The Seahawks have announced several changes shuffling up their scouting department.
Tag Ribary, in his 16th season with the club, has been promoted to director of team operations and will oversee team security, team video, facility and equipment departments.
Trent Kirchner has been promoted to fill Ribary’s previous role as director of pro personnel. Kirchner, who started as an intern in the team’s communications department (a great place to start, by the way), enters his fourth year with the Seahawks after spending eight seasons (2002-09) as a scout with the Carolina Panthers.
Former Panther’s 2001 first-round draft pick Dan Morgan takes over Kirchner’s former title of assistant director of pro personnel. Morgan spent the last two years with the Seahawks as a pro scout.
Josh Graff, who spent the last two seasons as an intern in the Seahawks scouting department, has been promoted to national scout and will rep the club in the Carolinas Region for National Scouting, Inc.
Jim Nagy has been hired on as the southeast area scout to replace Derrick Jensen, who retires after 22 seasons with the club. Jensen, who is currently battling ALS, made the team’s final two picks in April’s draft on what just so happened to also be his 57th birthday, selecting offensive guard Jared Smith and offensive tackle Michael Bowie via conference call with head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 3, as the Seahawks kicked off the final week of their OTA sessions:
FOCUS ON: ZACH MILLER
The Seahawks’ veteran tight end does so many things well that focusing on just one could be difficult. Except that when it comes to making one-handed catches, Miller is exceptional.
He had another during today’s OTA session, as well as a finger-tip grab of a pass after he got behind Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor. Miller also had a one-hander in the end zone last Wednesday that earned five-highs from several players – defensive, as well as offensive – and coach Pete Carroll. All three passes were thrown by quarterback Russell Wilson.
“I’ve always had a knack for just being able to get the big paw on it,” Miller said through a smile after the team’s sun-drenched session along the shores of Lake Washington. “It helps that I’ve got pretty big hands.”
But making the one-handers is mental as well as physical.
“You’ve got to understand what kind of passes you can catch like that,” Miller said. “If the ball is coming to you fast, you have no chance. So you’ve kind of got to pick your times to do that.”
While those catches can be uplifting for Miller, the QB who throws the pass and the other offensive players, they can have the reverse effect on the players who are covering Miller.
“If you make a one-hander, the defenders don’t like that,” he said. “They think they’ve got you. Then you stick a big paw out and you bring it in, they’re like, ‘Really, you caught that?’ ”
With Miller, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and comes with the tagline “again.”
PLAYER WATCH: MICHAEL BROOKS
The rookie defensive tackle has now practiced with the team twice since being claimed off waivers last week. But Brooks admits to feeling like the new kid who has entered a new school at midterm.
“I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system,” said Brooks, who was signed by the Lions after April’s NFL Draft.
Brooks did things one way at East Carolina and was learning to do them another with the Lions. Now comes the way defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and line coach Travis Fisher teach their techniques.
“I was just getting used to the way they do things in Detroit, then I get here and I’ve got to switch it all over,” he said.
In his first two practices – Friday and today – Brooks has participated in the individual drills and then been tutored while on the sideline during the team portions.
“It’s been a pretty good transition. Everybody is helping out,” he said. “I’m just watching and trying to learn from the older guys. They’ve been in the system for a while and I’m just kind of feeling my way through.”
POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLE
With incumbent starter Breno Giacomini missing today’s session, rookie tackle Michael Bowie worked on the right side of the offensive line with the No. 1 unit that also included Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, veteran left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger and second-year right guard J.R. Sweezy.
Bowie also continued to work with the No. 3 line, along with left tackle Mike Person, rookie left guard Alvin Bailey and fellow seventh-round draft choices Jared Smith at center and Ryan Seymour at right guard.
The extra reps will only help Bowie as he works to earn one of the backup spots on the 53-man roster.
JOSH PORTIS CFL BOUND
Josh Portis, the quarterback released last month by the Seahawks, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team has announced.
Portis was the Seahawks’ No. 3 quarterback on 2011, when he was active for one game. He was released last August on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad and then released in November. Portis was re-signed in April.
The players will be back on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as they complete the 10 OTA sessions allowed by the CBA that ended the 136-day lockout in 2011.
The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field will kick off its grand re-opening weekend on Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30, with Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin doing the honors.
YOU DON’T SAY
“He’s ready to learn. He’s listening to everything. He’s asking questions. Which is exactly how you want your rookie to be. He’s making plays out. He’s having some good days. It’s what he’s got to do to be our second tight end. … And he has that speed that he can separate from guys pretty easily. He’s going to be a weapon for us on offense.” – Miller on Luke Willson, the tight end the Seahawks selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 10, when the Seahawks opened their three-day rookie minicamp:
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.
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.
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
Cortez 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.
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
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.”
With their third pick in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seahawks again addressed depth on the offensive line by selecting New Hampshire guard Jared Smith.
The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Smith was the 35th pick in the round, and 241st overall. It was a compensatory selection.
The Seahawks also selected Vanderbilt guard Ryan Seymour with the 14th in the seventh round.