Tip of the cap to Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog on pointing out an interesting article from Tallahassee.com on Seahawks' reserve/futures player Caz Piurowski. As Mac reports, the Seahawks signed Piurowski to a three-year contract after the season but have asked him to switch from his college position, tight end, to tackle.
First, a little background information: Piurowski played college ball at Florida State where he made a name for himself as a big blocking tight end at 6'7, 285 lbs. Going into his senior year he was getting a lot of interest from NFL teams and then-FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fischer "believed he would be a first-day NFL draft pick." In the fifth game of the season though, he tore ligaments in his knee that forced him to miss the rest of the year, forgo his senior season, and complicated things for him in the draft. He ended up going undrafted due to his injury and despite signing initially with Tampa Bay, getting cut, then working out with several teams like Miami, New York (Giants) and New England, he failed to catch on anywhere immediately.
Piurowski rehabbed all of last year and got a call from the Seahawks in Week 13 to try out at tight end. He pulled a hamstring during that workout and thus went unsigned. After the season ended, he got another call from the Seahawks and they asked him if he wanted to come to Seattle and play some tackle. Piurowski naturally accepted. Because the Seahawks are awesome.
When Caz was signed by the Seattle to play tackle instead of tight end, former Seahawk Logan Payne, who went to the same high-school as Piurowski (Land O'Lakes High), recommended Jodie Johnson, a trainer who founded Johnson Sports Fitness, down in Florida. He said:
"I've had a big improvement since I started working with him three months ago. I was 295 pounds when I started with him and I'm at 315 now and the majority of that is muscle. I still have a little bit further to go. I'm stronger than I've ever been and just as fast as I've ever been. ... Once I get the other five or 10 pounds I want, we're going to switch over my diet a little bit, start losing some fat and gain some more muscle to drop back down."
The timing of this article update is pretty funny considering we were just talking about Piurowski and his potential to take over the Khalif Barnes role of a 6th of 7th offensive linemen in Tom Cable's jumbo package sets (Part One, Part Two). Piurowski is a very good athlete, was known for his blocking in college as a tight end (he also played tackle early in his college career), and has the ability to run routes and catch passes as a tackle eligible. All in all, it makes him a very interesting prospect.
He's now long enough removed from his knee surgery to expect nearly full recovery of quickness and strength. Though he will be facing stiff competition from, as Mac notes, Tyler Polumbus, Will Robinson, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan, he does have the distinct advantage in speed and pass catching ability. If the Hawks, and Cable specifically, want to continue to develop these 6 and 7OL packages, Piurowski has a chance to find a roster spot. It's all speculation at the moment, but when we connect the dots this is where we end up.
It's a long shot of course - he may end up on the practice squad, but knowing how much Pete Carroll and John Schneider value athletic ability and hard work, I'd say Piurowski has a legitimate shot to compete his way onto the team. It will be fun to see in camp.