Rookie minicamp round-up: Day two

Good morning, and welcome to day two of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp.

It was a busy day yesterday here at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, as 67 players turned out for the weekend’s competition. The camp’s roster features a mix of 2013 draft picks, undrafted rookie free agents that have signed or agreed to terms with the club, tryout players, and current Seahawks who are still eligible to participate in the three-day camp.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times outlines yesterday’s work of tight end Luke Willson, the Seahawks’ fifth round draft pick who made quite the impact on his first day in the Pacific Northwest.

Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times highlights the performances of a pair of drafted D-linemen – third-rounder Jordan Hill out of Penn State and fifth-rounder Jesse Williams of Alabama.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com profiles the Seahawks’ top draft pick – running back Christine Michael out of Texas A&M – and his pair of massive biceps.

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a post-practice conversation with Carroll, where coach was quick to call out the tight end Willson’s standout performance. The entry from Henderson also includes some pre-minicamp comments from general manager John Schneider and video analysis from 710 Sports’ Brock Huard on why the Seahawks made Willson a priority in last month’s draft.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune also focuses on Michael and Willson in his report from day one.

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has his impressions of the Seahawks’ first day of minicamp, and pegs seventh-round draft pick Michael Bowie – the offensive tackle out of Northeastern State, but who started his college career at Oklahoma State – as one rookie to keep an eye on.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his notes from yesterday’s practice session, including an interesting tactic head coach Pete Carroll used prior to the start of camp, “Wilson’s legacy: Carroll opened a morning staff meeting by showing video of [Russell] Wilson struggling with some of the basics, including center exchanges, during the rookie camp last year. Wilson finished the season with a playoff victory and an appearance in the Pro Bowl. Carroll wanted to put into perspective the first day of rookie minicamp so his coaches wouldn’t get down on a young player for struggling early.”

Shortly before yesterday’s session kicked off, the team announced they had signed seven draft choices and eight undrafted rookie free agents to multi-year deals.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth profiles the second-round pick Michael and his “Hawkville” blog recaps Willson’s day, has a look at the makeup of the camp’s offensive line, and offers a positional breakdown of the camp’s 67-man roster.

Insider Tony Ventrella has his video report from the first day of rookie camp, with a brief introduction and look at each of the team’s drafted rookies.

And finally, team photographer Rod Mar has a look at the camp’s first practice in photos.

We’ll be back with more from Saturday’s practice and media availabilities later this afternoon.


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.

RM3_7253

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


Seven draft choices, eight undrafted rookies signed

Jordan Hill

Defensive tackle Jordan Hill, selected in the third round by the Seahawks in the 2013 NFL Draft, signed a multi-year contract with the club today

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.

Those signed:

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


Tight end Darren Fells released

Darren Fells

Darren Fells, a former professional basketball player who was trying to catch on with the Seahawks as a tight end, has been released the team announced today.

The 6-foot-7 Fells had been signed in March following a tryout.

Fells played basketball last season for the Libertad Sunchales in Argentina and before that also had played professionally in Mexico, France, Finland and Belgium. He played his college ball at the University of California, Irvine.

The release of Fells leaves the Seahawks with five tight ends on their 90-man roster, as the veterans put the wraps on the second week of Phase 2 in their offseason program today and the rookies are set to report Thursday for a three-day minicamp this weekend: starter Zach Miller, who finished third on the team with 38 receptions last season; incumbent backup Anthony McCoy, who had career-best totals in receptions (18), receiving yards (291) and TD catches (three) last season; Sean McGrath, a rookie free agent last year who spent most of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster in December; Luke Willson, who was selected in the fifth-round of the NFL Draft last month; and Cooper Helfet, who was signed to a future contract in January after being with the team in training camp last year.


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May the 4th be with you… always.

May the 4th be with you

It is May 4th and as appropriate on this day, dare we say … May the 4th be with you! To spell it out for the percentage of us born after the rest of us discovered (for the second time) that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact (SPOILER ALERT), Darth Vader, this phrase is a play on words to the Jedi credo (not to be confused with Greedo – RIP): “May the force be with you” as made popular by the Star Wars films.

That all being said, Happy Star Wars Day, 12s!

Don’t believe that this is a galaxy-wide holiday for most of us (except  for maybe the Empire as evidenced in this attack ad)? Find out more information at the official website of Star Wars Day: http://maythe4th.starwars.com

If it isn’t already obvious, we here at Seahawks.com are Red Bryant-sized fans of all five episodes (we’re still trying to erase the memory of that Binks character from Episode I). And we’re not alone in our nerdom…

And then there’s this photo essay from NFL.com likening NFL players to Star Wars characters …

NFL.com

Richard Sherman as Boba Fett: First things first … Boba Fett didn’t die in the mouth of the Sarlacc. Tortured? Yes. But he does escape. (And this better be addressed in Episode VII, so help me.) But when I think of Fett as an NFL player, I can’t help but think of Richard Sherman. Both are trash talkers and always seem to get their man. Fett was an unexpected hero of the Star Wars universe (which George Lucas realized and is why Jango Fett and his son have such a huge storyline in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”). And likewise, Sherman is becoming one of the most famous (infamous?) players in the NFL.

So, in the spirit of this galactic holiday, we created the graphic at the top of this page to help 12s celebrate with us on Instagram. But like the elder Skywalker, (and apparently the NFL) once we started down this dark path we simply couldn’t help ourselves …

How many of these 12 references can you guess? Perfect 12 equals Jedi Master:

May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you

To end as all episodes end…


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Seahawks rookies assigned jersey numbers

Christine Michael

Seahawks second-round draft pick RB Christine Michael out of Texas A&M will wear the same number (33) at the pro level that he did in college (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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.

Draft Picks:

#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)


What they’re saying about the Seahawks’ draft

Seahawks 2013 Draft Class

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.”


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Seahawks select Rice TE Luke Willson with third fifth-round pick

Luke Willson

With their third selection in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seahawks picked Rice tight end Luke Willson.

The 6-foot-5, 252-pound Willson was the 25th pick in the round, and 158th overall. Earlier today, the Seahawks selected Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams and LSU cornerback Tharold Simon with the fourth and fifth picks in the fifth round.

The Canadian-born Willson joins a list of previous fifth-round draft choices by the Seahawks that includes All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (2011), Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor (2010), special-teams standout Don Dufek (1976), guard Edwin Bailey (1981), Pro Bowl kick returner Bobby Joe Edmonds (1986), kick returner Charlie Rogers (1999), Pro Bowl special-teams player Alex Bannister (2001) and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (2002).


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