The Seattle Seahawks like to find hidden talent.
For Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, it seems like it has almost become a matter of pride. Over the last few years, the Seahawks have been successful at finding players in the late rounds and in other parts of the football world.
Will this success continue in 2013?
When a team is going through OTAs, there are a lot of players in camp. Some of the athletes make for nice stories on a short-term basis, but ultimately they are not going to make the team. Given the depth of this Seahawks team, it may be hard for an unknown rookie to earn a job.
Still, there is something about the determination of the human spirit that allows for the possibility that anyone can be a surprise. There are currently some intriguing athletes on the roster, and one never knows how they will perform.
With that in mind, here are five undrafted Seattle Seahawks players who could prove to be gems in 2013.
Weight: 233 pounds
With K.J. Wright moving positions and Leroy Hill moving on, there may be room for another linebacker on the Seattle roster. Lotulelei was projected as a player who had a solid chance of being drafted, but he was not selected and Seattle quickly signed him out of the pool of UDFAs.
Lotulelei isn’t the fastest linebacker, but he is physical and he knows how to tackle. He is an instinctive defender and he racked up 120 tackles in 2012.
Assume the Lotulelei is going to face some stiff competition from the likes of Malcolm Smith and others. However, the Seahawks did give Lotulelei $25,000 as a signing bonus (via mauinow.com), so obviously there is some interest in him.
Weight: 281 pounds
Strictly speaking, Darren Fells isn’t really in the same category as other rookies who went through the draft and then tried to catch on with a team.
Fells is a former basketball player, and if he were to make the Seahawks, he would represent yet another find for Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
Honestly, it will be a little while before anyone knows if this guy can play football at the professional level. He obviously has the body to be a tight end, but there is difference between posting up in the lane and taking a hard hit from two linebackers in the open field.
Fells has already been waived once (via NBC Sports), so he knows that there are no guarantees. Still, with the departure of Anthony McCoy, there is an opportunity for Fells to have a shot at winning a job.
Weight: 320 pounds
Bailey is listed as a tackle on the Seattle roster, but he played both guard positions at Arkansas. Overall, Bailey is very strong, and he was well regarded coming out of college in terms of his physical gifts.
The issue seems to be whether Bailey has the proper technique to play in the NFL. Given Seattle’s myriad options, Bailey will need to step up and prove that he is able to maximize his strength within a blocking scheme.
As analyzed by NFL.com:
The rare guard that alternated sides of the line during games depending on the formation, Bailey is blessed with a natural anchor to limit his opposition's momentum. The issue is the Razorback's technique, whether it be in tight spaces with a lack of hand use or poor posture leading to a limited amount of push or balance.
We’ll see if offensive line coach Tom Cable can do something with young Mr. Bailey.
Weight: 243 pounds
Another linebacker. Are you sensing a theme here? Pete Carroll likes athletic, instinctive linebackers, and Wilkins represents another player who could find himself on the Seattle roster in September.
As noted by NFL.com, Wilkins was going to be a priority signing for some team after the draft due to his speed, strength and overall production at Old Dominion. He just might have a shot at making the Seahawks.
Right now, there are 11 linebackers on the roster. With the exception of Heath Farwell, all of the those players have three or less years of experience.
Do you think the Seahawks like young linebackers?
Kenneth Boatright (center)
Weight: 254 pounds
Imagine, if you will, a worst-case scenario. Chris Clemons never gets back to his old self. Bruce Irvin is unable to be an effective full-time defensive end. Michael Bennett has a subpar season and leaves after one year.
Now, obviously Seahawk fans are going to hope that none of those scenarios play out. However, the ‘Hawks are always a team that is planning for the future. Is Boatright part of that future? Is he the right guy to play defensive end in the NFL after playing at a smaller school?
Time will tell, but he could be another gem that was overlooked by a lot of people.