Seahawks News & Rumors: More on Seattle's Seven Futures Contract Recipients

The Seahawks signed seven players to futures contracts today - DE Pierre Allen, LB/RB Allen Bradford, CB Coye Francies, DE John Graves, DB Jesse Hoffman, TE John Nalbone and OG Brent Osborne. Several of these players were on the Seahawks' regular season practice squad as the year ended, but several were not. Here's a little info on them...

Pierre Allen is a defensive end who specializes in two-gapping and was with the team in training camp after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska. I wrote about that at the beginning of the season so if you want a refresher check out my piece here. He was with the team's PS periodically this year, including the final week, after getting an injury settlement after training camp. Because he's been signed to this futures contract, it likely they still have some interest in his abilities. To compare, I'd say Pierre Allen is a Jimmy Wilkerson, Anthony Hargrove, Pep Levingston style of player that the Seahawks would probably look to use on the end or in the inside, as a rotational defensive lineman with some versatility two gapping, rushing the passer, or dropping back into zone coverage. He's a long shot, but he's still here.

Allen Bradford was a sixth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was claimed off waivers by the Seahawks in mid-october. Bradford played running back for the Bucs before being waived, and is now officially listed as a RB/LB for the Seahawks. His conservative upside is as a situational depth linebacker and special teams contributor but ideally speaking if he'd be able to play some running back as well, he'd be valuable. He played RB for USC after going there as a highly-touted DB recruit, so he's got some versatility to him. If he could play as a rotational running back to spot for Lynch, a nickel or dime linebacker/safety hybrid, a special teams contributor, or all three, well, that's an exciting prospect. Looks like a project, but the Seahawks have held on to him thus far.

For what it's worth, there were quite a few scouts that were high on Bradford as a running back prior to the draft, and many of you will remember him from his days at USC where he ran ALL OVER the Huskies. He's one of these futures players that is pretty intriguing to me.

UPDATE: So, apparently, nevermind about all that running back business, as Bradford just tweeted: "I hung my RB cleats up and went to the dark side to pick go cop a pair of those LB cleats." So, yeah. Linebacker, I guess.

Coye Francies is a former sixth round pick by the Browns in 2009, and is a 6'0, 185 lb DB. There isn't a whole lot out there on Francies but my guess is that he's another guy the Seahawks could see as depth at cornerback and possibly a special teams contributor. I never underestimate their search for special teams specific guys (see: Kennard Cox) so Francies may be one of these players.

Per NFLDraftScout.com, his positives coming out of school were:

Good frame to add additional mass. ... Good straight-line speed. ... Loose hips to turn and run with receivers. ... Good agility. ... Can plant and drive out of his cuts. ... Good awareness in coverage. ... Rarely out of position. ... Has a closing burst to the ball. ... Long arms and active hands to slap away the pass. ... At least adequate hands for the interception. ... Good vertical jump and times his leaps well. ... Can high-point the ball and catch passes outside of his frame. ... Can track the ball over his shoulder. ... Active in run support. ... Fights around and through blocks and willing to stick his head into the pile. ... Willing to lower his shoulder into the ballcarrier. ... Can break down in space and make the open-field tackle. ... Generally reliable wrap-up technique. ... Good speed and vision as a kick returner. ... Averaged 22.4 yards per return at Oregon State. ... Strong weeks of practice at East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. ... Voted a team co-captain and considered a good locker room presence, despite gun charge that led to suspension from Oregon State.

Negatives: Lighter than scouts would like, especially considering his height. .. Especially thin in the hips and lower legs. ... Very physical in coverage, which could lead to penalties at the next level. ... Only 15 starts at the D-I level over his career.

Intriguing, so we'll see if he can catch on next season.

Another DB that was signed to a futures contract was Jesse Hoffman, another guy that was with the team in training camp after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington. The Shorecrest High School native was released after camp and that was the last I'd heard of him, but apparently the Hawks want a second look. I wrote during camp that Hoffman '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.

DE John Graves was recently signed to the practice squad, and will now be pushed into the offseason workouts with this futures contract. Per NFLDraftScout.com,

Positives: Three-year starter is an agile one-gap DT prospect with potential at defensive end. Quick off the snap, staying low, and can penetrate gaps. Good athlete who can run and change direction easily. Can chase wide runs from behind. Production was somewhat limited by frequent double-teams. Blocked three kicks as a sophomore and a PAT vs. Stanford in the Orange Bowl. Hard worker and team leader.

Negatives: Is undersized to be an every-down defensive tackle and might not have much room to grow. Is not stout against the run as an interior defensive lineman. If initial penetration attempt failed, rarely did much during the play. Disappeared in some big games, especially against Boise State in 2010. While quick, agile and athletic, he's not truly elite in any category -- upside is limited. Had injury issues in 2009.

NFLDraftScout's description of him, though they mention several other teams, pretty much screams the Seahawks:

Graves could fit as a rotational defensive tackle in a one-gap scheme such as the Colts or Bears, but also could have a future as a defensive end, especially as a strong-side defensive end.

A team like the Ravens, where his relative power, quickness and agility could be best utilized when the team uses a four-man front, makes sense. Fitting Graves in the right scheme and position will be important, but there is no denying his athletic talent and top intangibles will get him drafted.

The odds that Graves will stick around seems low, but he'd be another guy I'd put in the category listed above in reference to Pierre Allen.

OG Brent Osbourne retained his position on the squad. He hasn't been on the PS all season, but he's been off and on for most of it. He's a versatile offensive lineman out of Harvard, and well, here's what Jacson wrote about him when he was signed as a UDFA:

"Brent Osborne (G/C, Harvard) -- I won't lie to you -- actually, occasionally I will lie to you, but this is not one of those times. Trust me... -- I didn't know a thing about Brent Osborne when Seattle signed him and after some brief research, I still don't. He's a smaller offensive lineman (288 lbs) with an apparent mean streak. Other than that, he doesn't seem likely to stick, although OL depth is always appreciated if he can.

Here are some highlights, in which the quality-gap between Pac-10 and Ivy League filming becomes humorously clear."

Finishing off the list is TE John Nalbone, whom Pete Carroll singled out in an interview with Brock and Salk this morning as having a lot of potential and for impressing in practice. He's a 6'4, 255 tight end out of small school Monmouth that has been with an amazing seven teams since being drafted in 2009 in the fifth round by the Dolphins. Here's what the trusty NFLDraftScout had to say about him when he was coming out:

Positives: Good size, strength and effort as a blocker. Highly competitive. Surprising athleticism shown in workouts. Catches the ball cleanly and looks to turn it upfield. Can track the ball over his shoulder. Adequate agility to avoid tacklers in the open field, but good strength to run through them.

Negatives: Obvious concerns over his level of competition. Needs to improve his strength to hold up as an inline blocker at the NFL level. Marginal burst out of his breaks to gain separation. Lacks experience in a sophisticated passing offense and will need time to acclimate to a typical route-tree.

As I said above, this list of futures contracts wasn't a perfect match from the end-of-season Practice Squad. Missing were RB Jay Finley and WR Isaiah Williams, though I wouldn't be surprised to see their names again soon.

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