RENTON -- While it may not quite be the full NFL experience just yet, this weekend's rookie mini-camp is the first exposure to the professional ranks the newest crop of Seahawks rookies will experience.
Eleven draft picks, 12 undrafted free agent signings, one practice squad veteran and 44 tryout players made up the 68-man roster of players to take part in this weekend's mini-camp. Russell Wilson can't throw passes. Bobby Wagner can't roam sideline to sideline. Chris Carson can't run the football. This three-day mini-camp is exclusively for the types of players mentioned above and it amounts to the ultimate crash course of professional football.
"Just looking for everything. Just wide open to see what they show us, you know," head coach Pete Carroll said. "It’s just a constant gathering of information for all the guys. There’s just so many cool things to watch. I can’t even tell you. It’s just everything, you know. So I’m just taking a lot of information."
Wide receivers Gary Jennings Jr. and John Ursua both did not take part in Friday's practice due to hamstring injuries they bring with them to the team. Jennings is a few weeks away from getting onto the field while Ursua is close.
"I think he strained it a little bit in his pro workout," Carroll said of Jennings. "And Ursua has been working, but it just wasn’t measured balanced out in his hammies. We just want to make sure we don’t screw it up. So John’s dying to be out here, he thinks he can go. Gary — it’s going to take another couple of weeks."
Here are a few of the key notes from the first day of work:
D.K. Metcalf makes a positive first impression:
The most recognizable addition from the Seahawks' draft class showed off his impressive athleticism multiple times on Friday.
The second-round pick out of the University of Mississippi, Metcalf was projected to be a first-round pick before sliding to the 64th overall selection by Seattle. Metcalf is an athletic marvel and flashed some of his ability with a pair of catches in his first practice with the Seahawks. Metcalf managed to haul in a catch after slipping while trying to cut. He managed to contort himself off the ground to snatch the ball out of the air. Later, on a pass woefully overthrown along the sideline, Metcalf leaped impressively into the air to snag the ball.
"He’s big and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet, you know, and his catching range was exhibited today for a start. And you know, we’ve got to figure it out, figure out where it is, maybe even more unique than we thought coming in. So we just develop it as we go. But big and really fast and the catching range was really obvious today," Carroll said.
"He’s been coached up well, he had a tremendous off season working with Jerry Sullivan, one of the great receiver coaches in the history of the NFL. And I’m not taking anything away from where he was. I just know what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing the guy work really hard at it, getting down and getting in and out of his breaks and stuff. Yeah, he looks like he’s ready to compete."
New Seahawks defensive back Ugo Amadi played against Metcalf in high school and tried to recruit Metcalf to Mississippi when he was planning to commit to the school and raved about the player he was then and still is now.
“He’s a monster," Amadi said. "He’s a Calvin Johnson size. He’s definitely a threat to all defenses. He knows how to attack the ball, he’s very physical. I used to go up against him in high school, we used to go to camps together, he was that big in high school and I was still my size. He’s going to be definitely a threat when the season comes as well… the guy is a freak.”
L.J. Collier draws comparisons to Michael Bennett:
Coller was the top selection of Seattle's 11-man draft class last Thursday. While evaluating line of scrimmage play in non-padded practices against fringe NFL competition can be a difficult task, Carroll was already pleased with what he'd seen from Collier.
"He plays with really good leverage and really long arms and he uses his hands really well," Carroll said. "And you could see it in the walk through even, just in his position and he has a sense for that. That’s a special characteristic that he already has. So technique-wise, he’s been coached very well also and there’s stuff that we can do with him. I think it’s going to be a really exciting guy for us to fit into the scheme."
Carroll then compared Collier to former Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett, as he did following Collier's selection last week. Collier is set to play both the five-technique and three-technique spots on the line as Bennett did during his tenure in Seattle.
"I think that’s a great comparison because he can play outside and he can play in," Collier said. "He’s a tough hard-nosed guy. He loves to hit people. I like his style of play and his flexibility of going in and out. Obviously I can do that, too. That’s where I see the comparison."
Seahawks decline fifth-year option on tackle Germain Ifedi:
The Seahawks decided against picking up the fifth-year option on tackle Germain Ifedi's rookie contract. All first-round draft picks sign four-year contract with a fifth-year option. The deadline for picking up that option was on Friday and the Seahawks decided not to exercise the option which would have been worth approximately $10 million in salary for 2020 that would be guaranteed for injury only.
"Well there's a lot of factors," Carroll said. "We're in the midst of trying to continue to fit the roster together and all that and the big demands, sometimes we can jump on it, sometimes we can't. We love Germain. He's grown with us. He's become a solid football player and done a great job, started a ton of games for us and hanging in there and being tough about it. We'd love to have him. This is not an indication of anything. We like the guy and hope he'll be with us for a long time."
The Seahawks have yet to exercise a fifth-year option on any of their former first-round picks.