The Seahawks were one of several NFL teams who conducted their 2013 rookie minicamp this past weekend. There were 65 players who participated in the minicamp; our 9 draft picks, 11 undrafted free agents, and 45 try-out players. Although none of our veteran players participated in minicamp this weekend, it was good to see our new players on the field together to work through some of the basic parts of the playbook and to get used to the Seahawks faster practice pace. Although I was not down at the VMAC for this camp, I was able to see a little bit of camp online and kept up through various reporters and coach and player press conferences. Here are some notes I took out of this year’s rookie minicamp.
After Friday’s practice, running back Christine Michael and defensive tackle Jordan Hill spoke to the media. One of the commonalities among the comments they made about their first practice with the Seahawks was the tempo of practice. The number one difference between college practice and NFL practice is the go-go-go pace of practice. There is not much rest time in between drills here in Seattle and you could tell some players had trouble adjusting to the change in tempo. I don’t really want to say they looked totally sluggish and worn out as the number of drills and reps stacked up but they definitely looked tired; at least more tired than what practice looks like during training camp.
The star of this weekend’s minicamp was 5th round draft pick Luke Willson. Willson, a tight end from Rice, made two great catches along the sideline on the first day of minicamp and impressed Coach Carroll and Coach Bevell throughout the weekend. When he addressed the media after Saturday’s practice, I could tell that we drafted not only a talented football player but a smart person. Willson is very well spoken and seems to have great knowledge for the game of football. What is also impressive is that he grew up in Canada playing hockey and he also turned down a professional baseball contract in order to pursue a professional football career. I’m excited to see him perform in person but just from these facts, we drafted one heck of a naturally gifted athlete.
According to Coach Carroll, both Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams impressed at defensive tackle this weekend. I didn’t see any of their on-field highlights but this news triggers the idea of having one of these two rookies winning the starting defensive tackle job that was left vacant when Alan Branch signed with Buffalo.
The number one quarterback at this minicamp was Jerrod Johnson. Johnson is technically the fourth-string backup on the 90-man roster but he was the only quarterback on the active roster who participated in this minicamp. Johnson comes to Seattle after brief stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The biggest thing I took out of Johnson’s highlights was his velocity. Johnson does not float the ball and the velocity and accuracy on his deep throws impressed me. Johnson looks like a fast, athletic quarterback who could mirror Russell Wilson on the scout team offensive unit; however the film from this weekend shows something different. Johnson’s pocket presence was noteworthy. He did not scramble on any of the throws I saw on film. Although we have five sessions of organized team activities and one more full minicamp on the horizon, I think it is possible Johnson will make the initial training camp roster and the Seahawks will start training camp with four quarterbacks.
One off-field note that you may have already heard about. Richard Sherman was spotted on a wave runner on Friday. Sherman was watching practice and scouting the rookies from the shores of Lake Washington. Am I surprised about this? No, not really. In fact if I had to guess one player watching practice from the lake on a wave runner, I would put my money on Sherman ten times out of ten.
Next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the Seahawks will conduct the first three sessions of organized team activities (OTA’s). Check back in a couple weeks for a wrap-up report from the first full-team practices of 2013!