The Seattle Seahawks are arguably a Super Bowl contender this season, which means that there is talent at every position. Therefore, rookies won't be playing a major role this year, right?
We will see. Football is unpredictable.
Every team has a rookie minicamp, and the Seahawks are no different. The Super Bowl isn't in the bag just yet, and titles are won when teams get contributions from everyone. That includes the grizzled veteran and the surprising seventh-round pick.
In the NFL, depth matters, and this year's rookies can very quickly be major components of sustained success.
Seattle has some intriguing picks, and while a number of them may not make the team, this is where quality scouting can really become evident. Now we find out whether John Schneider and Pete Carroll were able to work a little magic yet again.
Obviously, rookie camp is just the beginning, and there may be a number of questions that will not be answered until later in the summer. However, here are the five biggest takeaways from the Seattle Seahawks' rookie minicamp.
Pete Carroll loves to see his players fight for jobs. That is a takeaway from minicamp, but it is not a surprise.
You could make an argument that he and Schneider have created a healthy atmosphere of competition where athletes do not take their positions for granted, but instead work hard for the betterment of the team.
Carroll notes what he is looking for (via Eric D. Williams, The News Tribune):
Always work ethic – the guys that come in to compete really hard, and that will put their best effort out there first. They’re not going to know what to do. They’re not going to know what’s going on, but we need guys to kind of run through the china shop and kind of knock everything down.
Obviously, hard work alone is not going to be enough to win a job on this squad, but Carroll is going to look for players who stand out and are able to assimilate quickly into a system.
Even at the pro level, hard work and the willingness to be coached are key aspects of making the team.
The Seattle Seahawks have found some gems in the later rounds of the NFL draft in recent years. Are there future Pro Bowlers in this rookie class?
Granted, Sherman did visit at a distance via personal watercraft since veterans are not allowed at this particular event. Was Sherman just being Sherman, or was he scouting players who could push him in the next season or two?
Carroll and Schneider have earned some respect in the NFL community due to success in the draft over the past few seasons. Perhaps it is presumptive to assume that there will be future stars in this particular class, but it is fair to say that curiosity is reasonably high.
While the ‘Hawks do not have a lot of obvious holes, the takeaway is that there are several players who will generate some intrigue.
Perhaps Sherman wanted to check out a fifth-round pick named Tharold Simon. The LSU cornerback is the type of tall corner that Carroll loves. At 6’2” and 202 pounds, Simon could fit nicely into the Seattle scheme.
Another dominant ‘Hawks defender? It hardly seems fair to the rest of the NFL, right?
What is unclear is whether Simon will eventually push one of the starters, or simply provide a level of depth and compete with the likes of Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell (via Q13Fox.com).
As noted by ESPN, Simon has had some personal problems in the past. However, Seattle has never been a team that has been afraid of guys with issues. If Simon can buy into the system and be held accountable by the existing stars, he could be a key addition.
Granted, he still has to make this team, and fifth-round picks are certainly not guaranteed jobs. Seattle is not exactly short on competition in the secondary.
Zach Miller is probably safe as the starting tight end, but Anthony McCoy may have some competition this season. That competition could come from another fifth-round rookie named Luke Willson, who played his college ball at Rice.
According to Fox News, both Willson and fourth-round selection Chris Harper were impressive catching balls in camp. Granted, you have to take the word “impressive” with a grain of salt, as coaches are obviously going to be general and upbeat about their selections at this point.
In addition, rookie camp is a far cry from what will happen in a few short months.
Still, a motivated and athletic rookie tight end could be a key addition for the Seahawks. In addition, Harper is the type of experienced receiver who could find a role with this team if he continues to impress.
Both players will face an uphill battle once training camp starts in the summer, as there are plenty of veteran targets for Russell Wilson on this team. However, for now the takeaway is that the ‘Hawks have more potential options on offense.
Is there a defensive starter in this rookie class?
It might be Jesse Williams. Or it could be Jordan Hill. The two will be linked (via Seahawks.com) as long as they are on this team, given that they play on the defensive line and also came out of the same rookie class.
The coaching staff envisions different roles for these two players, but the common theme is that it would be nice to have an infusion of rookie energy into a defense that is already regarded as one of the best in the league. Now they just have to make the team.
If Hill and Williams turn out to be impact players, they could represent another masterful drafting job by the Seahawks, given that they were taken in the third and fifth rounds, respectively. Fans hope that these two can be contributors for years to come.
The takeaway is that there are potential starters on the defensive line in this rookie class.
Ultimately, rookie camp is just a glimpse into the future, but this is where stars get their start. After this, it is will soon be time for rookies to prove their worth against the big boys.
Let the competition for jobs begin.