Quarterback Russell Wilson joined Max Unger (No. 95), Percy Harvin (No. 90), and Earl Thomas (No. 66) as the fourth Seahawk to be represented on NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 players of 2013, appearing at No. 51 on tonight’s unveil of players ranked 51-60.
He’s also the fourth quarterback to crack the Top 100, as his peers voted him higher than fellow signal callers Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers (No. 81), Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions (No. 76), and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 61).
It was what Wilson did a season ago for the Seahawks that landed him on this list.
After being selected with the 75th overall pick (third round) of the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson beat out incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn to claim the starting job in preseason. He led Seattle on an 11-5 campaign where he tied Peyton Manning’s 1998 record for the most touchdown passes by a rookie (26), became the first rookie in NFL history to lead his team to an undefeated home record, set a club record with a 100.0 passer rating – the second-best ever by a rookie, and quarterbacked a 24-14 come-from-behind victory in the Wild Card round over the Washington Redskins to give the club their first road playoff win since 1983.
And all of those rookie accolades landed Wilson in the Pro Bowl, where he went 8-of-10 passing for 98 yards, tossing three touchdowns in the process.
He is the first of last season’s trio of first-year quarterbacks who were in the running for rookie of the year honors to be unveiled on the Top 100 list. But you can bet that last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck and 2012 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III will show up on the list in the coming weeks.
The Top 100 countdown picks up again next Thursday with players ranked 41-50.
Move over Max Unger. Make way Percy Harvin. Take a deep breath Earl Thomas.
A fourth Seahawk will be added to the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013 when those ranked 51-60 are unveiled in the series’ fifth episode that airs Thursday night.
As was the case with Unger, the All-Pro center who was ranked No. 95; Harvin, the receiver/runner/returner who checked in at No. 90; and Thomas, the All-Pro free safety who was slotted at No. 66, we know who the fourth Seahawks is, but we can’t say.
You’ll have to tune in at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday to find out. But the candidates include All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson and Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 20, as the Seahawks kicked off the OTA portion of their offseason program:
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ second-year quarterback made it difficult to not watch him, and coach Pete Carroll summed up the situation when asked how much farther along Wilson is this year compared to last year – when he had just been selected in the third round of the NFL Draft and still was competing for the starting job with the since-departed duo of Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson.
“There’s no way of even calculating that,” Carroll said after a crisp, spirited practice on yet another gorgeous day along the shores of Lake Washington. “His awareness and his sense for the finest details, we jumped offside today and he’s working on hard counts on the first play of team (drills).
“He didn’t know what a hard count was last year at this time.”
That might be stretching it just a tad, but saying that Wilson had a very impressive outing in the first of the team’s 10 OTA practices is not.
In that first team segment Carroll mentioned, Wilson completed passes to wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate and also scrambled twice, before throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Wilson remained almost as sharp, and aware, for the rest of the session.
“It’s really hard to equate what it is, because he’s applied himself so much that he’s taken an extraordinary amount of information and he’s processing it,” Carroll said. “He threw a couple of balls today – things that we’ve talked about over the offseason we’d like to take a shot at – and he did it today just to see what would happen. With full awareness of why he was doing it.”
Before the OTA session was over, Wilson had completed passes to 10 receivers – running back Robert Turbin; Baldwin and McCoy; Tate, running back Derrick Coleman, rookie tight end Luke Willson, Percy Harvin, tight end Zach Miller, wide receiver Bryan Walters and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
The pass to Kearse was vintage Wilson – and that’s saying something, as well, that a second-year QB already has established trademark nuances to his game. It came on the final play, as Wilson avoided pressure and got off a pass that caught Kearse as much as Kearse caught the pass.
“Russell is the kind of players that will affect other guys,” Carroll said. “He affects everybody around him and hopefully that will help everybody play better.”
Offensive line. Right tackle Breno Giacomini participated fully, after being limited in Phase 2 of the offseason program following elbow surgery. His returned allowed the No. 1 offense to field the same line that closed last season – Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger, right guard J.R. Sweezy and Giacomini.
Comprising the second unit, from left tackle to right: Mike Person, who had been working for Giacomini with the No. 1 line; Rishaw Johnson, Lemuel Jeanpierre, John Moffitt and Michael Bowie. In the third unit: Alvin Bailey, Johnson, Jared Smith, Ryan Seymour and Jordon Roussos.
Cliff Avril. And that’s what the defensive end who was signed in free agency was doing – watching, because he’s dealing with plantar fascia that he got a month ago.
But with Bruce Irvin facing a four-game suspension to start the regular season and Chris Clemons still recovering from surgery to repair the ligament and meniscus damage in his left knee from the wild-card playoff win over the Redskins in January, Avril is slated to be the starter at the Leo end spot in the Sept. 8 opener against the Panthers in Carolina.
“I like the fact that Cliff is here because he gave us a cushion for Clem,” Carroll said. “That now changes for the first month of the season.”
Today, Irvin continued to work at Leo end in the No. 1 nickel line, with Mike Morgan taking over with the second unit and Ty Powell going with the third unit. In the base defense, Michael Bennett was the Leo end with the No. 1 line.
Tight end Darren Fells was re-signed this morning, while snapper Adam Steiner was released to clear a spot on the 90-man roster.
Fells, a basketball player in college who also played professionally in Belgium, Ireland and Argentina, was released two weeks ago. But he attended the May 10-12 rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Steiner had been claimed off waivers last week.
Also, running back Christine Michael, who was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft last month, signed his rookie contract.
The players also have OTA sessions Tuesday and Thursday this week. Next week, they’ll go Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
YOU DON’T SAY, PLAYER EDITION
“We really don’t care. Coach said we’ve got a lot of hype, but he also said let’s make it natural. Everybody around here expects us to win, but we expect ourselves to win, too. We don’t come out here saying we hope to lose. With a good team comes a lot of talk, but we put all that behind us. We’re out here having fun, we’re competing and that’s how it’s going to be.” – Harvin, when asked how the players were handling the heightened expectations that have come from being regarded among the “favorites” in the league this offseason by the national media
YOU DON’T SAY, COACH EDITION
“It was a very, very good first day for us.” – Carroll
It’s yet another recognition for the hard-to-believe-he-is-already-in-his-fourth-year pro. Thomas, who turned just 24-years-old earlier this month, has garnered Pro Bowl honors (2011, 2012) and first-team AP All-Pro (2012) selections since coming into the League out of the University of Texas with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has led a Seahawks defense that has jumped from ranking 27th in the NFL in 2010 to ninth in 2011 to fourth last season.
Despite a stellar 2012 where he racked up 66 tackles, nine passes defensed, forced and recovered a fumble, and picked off three passes – one of which he returned 57 yards for a touchdown, Thomas’ ranking at No. 66 is the exact same spot where he showed up last year on this same list.
That’s why it’s not too surprising that the hyper-competitive Thomas isn’t all that satisfied with his rank, saying he’ll use it as “fuel to the fire.”
The Seahawks already have had two players ranked among the NFL Network’s countdown of the Top 100 Players of 2013 – All-Pro center Max Unger at No. 95 and receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin at No. 90.
Those players ranked 61-70 will be unveiled Thursday starting at 5 p.m., and there is another Seahawk in this group. We can’t tell you who it is, so you’ll have to tune in to the NFL Network to find out.
Fans also can vote for their top players at www.NFL.com/Top100 through May 31.
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 best way to kick off my appearance for the season is without a shirt on. I’m in a little bit better shape, right?”
If you’re a fan of Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report” then it should be a pretty easy guess as to who’s behind that lighthearted quote that helps kick off his newest episode.
If you’re not yet a fan of the show, it’s about time you get in on all of the behind-the-scenes Seahawks goodness.
Robinson’s latest chapter features a look in at Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The familiar faces of Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Winston Guy, John Moffitt, Max Unger, Josh Portis, Jermaine Kearse, and Phil Bates are all included, as well as the first “Real Rob Report” introductions with newcomers Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett.
Remember, you can stay up to date on everything from the Real Mike Rob by following his show on Twitter and subscribing to his channel on YouTube. And be sure to check out Moffitt’s venture into the apparel business at moffittmerch.com, where like he said in the video above – he’s not “lining his pockets” with the proceeds – they help feed the homeless at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Marshawn Lynch prefers to let his actions speak for him.
And when you’ve rushed for 2,794 yards and scored 25 touchdowns the past two seasons, that’s a prolonged – not to mention productive – conversation.
Lynch generated discussions of a different kind on sports-talk radio last week by his absence when Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ voluntary offseason program began. But he’s back, and his teammates let him hear it when Lynch arrived midway through Monday’s on-field session.
“Guys are going to raze him a little bit,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after today’s workout. He then smiled before adding, “When you make a grand entrance like that, they’re going to raze you.”
But today Lynch was back where he belongs, and the team needs him: In the backfield, carrying and catching the ball. In an early drill, Lynch came out of his stance, juked around a trashcan and took a short pass from backup QB Brady Quinn. Later, Lynch took a handoff from QB Russell Wilson and darted between All-Pro center Max Unger and guard John Moffitt.
The All-Pro back punctuated each maneuver with a smile.
“He just jumped right back in there, didn’t miss a beat,” Bevell said. “It’s great to have him out there. It kind of lifts morale. Guys love to see him. He’s a great player and competitor for us, so it’s always good to have him out there.”
We’re 20 players into NFL.com’s “Top 100 Players of 2013” and the Seahawks already have two representatives on the list.
Last night on NFL Network, wide receiver Percy Harvin joined center Max Unger (No. 95) as the 90th-best player in the League according to his peers.
It’s hard to believe Harvin didn’t rank a little bit higher. After all, Harvin was having himself an MVP-caliber season for the Vikings before he suffered an ankle injury in Week 9 against the Seahawks. He was a focal point of their offense and managed to put up 1,347 total yards (receiving, returning, and rushing) and five touchdowns despite missing Minnesota’s final seven games on injured reserve.
“Anytime your peers are voting for you, it’s always a great accomplishment,” Harvin said last night to NFL Network. “I’m just looking to go from there and get better.”
The Seahawks already have one player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players for 2013 and they’re about to get another.
Players No. 90 through No. 81 will be profiled Thursday in the weekly series, which starts at 5 p.m. PT. We know who that player is and where he’s ranked, we just can’t say. But make sure you tune in early to see who it is.
Among the candidates: All-Pro and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas, All-Pro and Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, recently acquired receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson.
All-Pro and Pro Bowl center Max Unger? He was at No. 95 when the series kicked off Saturday following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
Unger was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice in 2009. He started at right guard that season, becoming the first rookie lineman to start all 16 games for the Seahawks since Ray Roberts in 1992. Unger was back at right guard in 2010, but he got a season-ending toe injury in the opener. He moved to center – the position he had played at the University of Oregon – in 2011 with the arrival of line coach Tom Cable and has only gotten better by the snap.
“I knew Max when he came out of college,” said Cable, who was with the Raiders at the time. “I thought he would be a fine, fine center when he got to this level. … So we put him there from Day One and his development has been second to none on this team.”