Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 28:
Mike Sando at ESPN.com passes along an interesting – and possibly insightful – comment on rookie QB Russell Wilson from Tony Softli, a former personnel evaluator for the Panthers and Rams: “(Matt) Flynn will have his hands full in a training camp competition against this star in the making.” The item also includes this pre-draft assessment from Football Outsiders of the player who ended up being the Seahawks’ third-round choice: “Considering the examples from Wilson’s junior year in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he’s effective on deep passes off play-action, throws receivers open, and improvises on the move, his potential to develop into an NFL quarterback is better than his height may indicate,” (Matt) Waldman wrote. “Still, it is reasonable to approach Wilson’s NFL prospects with skepticism. (Drew) Brees never overcame doubts from the organization that drafted him. … However, as Brees, Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner, and several others have demonstrated, careers don’t end due to an inauspicious beginning.”
Sando also offers his thoughts on KC Joyner’s thought that cornerback Brandon Browner is among the most overrated players in the league: “Joyner pointed to the Seahawks cornerback’s league-high penalty count (19) as one indicator. He also used various coverage metrics to suggest Browner wasn’t all that good in coverage, either. I might have considered Browner’s teammate, Richard Sherman, as a superior choice to represent the NFC at season’s end. Pro Bowl voting was completed before then, of course. While Browner did commit too many penalties, those flags represented something positive, as well. Browner continually harassed opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. Overrated or not, he was a pain to play against.” I’ll second that, and also point out that Browner led the NFL with 23 passes defensed.
And still more from Sando, he offers his “hidden treasure” for the NFC West teams and tabs the wide receivers for the Seahawks: “The Seahawks haven’t sent a player to the Pro Bowl as a full-time wide receiver since Brian Blades made it following the 1989 season. That streak appears unlikely to end anytime soon. The team invested virtually nothing in the position this offseason. A few questions persist – for example, what does Mike Williams have in store? – but with so much attention on quarterbacks and the Seattle defense, wide receiver gets my vote as a Seahawks position group that could surprise.” The Seahawks have had only two wide-outs voted to the Pro Bowl in franchise history – Steve Largent (seven times) and Blades (once).
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at rookie offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Rishaw Johnson: “… There are going to be the rookies to consider, and yes, that’s going to be rookies with an ‘s’ to indicate plural. The Seahawks chose J.R. Sweezy from North Carolina State in the seventh round, and have converted him from defensive tackle into an offensive guard. When the rookie minicamp ended in early May, coach Pete Carroll gave a very positive review. … The other rookie who made a strong first impression was Rishaw Johnson, an undrafted free agent signed from California (Pa.) University, which is the same college where the Seahawks found quarterback Josh Portis a year ago.”
With school out for the summer, Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com offers a final examine to test your retention of what happened during the 2011 NFL season: “Think you remember how it all happened? Want to test your memory and maybe learn a thing or two? Have some fun taking this 21-question, multiple-choice (guess?) quiz.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the last of the team’s offseason workouts – and the nine rookie free agents who concluded the program this week: “Rookie free agents do face the longest of odds, as (strength and conditioning coach Chris) Carlisle said, in their attempts to earn spots on the 53-man roster or practice squad. But the Seahawks always have been good to undrafted rookies, and vice versa. The team’s honor roll of longest-odds beaters includes Ring of Honor quarterback Dave Krieg; free safety Eugene Robinson, the franchise’s all-time leading tackler; nose tackle Joe Nash, special teamer/linebacker Rufus Porter and fullback Mack Strong, who all played in the Pro Bowl during their careers and, like Robinson, were voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver last season. ‘There are a lot of guys who came in as free-agent rookies who play in the Pro Bowl, who were Super Bowl champions, that are in Canton (at the Pro Football Hall of Fame) right now that have gone from didn’t-have-a-chance to being pretty darn special,’ Carlisle said. Carlisle’s history lesson did not fall on deaf ears. ‘This is a program that kind of breeds these undrafted free agents, and that fact is very encouraging,’ said (tight end Sean) McGrath, who was heading back to Henderson State University in Arkansas to pack up the last of his left-behind belongings before going home to the Chicago area. ‘Anything can happen. You’ve just got to put your mind to it and keep working hard.’ ”
The Seahawks’ offseason program is down to the last players standing: The rookie free agents.
The team’s 10 draft choices completed their offseason work today. Saturday, they head to Ohio for the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium, which starts on Sunday for the NFC players. Then they’re off until training camp start in late July. The veterans called it a wrap after the final practice in last week’s minicamp.
So Monday, the only group left for the final three days in the offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center will be the rookies who have been added since the draft. Seven were signed just after the draft – wide receivers Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei; guard Rishaw Johnson, tight end Sean McGrath, safety DeShawn Shead and kicker Carson Wiggs. Two others were signed after tryouts in minicamps – cornerback Donny Lisowski and linebacker Kyle Knox. One – defensive end Cordarro Law – was signed between the draft in April and the rookie minicamp in May.
“It’s a learning experience in itself, just learning how to be a pro,” Bates said of watching the numbers diminish. “It’s pretty good, because I’ve learned a lot this week.”
And he has done it from the front of the line – rather than back, as was the case when the veterans were around.
“You take the stuff you learned while the vets were here and now you’re working it on by yourself and trying to master your craft,” Bates said. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Even with the vets gone, third-round draft choice Russell Wilson has been around to throw to Bates, Tuinei and McGrath (Kearse is sidelined with a foot injury). But Wilson is off to the symposium, so the rookie QB won’t be around next week.
“I’ve got the Jugs machine,” Bates said with a smile. “So that will help me out. I’m going to miss Russell, of course. But I’ve got the Jugs machine.”