kickers (2): SMU’s Matt Szymanski, Portland State’s Zach Ramirez

Snapper (1): Florida State’s Dax Dallenbach

HEY, AREN’T YOU?

Quarterback Jerrod Johnson isn’t the only player at this camp who has previous experience with an NFL team.

Also on hand: kicker Carson Wiggs, wide receiver Phil Bates, cornerback Chandler Fenner, running back Derrick Coleman, linebacker Kyle Knox, tight end Cooper Helfet, linebacker Korey Toomer and defensive tackle Myles Wade.

While Johnson has been in training camps with the Eagles and Steelers, the other eight were with the Seahawks in training camp last summer and/or spent time on the practice squad last season.

QUITE THE HALL

PNWHoFCortez Kennedy, Max Unger and Sandy Gregory were inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame during a luncheon ceremony today.

Kennedy, an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, is the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Unger, a second-round draft choice in 2009 out of the University of Oregon, was selected the All-Pro center last season and also played in his first Pro Bowl. Gregory is the last of the Seahawks’ original employees, having joined the franchise on March 1, 1976.

UP NEXT

The players will practice again on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and then conclude the minicamp with an 11:30 a.m. practice on Sunday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Right now, what I’m hoping is that they try really hard and they work hard at studying and they show us kind of what their natural way is. We told them we’re looking for the competitiveness, and show us that first. They’re not going to do their assignments all right. They’re not going to be technique sound. But to show us they have real good spirit about them and goodwill about them and can be competitive on a football team, that’s most important.” – Carroll on what he’s looking for from this three-day camp