The Seahawks signed free agent WR Tyrone Walker to their Practice Squad on Wednesday, and released DE Ty Powell, one of their 7th round draft picks from this April. Walker had made some waves in Green Bay as a UDFA out of Illinois State.
Walker is 5'10, 198 pounds, and ran the 40 in 4.59 seconds at his March Pro Day. He registered a 6.99 3-cone, a 4.41 short shuttle, and a 39" vertical to go with 11 reps on bench and a 10'09" broad jump. He made some waves in Packers camp and from what I've been able to find, even threatened for the final roster after putting together a strong preseason. Several writers I've seen on twitter covering the team were surprised he was released and even more surprised when he wasn't added to the Packers' practice squad.
Apart from the fact he apparently has caught everything thrown his way in camp and during the preaseson, he has a somewhat familiar background that I believe makes him especially attractive to Seattle. As Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes:
When he was coming out of high school, where his Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter team won the state Division 1A title his senior year, nobody paid attention. He remembers talking to a recruiter from Purdue and being told that size matters. The only two offers he got were from Illinois State and Indiana State.
"My grades were fine," Walker said. "I was just undersized. A guy from Purdue came in and said, 'We like you, but you're not just Big Ten size.' That's one of my biggest pieces of motivation. They question my size, like it has an effect on my play, but it doesn't because I play big." That's what he did at Illinois State, where he caught 250 passes for 3,565 yards and 32 touchdowns in four seasons.
Hmmmm. So, his height doesn't define his skillset, you might say?
Aaron Rodgers, for one, had been impressed with Walker when injuries forced the UDFA WR into action. Rodgers told ESPNMilwaukee:
I think two guys who have benefitted maybe the most from this spring are (undrafted rookie wide receivers) Myles White and Tyrone Walker. I think both those guys have made a lot of plays for us. And with our two seventh-round picks at wide receiver (Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson) missing most of the OTAs, those guys have stepped up and done some great things. Tyrone reminds me of Antonio Chatman, who not many people know I actually played with. But Deuce had very similar size and agility but he was a good route runner, very good in and out of his breaks. And I see that with Walker. I think he has very good hands, he's a good route runner and I think he has a chance to be a good player in this league.
Myles is very shifty, he has very good releases, and mentally, he's getting closer. He has a strong hunger to be good in this league and he's very self-motivated, and that's very important. Those guys benefit from an incredible position coach in Edgar Bennett, who harps on them about fundamentals and details and he's got three of the best examples of what it looks like every day in that room in Cobby, Jones and Nelson. I tell those young guys all the time, "Watch the older guy in your group and see how he does things. That's what I did when I was a young player. Watch the older guy in your group, and pick out the things that he does well that you don't do yet and try to incorporate those in your game. And look at the things that maybe you don't like or you don't understand and question those and figure out why they're doing them. And then either incorporate that in your game or do it a little differently." But when you've got really good examples like Myles and Tyrone do in their room, there's no reason they shouldn't make big leaps this fall and have a chance to make the team.
Regardless, an interesting pickup for the Hawks, who continue to trawl the waiver wires to potentially add talent to the back-end of their roster. With Arceto Clark and Perez Ashford gone, and ostensibly on the so-called 'ghost-roster', Walker joins Bryan Walters and Cooper Helfet as pass catchers on the Seahawks' practice squad.
Seattle also held tryouts for DT Kyle Love and WRs Martel Moore, Sammie Stroughter and Lamaar Thomas before signing Walker. Moore and Thomas are two UDFA receivers that made some waves in camp and preseason, and Stroughter is a veteran receiver formerly of the Bucs.