SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 22: Jacob Hester #22 of the San Diego Chargers scores a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium on November 22 2010 in San Diego California. Chargers defeated the Broncos 35-14. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The Seahawks continue to work the second phase of free agency this week, hosting former Chargers fullback/running back Jacob Hester, former Saints and 49ers defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, and trying out former Patriots and Jets QB Kevin O'Connell.
You probably already saw the Franklin visit from yesterday, but to sum up, at 6'1, 317, the former 49ers Franchise player would theoretically add nice depth and a veteran presence to the Seahawks' defensive line. He'd be backing up, I assume, Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch in the middle, then possibly even work as a pinch-replacement for Red Bryant if he were faced with injuries. As a nose tackle in San Francisco's 3-4 defense, Aubrayo had a measure of success, but struggled a bit more in the Saints' blitzing, attacking 4-3. Former 49ers GM and now Seahawks personnel exec Scot McCloughan is likely a big part of the reason Franklin is/was in town.
If signed in Seattle, the move could make some sense, as the Seahawks run a 'wait-and-react' type of defense along the line, predicated on stopping the run and not so much at rushing the passer, especially from the interior and on the strong side end spot. Franklin's experience in both one-gapping and two-gapping defenses could come in handy, as he could be asked to play both in Seattle's hybrid front line. He's good at taking up space and taking on blocks to protect the linebackers, something the Seahawks value. Something to watch.
Jacob Hester, 27, is Matt Flynn's former teammate at Louisiana State and rushed for 86 yards and touchdown in LSU's National Championship game against Ohio State in 2008 (Flynn was the offensive MVP of that game). Hester has been with the Chargers since 2008, when he was taken in the third round, and as far as I can tell, has played adequately in his career after making the move from college tailback to NFL fullback. He's 5'11, 235, and is a strong special teamer and can play either running back or fullback, so versatility is his big draw.
I said earlier in the offseason that it didn't seem likely that the Seahawks would be interested in Hester considering they just re-signed a very similar player to him in Michael Robinson, but as we can see the Seahawks seem to have some interest. The Hawks value special teams play and Hester is very versatile, so someone to keep an eye on. According to this report Kevin Acee of the San Deigo Union-Tribune, Hester has an offer on the table from the Chargers but is weighing his option in Seattle. Apparently, Hester has until Monday to accept the Chargers offer before it's rescinded.
"I'm appreciative they gave me the extra time to go on a visit," Hester said. "I just wanted to go somewhere and see ... It will be a big decision. I'm glad I got a few days to decide." Hester said he has turned down invitations to visit multiple teams, but Seattle is the one place he really is interested in. "I might take another trip later in the week," he said. "But I don't know if I need to go anywhere else."
Kinda sounds like a guy that has an offer from the Seahawks? Might just be leverage? We'll see. If it happens, it would be an interesting move for Seattle, a team that just signed, as I said, Michael Robinson and then went out and grabbed free agent RB Kregg Lumpkin a short while later. Seattle may also possibly look to the draft for a future running back so I'm not sure the numbers really add up for another free agent FB/RB.
Finally, the Seahawks tried out former Patriots and Jets QB Kevin O'Connell on Wednesday. O'Connell has also spent some time with the Dolphins and Lions. He's a former 3rd rounder, and at 6'5, 225, was known pre-Draft as being a very mobile, athletic quarterback after leaving San Diego State as their career rushing leader as a QB and second in career rushing TDs at that position as well. Coming out he was heralded for being very accurate and strong armed, and able to throw under pressure. What happened in the last four years is a little more foggy, as he bounced around a bit and was unable to secure the backup job in any of the cities he ended up in, but the physical features the Seahawks like are there. Will be interesting to see if he gets an offer.