PALO ALTO CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Doug Baldwin #89 of the Stanford Cardinal gets past Kyle Monson #7 of the Sacramento State Hornets to score a towndown at Stanford Stadium on September 4 2010 in Palo Alto California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Like Jacson and Thomas indicated, talking too much about these UDFAs isn't necessarily advised, considering most of them are camp bodies and practice squad type players, but we do so because a few of them could surprise. Like I mentioned, John Schneider loves his undrafted rookies and loves building a young, explosive and talented core on the cheap so these guys probably have a better shot on the Seahawks versus other, more roster-set teams.
If you haven't seen my profile on DE Pierre Allen yet this afternoon, go do so now (or after your done reading this... just don't forget, ok?). He's one of the undrafted players I'm most excited about, and could have a fit on this team.
Without further ado, let's get to know our newest man-crushes.
WR Doug Baldwin Stanford
A top HS recruit coming out of Florida, Baldwin led the Cardinal in receptions last season, catching passes from future-Seahawk Andrew Luck. Cough.
Though Thomas mentioned earlier that Ricardo Lockette received a large portion of the Seahawks' allotment of $75,000 in signing bonus money, a story by PNJ.com indicates that Baldwin received a big chunk of it too. Regardless, the Seahawks apparent interest in the Stanford receiver cannot be understated. General Manager John Schneider sent Baldwin a hand-written note expressing his interest, and that gesture was apparently very meaningful. Baldwin said, "They were the best opportunity for me. I got a handwritten letter from (Schneider) that showed interest in me in a special way. Then Pete Carroll called me and we had a great conversation. They are excited to have me ... I couldn't be happier how this has all worked out."
Baldwin caught 58 passes for 857 yards and 9 TDs his senior year for Stanford. He's on the short/light side at 5'10, 190 lbs. He's quick though - he ran his 3-cone drill in 6.65, which would have been tied for 7th best at the NFL Combine among receivers. He ran the 40 in 4.47 and the short shuttle in 4.26 seconds.
I don't want to put too much emphasis on the numbers, but I think the Seahawks really do try and find those athletic diamonds in the rough (Jameson Konz, Ricardo Lockette, etc). His good 3-cone times indicate fast twitch quickness and an ability to separate from opponents. His likely spot would be in the slot, so route running will be important to watch in his development.
He also returned kicks for Stanford so this versatility could serve him well in his quest to make the team. My thinking is that he's got an outside shot, and at worst will be a practice squad type player. I have to think Schneider has Baldwin in mind for something, considering the lengths he went to sign him. It should be an interesting thing to watch.
Obligatory highlight video here.
CB/S Jesse Hoffman, Eastern Washington
Has good size and speed for the position. He is 6-1, 196 and ran the 40 in 4.43, according to NFLDraftscout.com. He also registered a 32.5" vertical jump, 9'05 broad jump, 4.31 short shuttle, and 6.66 3 cone drill at his pro day.
He's a local kid, hailing from Shoreline where he set oodles of records for Shorecrest High School. Per NFLgridirongab.com, "If you follow High School sports avidly, you should know Hoffman holds virtually every Washington state rushing record and finished with a combined 50 touchdowns on offense and 5 interceptions on defense during his senior season for Shorecrest."
Could be a guy they tryout at returning kicks in addition to playing the safety/corner tweener spot.
DB Rickey Thenarse (pronounced tuh-NARSE), Nebraska
Super hard-hitting DB from Watts, CA. You can check out his story here. Had a tough upbringing and made his way into Nebraska's starting lineup late in his career. From what I'm finding, (by talking to my Husker fanatic father and some of their fans on forums), he's a good kid, has no concern for his personal well-being in regards to tackling, and is a special teams ace. He's 6'1, 210 pounds, and runs in the 4.5s in the 40.
As one fan put it, Thenarse is a "terrific athlete in terms of speed/strength, but it never seemed to materialize on the field. He could make a great play one play, then blow a coverage the next. He never locked down a starting safety job at NU despite being a better athlete than the guys who beat him out. He wasn't a great coverage safety, and while you'd expect him to be good against the run because he hits like a freight train, I've read stuff saying that he took poor angles and wasn't even considered that strong of a run defender because of it. So that's the downside. The upside is, he's a special teams beast. I could envision a scenario where he becomes a team's designated special teams gunner. He can run, he's aggressive and he hits like a ton of bricks."
I'd think if Thenarse has a chance to make the roster it will be in this type of special teams specialist role, but we'll see.
DT Ladi Ajiboye, South Carolina
Ajiboye is an explosive yet undersized 3-tech defensive under tackle at 6'1, 297. He's got an explosive element to his game that I'm excited about, uses his hands well, and has good lateral agility to get around blocks to get to the quarterback, according to CBS. He works hard and is a high-motor guy. Most importantly to the Seahawks, he's a defensive lineman.
If Ajiboye can show the Seahawks coaching staff something during camp, he'll have a shot at the 53-man roster simply because of the tenuous depth along the defensive line. He doesn't project, at his current size, to be an every down type of guy, but as draft expert Shawn Zobel put it, Ajiboye is a "pass-rushing DT who won't be a run plugger, but projects as a three-technique in the 4-3, (that) comes on field on 3rd Downs."
In other words, he'll be a guy you can plug in on passing downs to get off the snap and into the backfield after the quarterback. Which, incidentally, is something the Seahawks desperately need.
I was high on DT Martin Parker pre- and post-draft as a UDFA but he wasn't signed by the Seahawks. Ajiboye is a good replacement in my mind and has a decent shot at making the roster based on the current depth charts there.
I'll finish up with a synopsis of FB Dorson Broyce and QB Zach Lee soon as well. Stay tuned.