RENTON -- The wide receiver position was the focal point of this weekend's three-day rookie mini-camp and the group was unquestionably headlined by second-round pick DK Metcalf.
The rookie out of the University of Mississippi clearly stood out over the three days of practices. From a pogo stick-like leaping catch and catch off his back during the first day on Friday to an effortless grab over the middle on Saturday, Metcalf's athletic gifts shined through. He managed to shine even despite a taped up left ankle.
"He had a great weekend. He really did," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He had the opportunity to catch balls of all different kinds all over the field. Down the field of course, he was really comfortable with all the long ball stuff. Everything we did with him, he was very comfortable with."
Metcalf showed a proficiency with his releases from the line of scrimmage, his ability to cover ground in the second phase of his routes and a smoothness in catching the ball as well.
"I know that everybody’s wondering about this route tree thing and all that now, and I don’t see that being a factor," Carroll said. "He looks like he’s very well versed, been coached. And I’ve said before, he had really good work that he did since the season was over with the guys that he worked with. Jerry Sullivan is an extraordinary coach and he came in here ready to go and in good shape and he ran fast and he looked good, hung through all of it. So it’s really an exciting first introduction."
Undrafted rookie Jazz Ferguson shares a similar frame to that of Metcalf's, but the difference in the movement skills of the two players was stark. Carroll noted twice over the weekend that Ferguson weighed in at over 240 pounds and would be much better served somewhere in the 220s, which he where he played in college at Northwestern State.
"I think he weighed in at 240 and that’s bigger than he needs to be," Carroll said. "So we’ll see when he’s more at his playing weight, which is probably in the twenties – 227, something like that. So we’ll see how he looks. I thought he looked a little bigger than he needs to for this time."
Undrafted free agent signing Terry Wright out of UTEP and tryout receiver Floyd Allen - a teammate of Metcalf's at Mississippi - also showed up repeatedly throughout the weekend.
"We liked this group and they make it difficult on us to figure out who to give the shot coming to camp. So they did very well by themselves and the tough decision is a good decision," Carroll said of the receiver group.
The receivers managed to make an impression despite some less-than-stellar quarterback play. A lot is thrown at quarterbacks in the rookie camp as they have to digest a playbook and run the whole camp in a short amount of time. Nevertheless, it took three days for the group to appear to settle in a bit.
Undrafted signee Taryn Christion and tryout players Troy Williams and Michael O'Connor were the three quarterbacks for the weekend.
"I thought it was hard on them," Carroll said. "Thought the quarterbacks had a hard time. I thought they struggled with the system and the play calling. A lot of guys calling plays for the first time, in the huddles for the first time, under center for the first time, so there were some brand new experiences and so they were competing on many levels just to get going. So we’ll take a look at the film now that we get out of camp, and see where it all fits."
The Seahawks need a third quarterback on the roster behind Russell Wilson and Paxton Lynch. Christion is currently that option but it is subject to change. Williams appeared to have that best weekend of the three.
Linebackers making an impact:
Another position Carroll raved about was linebacker and draft picks Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven.
"I’m really excited about those two guys," Carroll said.
Barton played the middle linebacker spot all weekend with Burr-Kirven getting the weak-side role.
"Well, it really stood out. It really jumped out," Carroll said of the pairing. "We’ve been in these situations many times and you could tell their expertise and their willingness to really study it up and communicate with the coaches really well. They transferred the stuff in the classroom to the field exceptionally. And it stood out above any group we’ve ever had in here, those were the two best guys we’ve ever brought in.
Barton and Burr-Kirven both played the middle linebacker spots in college, so Barton felt perfectly at home manning the middle this weekend.
"I like being off the ball and being able to diagnose from the middle of field, and also I like being that the Mike (middle linebacker) calls the plays and is the vocal point in the middle of field," Barton said Saturday. "So I like being the leader in the middle and just calling things out and talking about when I see, and with me and Ben out there, we’re just talking back and forth, seeing what we see. I just like being that centerpiece."
Meanwhile, Burr-Kirven had some adjustments to make in his new role.
"I was playing Mike at UW, I was playing the true middle spot," he said. "I’m playing the Will here, which is a little bit different. So I’m doing a little bit more stuff outside of the box, getting out on receivers, that kind of stuff. So there’s definitely difference. In terms of scheme, it’s not all that different, I’m just doing a different role in it."