Seattle Seahawks Rookie Stock Report, Early Camp Edition
The Seattle Seahawks have started several rookies in years past, but that might not be the case this season. That doesn’t mean coach Pete Carroll won’t give several rookies an opportunity to compete for a starting job this year.
The Seahawks have 10 drafted rookies and another nine undrafted rookies in training camp. Taking an early look at how well those first-year players are doing might not say much about their chances to make the team today, but is a good baseline to use as the team prepares for its preseason opener against Tennessee.
Quarterback Russell Wilson
Wilson was the team’s third-round pick from Wisconsin and took every rep during the rookie minicamp. He impressed coach Pete Carroll so much that Carroll entered Wilson into the competition for the starting job.
The only knock on Wilson is his height (5’11”). Other than that, he was a winner at Wisconsin and North Carolina State, is accurate, athletic and mobile in and out of the pocket. He got his first work with the starting offense on Monday, and that is a sign that Carroll hasn’t changed his mind about letting him compete with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent signee Matt Flynn.
Wilson’s stock is definitely still trending up.
Running Back Robert Turbin
Turbin is a big, muscular back from Utah State who has already been dubbed “SeaHulk” by his teammates.
Turbin, a fourth-round pick, averaged 6.1 yards per carry last year and has decent speed. He’s good in space, a solid blocker and won’t shy away from a hit. He’s a compact 5’10”, 222 pounds, and if starter Marshawn Lynch misses any time, Turbin could wind up being the starter. As it is, he’ll likely be Lynch’s primary backup.
Turbin’s stock keeps rising, and it’s almost as if he’s the heir apparent to Lynch.
Wide Receivers Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei
All three rookie receivers were undrafted, and the Seahawks have 13 wideouts in camp. It’ll be hard for any of these to make the final 53-man roster, but any of the three could be assigned to the practice squad. Bates has versatility and can play any of the receiver positions, something especially helpful for a practice squad player.
Kearse is a local favorite from the University of Washington, while Tuinei had a very good career at Oregon and was named the Rose Bowl MVP. If there is one of these guys who could be this year’s Doug Baldwin and be a surprise contributor to the active roster, it’s Tuinei. With his 6’4”, 220-pound frame, he can be dangerous in the red zone, as he proved at Oregon with 10 touchdowns last season.
The bar hasn’t been raised or lowered with any of these rookies in the first week of training camp. That will change once the team has its intrasquad scrimmage and first preseason game.
Guards Rishaw Johnson and J.R. Sweezy
Sweezy was a defensive tackle at North Carolina State and comes with some character concerns following a pair of arrests in college. The Seahawks took him in the seventh round as a project, and he could be a practice squad player as he continues to learn his new position. The fact that he can play on both sides of the ball would make him an ideal practice squad addition.
Johnson was a Division II All-American at California (Pa.) University. Originally a recruit at Ole Miss, he was dismissed for violating team rules and transferred to Cal. He was carted off the field on Sunday with cramps, but returned to practice. That should raise some health and durability concerns though as the team evaluates which players can make it through the season. Cramping up in the first week of camp can’t be a good thing.
Defensive Ends Jaye Howard, Bruce Irvin, Cordarro Law and Greg Scruggs
Irvin was the team’s first-round pick from West Virginia. The pick surprised many draftniks, but Irvin has impressed the Seattle coaches early on. He’s also been receiving tips from veteran Chris Clemons, who has racked up 11 sacks in each of the last two seasons.
Irvin is still very raw as an NFL prospect and will have to grow into a complete player. There are still plenty of skeptics out there who believe the Seahawks blew this pick. With Clemons mentoring him, Irvin can hopefully become more than just a pass-rusher. His biggest strength is his speed, and that’s something coach Pete Carroll cited immediately.
Scruggs was the team’s final draft pick, selected 232nd overall. The Louisville product has been impressively strong and is definitely trending up.
Law was a sack machine at Southern Miss, with 28 in three seasons at outside linebacker. How he transitions to defensive end in the NFL will be something to watch.
Howard was a defensive tackle at Florida, where he consistently got penetration. He’s not a guy who will eat up blockers, but rather, shed them to make a tackle. He probably has to get stronger to be a consistent player in the NFL, but should have his moments.
Linebackers Bobby Wagner, Kyle Knox and Korey Toomer
The Seahawks might be the first team in NFL history to select two players from Utah State in the same draft. But they got two potentially very good ones in running back Robert Turbin in the fourth round and Wagner in the second.
Wagner was heavily coveted by several teams, including the St. Louis Rams. He capped a very productive career at Utah State with 147 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions and was named the WAC defensive player of the year. His stock will only continue to rise as he competes for the starting middle linebacker job.
Knox went undrafted from Fresno State, while Toomer was a fifth-round selection from Idaho, where he was the team’s MVP. Toomer could compete for a starting job, but it’s more likely he’ll be a special teams player with the occasional nickel situation insert. Neither player has done much through the first few practices to distinguish themselves. Toomer’s stock is on a plateau, while Knox’s could already be on the down slope.
Cornerbacks Jeremy Lane and Donny Lisowski
Lane was one of the team’s two sixth-round picks. The former Northwestern State (La.) star played well on the big stage in college with nine tackles and an interception against LSU. He could be used as a nickelback and has the size (6’0", 190) and athleticism to play in the NFL.
Lisowski, an undersized corner from Montana, attended the rookie minicamp in May on a tryout basis. He did enough there to earn a training camp invite, but was one of 10 players to sit out Monday’s practice. There’s an old NFL phrase that says, “You can’t make the club in the tub,” so Lisowski needs to get back on the field.
His stock can go back up, but is currently descending.
Safety Winston Guy
Guy, from Kentucky, was the team’s other sixth-round draft choice. A solid tackler, Guy needs to shore up his cover skills. That is one thing he’ll work out, but can contribute on special teams or even on the practice squad. He has big upside, and his stock continues to rise through the first week of camp.
The Seahawks are set at safety with established starters Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, but Guy will definitely compete with Chris Maragos and Jeron Johnson for that third spot.
Long Snapper Sean McGrath
McGrath is an undrafted rookie from Henderson State and is likely just a camp body. He doesn’t have much of a chance to beat out Clint Gresham, the team’s very capable long snapper since 2009.
The team had a rookie kicker in camp, Carson Wiggs, but he was cut on Tuesday to make a roster spot for newly-signed wide receiver Braylon Edwards.