I spent Friday and Saturday hanging at the VMAC last weekend watching the Seattle Seahawks draft picks, undrafted free agents, tryout players and second year pros, class was in session and I enjoyed every minute.
Head Coach Pete Carroll and staff pushed these young players who received teaching and coaching at the highest level not to mention having fun while competing throughout the practice sessions, which is the Pete Carroll trademark.
As the rookies received their inauguration to the grown man’s league better known as the NFL, several young players like QB Jake Heaps and WR Kenny Lawler gave leadership and set the tone from an organizational standpoint and stood out both days.
During my years as a NFL front office executive I would remind both coaches and scouts during the three day Rookie mini-camp, these young players are receiving an introduction to the way we do business and their performance in the next 72 hours is only a snapshot in time. As I repeated multiple times It’s OK to have an opinion on players but don’t be an I.E. which is an instant evaluator, these young players have a ways to go.
While I studied and have had exposure to every player on the roster (NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, College games, tape, NFL combine etc.), I was excited to see them in a different setting and look forward to their growth in the coming months.
DT – Malik McDowell: As I said before the draft the comparison to Calais Campbell stops with the length and use of arms for me. McDowell while a few inches shorter he is more athletic to bend and step out of stands with burst and acceleration, Campbell is a power and build up player. Malik has low body fat percentage with a lean frame weighing 299 which he looks like 270, he could carry another 15 pounds easily if the staff feels he needs extra girth.
OT – Ethan Pocic: Extremely versatile player who aligned at RT and displayed very good athletic skill set, feet and ability to bend and strike with flat back out of stance. Good lateral movement, this player will be fun to watch. He has a ways to go and a lot to learn, but my gut feeling is Seattle has found their starting RT, future is very bright for this young player.
CB – Shaq Griffin: Talented young cornerback with size, speed and change of direction (COD) that jumped out at you during every rep. Griffin sticky in coverage covered a lot of ground quickly with good angles in backside pursuit. Will growth and adjustment come fast enough to start in the near future.
WR- Amara Daroh: Very good combination of size and speed. He has soft and sure hands to catch outside his frame but will body and trap balls with defender close. He has the skill set to develop into a talented player at this level while learning Seahawks route tree, creating separation and defeating bump/press technique with better UOH combat.
DT – Nazair Jones: Big man with lateral movement skills out of stance creates separation with good UOH. He was powerful in bag drill work. Could be a dominate force once pads are handed out.
DB – Delano Hill: Athletic size and speed safety with cover skills and ability to cover a lot of ground quickly. His leadership through communication came natural from the backend during the sessions I viewed. Time will tell but I feel he may be able to play both safety spots in the Seahawk defense.
DB- Tedric Thompson: Size and speed safety with range to help CB on edge, young player that improves depth. Ball skills are good only question I have is force vs. runner in space. Staying healthy is this talented DB challenge.
CB –Mike Tyson: Size with CB skills and mind set, lacks deep ball speed and range. Very good FBI, COD and burst to close on ball and receiver, is quicker than fast. If he fails on edge move him inside his tackling skills on film are that of a safety.
OT – Justin Senior: Big man with very good length and small ankles which translates to good athletic ability. Has lean looking frame, I struggled to believe his weight listed at 331 on the roster, he looks 300-305. Nice feet and worked to soak up Coach Cables tutelage quickly.
RB –Chris Carson: Very good size, speed and burst with gear change, with feet to skip and skate and string together multiple cuts on a single run. I’m excited to see more in the way of receiving and third down blocking ability.
WR – David Moore: I had zero tape on this player and no preconceived notion of his ability going into this weekend. He was the biggest surprise after walking out of the VMAC Saturday afternoon. A former RB with a very good combination of size, speed, COD with soft hands and large catch radius. Will need route refinement and must contribute on special teams as a returner. Generally a Division II prospect doesn’t open my eyes and leave me wanting more, this kid did that. Great job to John and scouting staff on this draft pick!
One liner on other players that jumped out during Rookie mini-camp, not in any order:
WR – Darreus Rogers: Lacks speed despite soft hands and ability to create separation
QB – Skyler Howard: Excellent production his senior season warrants continued evaluation
QB – Michael Birdsong: Excellent combination size, arm strength and accuracy in short sample size
WR – Kenny Lawler: Weight gain is obvious and smooth athletic movement has not changed
WR – Speedy Noil: First name fits his movement skills, speed in routes, soft and sure hands along with acrobatic catches
DB – Marquan Ellison: Flashed very good football instincts (FBI) with good pre-snap reads to stay in position
TE – Tyrone Swoopes: Very good combination of size, speed and soft hands
LB – Nick Usher: Good awareness in tight and open space was on display, needs quicker shock and shed
LB – Claude George: Good size and movement skills with consistent aggression level, focused!
OG – Jordan Roos: Good athletic movement, feet and UOH to position and remain frontal
OC/OG – Will Pericak: Was competitive while having edge on younger players because of knowledge
DT – Jeremy Liggins: Very good size and length, good UOH and hard to move inside player with lateral movement
LB – Otha Peters: Good athlete, slow eyes to sift thru traffic but once he located ball carrier took good angles
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