Good morning, and welcome to day one of the Seahawks’ three-day mandatory minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Today’s team workout is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., but before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” as the club heads into the final week of their Offseason Program.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times identifies four key issues the Seahawks face as they gather for camp this week, including the battle for the backup tight end spot between 2013 fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson and second-year player Sean McGrath.
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com details five players to watch during the team’s three-day workout – offensive guard John Moffitt, wide receiver Chris Harper, cornerback Tharold Simon, defensive tackle Jesse Williams, and the competition for the backup offensive tackle spot between 2013 seventh-round draft pick Michael Bowie and third-year pro Michael Person.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has his observations from the team’s nine sessions of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that finished up last week and has a look at what to expect from this week of camp.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune previewed this week’s minicamp in his Monday Morning QB chat. You can find the transcript of yesterday’s chat here.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look around the rest of the NFC West, as the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers also hold their mandatory minicamps this week, while the St. Louis Rams continue with OTAs.
Our Clare Farnsworth offers a recap of the club’s offseason to this point and highlights questions and concerns heading into the practice week.
Outside of minicamp news, former Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was released from the Buffalo Bills yesterday and John Boyle of the Everett Herald makes the case for bringing Jackson back to Seattle to backup entrenched starter Russell Wilson.
Lindsay Jones of USA Today has a feature on wide receiver Percy Harvin.
Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks of NFL.com breaks down who is the better cornerback – the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman or the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson – and Brooks offers the edge to Sherman, calling him “currently far superior.”
Check back later this afternoon for our coverage from day one of Seahawks minicamp.
Good morning, and welcome to the final day of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp. Today’s practice gets started at 11:30 a.m., but before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” following Saturday”s session at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times has a closer look at fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson, the Rice tight end that made some impressive plays on day one of camp.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his notes from day two of camp and profiles fourth-round draft pick wide receiver Chris Harper.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has his report from the first two days of camp.
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com offers a closer look at fifth-round draft pick Tharold Simon, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound cornerback out of LSU.
Lastly, team photographer Rod Mar has several photos from day two of camp here.
We’ll be back with more from Sunday’s practice and media availabilities later this afternoon.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:
Chris Harper. When it comes to a show of hands, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is showing great hands.
It was after Friday’s first practice that coach Pete Carroll offered, “Chris caught to ball beautifully. He really has great hands.”
Harper felt he played even better in the second practice.
“It went way better today than yesterday,” he said. “Yesterday, you just kind of didn’t know what to expect and just didn’t get into the flow and the pace because this is a lot different pace than what you’re used to in college.”
Better yet, receivers coach Kippy Brown agreed with the assessments made by Carroll and Harper.
“Chris has really strong hands and for a big guy he’s very athletic,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of him learning. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys in two days’ time. I’m sure their heads are swimming. My head was swimming when I first got here.
“But he’s studying hard and he’s getting it. As he gets more comfortable with it, he’ll play faster and that’s what we’re looking for.”
For Harper, it continues to be an exercise in working on his transition game. He was, after all, originally a quarterback at the University of Oregon before switching positions and schools (to Kansas State).
“I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said. “I’ve only been playing wide receiver for almost three years now, so I can learn from everybody.”
If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.
“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.
Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”
TRYING TO CATCH ON
Justin Veltung. The receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School is one of the three dozen players at this camp on a tryout basis. And Veltung is making the most of the opportunity.
He was one of the players the Seahawks had in for a pre-draft visit. Veltung showed enough that they invited him back for this camp.
“He’s a smart guy and he knows what to do,” Brown said. “He doesn’t make very many mistakes and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football. So we’ll see.”
Veltung began his second practice by making a nice falling catching of a pass that looked to be beyond his reach. But before it was over he also had worked his way around a defender to catch a pass on the sideline; caught another pass in traffic over the middle; and reached back while in full stride to grab yet another.
As Veltung was making that last catch, The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” was blaring from the speakers along the sideline. Talk about right on cue.
CALLING PETER NGUYEN
Peter Nguyen, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back from Bellevue High School and the University of Montana, was added to the list of tryout players today.
Another back was needed because Darrell Scott, another tryout player, injured himself in the first drill on Friday.
THE SKINNY ON SCRUGGS
Second-year defensive lineman Greg Scruggs had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. A seventh-round draft choice last year, Scruggs was injured during a workout in the veterans’ offseason program.
“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill … tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee,” Carroll said. “It was just a drill by himself and it’s unfortunate that he hit just exactly wrong.”
Scruggs had two sacks among his six tackles as a rookie, when he played in 11 games.
“He’ll come back quickly from this, but it’s still a long haul for him,” Carroll said.
GIANTS ADD SOME CURRY TO THE MIX
Aaron Curry has found a new NFL home. Another new NFL home.
The former Seahawks’ linebacker and fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft has signed with the Giants, and ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
Curry started 12 games as a rookie and 16 in 2010 for the Seahawks. But he lost the starting job on the strong side to K.J. Wright in 2011 and was traded to the Raiders for a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 – which the Seahawks used to select guard J.R. Sweezy (last year) cornerback Tharold Simon (this year).
Curry played in 11 games for the Raiders in 2011 and two games last season before being waived in November.
“We think we have a good opportunity for him to see if he can re-invent himself a little bit and bring something to our linebacking corps,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “If he didn’t work out well for us, we wouldn’t be fooling around with this.
“He’s the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago. Obviously, we think he has some talent. We had him graded high back then. We will see what happens.”
MT. RUSHMORE UPDATE
This camp is all about the present, and hopefully future, for the rookies in attendance. But let’s take a moment to revisit the past.
Last week, we asked you to vote on who should be the fourth “head” on a Seahawks Mt. Rushmore, joining Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. So far, Matt Hasselbeck is leading with 28 percent of the votes, followed by Shaun Alexander (20.9), Kenny Easley (20), Mike Holmgren (15.9), Jacob Green (8.7) and Chuck Knox (6.6).
It’s not too late to cast your vote.
The rookie minicamp will conclude Sunday with a morning practice. Monday, the veterans return to begin the final week in Phase 2 of their offseason program.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s pretty similar, minus the music. I don’t think coach (Nick) Saban would like that.” – defensive tackle Jesse Williams, when asked about the pace of these practices compared to those at Alabama
The Seahawks kicked off their three-day rookie minicamp this morning by signing seven of the 11 players they selected in last month’s NFL Draft to multi-year contracts.
DT Jordan Hill (third round)
WR Chris Harper (fourth round)
DT Jesse Williams (fifth round)
TE Luke Willson (fifth round)
G Ryan Seymour (seventh round)
LB Ty Powell (seventh round)
G Jared Smith (seventh round)
Still unsigned: running back Christine Michael, who was selected in the second round; cornerback Tharold Simon, one of the team’s three fifth-round picks; running back Spencer Ware, who was drafted in the sixth round; and tackle Michael Bowie, the last of the team’s four picks in the seventh round.
Also signed to multi-year deals were eight rookies who agreed to terms with the Seahawks after the draft:
WR Matt Austin
OT Alvin Bailey
DE Kenneth Boatright
LB Ramon Buchanan
LB John Lotulelei
S Ray Polk
G Jordon Roussos
LB Craig Wilkins
The 11 members of the Seahawks’ 2013 draft class and nine more that agreed to terms as undrafted rookie free agents have been assigned jersey numbers by the club.
Before rushing to the list below, here’s an important note for those of you who may be looking to purchase a customized jersey of your favorite rookie:
These numbers are subject to change prior to the start of the regular season.
For an up to date reference on player jersey numbers, keep an eye on our roster page.
At a glance, running back Christine Michael, tight end Luke Willson, offensive guard Ryan Seymour, and undrafted strong safety Ray Polk are the lucky four who will wear the same number at the pro level (for now) that they did in college. Undrafted linebacker Craig Wilkins, who wore No. 12 at Old Dominion, never even stood a chance at making that transition, as of course that number was retired for you – the 12th Man – back in 1984.
On to the rookies’ jersey numbers, with the number they donned in college displayed in parentheses.
#33 – RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M (College #33)
#97 – DT Jordan Hill, Penn State (College #47)
#17 – WR Chris Harper, Kansas State (College #3)
#90 – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama (College #54)
#34 – CB Tharold Simon, LSU (College #24)
#82 – TE Luke Willson, Rice (College #82)
#44 – FB Spencer Ware, LSU (College #11)
#62 – G Ryan Seymour, Vanderbilt (College #62)
#58 – LB Ty Powell, Harding (College #9)
#66 – G Jared Smith, New Hampshire (College #90)
#73 – T Michael Bowie, Northeastern State (College #61)
Undrafted rookie free agents:
#2 – WR Matt Austin, Utah State (College #4)
#78 – T Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (College #67)
#93 – DE Kenneth Boatright, Southern Illonois (College #54)
#47 – LB Ramon Buchanan, Miami (College #45)
#46 – LB John Lotulelei, UNLV (College #55)
#7 – SS Ray Polk, Colorado (College #7)
#65 – G Jordon Roussos, Bowling Green (College #73)
#38 – RB Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma (College #8)
#45 – LB Craig Wilkins, Old Dominion (College #12)
Here’s a cyber-sampling of what some national pundits are saying about the Seahawks’ efforts in the NFL Draft that concluded Saturday and included the selection of 11 players:
Mel Kiper Jr. at ESPN.com. Grade: B
“We can’t forget one very important point: The first-round pick of the Seahawks is named Percy Harvin, and he’s going to have a major impact on this offense in 2013. I (perhaps unfairly) remain concerned about Harvin’s ability to stay healthy, but the stats show he’s been durable. The selection of Christine Michael was a little bit of a luxury pick for me, but they lack that type of explosive back on the roster, so he offers a different look. They needed to add some rotation depth at defensive tackle and accomplished that with Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, though I know a number of teams are concerned that Williams will have durability problems. Michael Bowie could stick as depth at tackle, as could Ty Powell at linebacker. I don’t know that Seattle added a starter among their picks, but they certainly added one in Harvin.”
Chris Burke at SI.com. Grade: B-minus
“Seattle used its Round 1 pick to acquire Percy Harvin, so it had to wait until pick 62 to get working. Actually, the Seahawks’ best decisions came at 137 (DT Jesse Williams) and 138 (CB Tharold Simon). The Seahawks had a roster built to roll the dice a bit in the draft, and that’s just what they did with their first three picks.”
Evan Silva at NBC Sports. Grade: A-minus
“Overview: Per GM John Schneider, the Seahawks spent Thursday night watching Percy Harvin’s YouTube highlight reel after sacrificing the Nos. 25 and 214 picks, and next year’s third-rounder in exchange for the NFL’s premier slot receiver. Understandable. The Harvin acquisition is factored into Seattle’s grade. Schneider finally went on the clock Friday night and simply made picks straight off his board. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin? Who cares. Michael is the best player. He’s ours. Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin? We’ll take Harper and his Boldinian skill set. Williams is an immovable beast who makes us better in the trenches. Pick him. Simon is a press-man corner. Perfect scheme fit. Draft him. Late picks were primarily reserved for small schoolers and test freaks. Upside players who don’t hurt you if they bust. The Seahawks have drafted just like this every year under Schneider and Pete Carroll. Seems like it’s working.”
Elliott Harrison at NFL.com, who lists the Seahawks among his “winners.”
“Like the Bengals, the Seahawks picked up a complementary back, nabbing Christine Michael in the second round. Defensive tackles Jordan Hill (third round) and Jesse Williams (fifth round), who was originally projected as a second-round pick but slipped for medical reasons, should help this club immensely up the middle. Oh yeah; don’t forget the club’s “first-round pick”: receiver Percy Harvin.
Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com, who offers grades on each pick.
Round 2, RB Christine Michael. Grade: B-plus. “I love this pick. Yes, he has some off-field issues, but he is a heck of a runner. Does it fill a need? No. But I like it.”
Round 3, DT Jordan Hill. Grade: B-plus. “This is a vintage Seahawks pick. They get it. This is a productive inside player on a team that faced a lot of adversity.”
Round 4, WR Chris Harper. Grade: B-plus. “Physical receiver who can bat aside press coverage and compete well for the ball while flashing solid RAC ability. He profiles as a possession guy for Seattle who could possibly succeed Golden Tate.”
Round 5, DT Jesse Williams. Grade: A. “After the loss of man-mountain Alan Branch from the interior of their DL, the Seahawks could use some additional depth. They get a run-stuffing terror in Aussie/Alabama product Jesse Williams. His knees are iffy for the long term, but he can start giving Seattle productive snaps from Day One.”
Round 5, CB Tharold Simon. Grade: C. “Simon has great height, frame and shows the kind of hip turn to stay with receivers as they get downfield, but with questions on his feet and overall quickness.”
Round 5, TE Luke Willson. Grade: D-plus. “A steady presence in both Old School and the underappreciated Idiocracy, Willson … whoops. Wait a minute. He’s a TE from Rice who must be smart, but who hasn’t shown up on anyone’s draft lists except for, apparently, Seattle’s.”
Round 6, RB Spencer Ware. Grade: C-minus. “A tough, physical runner who also flashes the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Ware faces an uphill climb to make the roster behind Lynch, Robert Turbin and 2nd-rounder Christine Michael.”
Round 7, OG Ryan Seymour. Grade: B-minus. “A competitive blocker who had to face the SEC’s best week in and week out, Seymour could push for a spot given Seattle’s underwhelming guard duo.”
Round 7, OLB/DE Ty Powell. Grade: B. “Powell is somewhat undersized, but has an intriguing mix of speed and explosion. A creative guy like Pete Carroll can probably find a way to maximize Powell’s skills in a sub-package pass rush role.”
Round 7, OG Jared Smith. Grade: B-minus. “A quick, high-motor DT who can be a part of the rotation as Seattle fills the hole left by Alan Branch’s departure.” Note: Someone wasn’t listening. Smith is being moved to guard – a la J.R. Sweezy last year.
Round 7, OT Michael Bowie. Grade: B-minus. “A long and strong tackle who will need a ton of polish; Bowie may be ticketed for the practice squad but could potentially bookend Russell Okung after a few seasons.”
The Seahawks kicked off their third day of the 2013 NFL Draft this morning by selecting Kansas State wide receiver Chris Harper in the fourth round.
He signed with Oregon as a quarterback out of high school, but moved to wide receiver and then Kansas State.
The 6-foot, 234-pound Harper was the 26th pick in the round and 123rd overall.
This was the first of 10 scheduled picks for the Seahawks today, as they have three in the fifth round, two in the sixth and four in the seventh. The 12 total picks tie the franchise record for most in the seven-round drafts that began in 1994. They also had 12 in 2001.
Harper joins a list of previous fourth-round picks by the Seahawks that includes center John Yarno (1977), Pro Bowl running back Chris Warren (1990), kicker John Kasay (1991), linebacker Dean Wells (1993), defensive end Phillip Daniels (1996), linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski (2000), guard Rob Sims (2006), defensive end Red Bryant (2008) and linebacker K.J. Wright (2011).