The Seahawks, as you probably already know, are hosting their annual Rookie Mini-Camp this weekend, which gives them a chance to take a look at their drafted players, their undrafted rookie free agent signees, a few of their practice squad guys that haven't accrued a year of time in the NFL, and try out about 30 street free agents and free agent 'vets'.
As Davis Hsu so perceptively pointed out, the Mini-Camp is set up like a faux 53-man roster (54 total, actually). The invitees include 27 offensive players: three quarterbacks, four running back/fullbacks, three tight ends, 11 offensive linemen, and six wide receivers. There are 25 players on defense: eight defensive linemen, eight linebackers, four safeties, five cornerbacks, and finally, two specialists. Theoretically, the camp can function like this is the Seahawks' actual team and actual practices.
Here's a quick look at the players taking part. Head over to Coffee and Cigarettes to get all the reactions and notes on these drafted guys from the beat reporters that were there yesterday. I'm mostly going to focus on the unknown invitees.
Seahawks Rookie Class:
1- Jeremy Lane - CB (Northwestern State)
3- Russell Wilson - QB (Wisconsin
22 - Robert Turbin - RB (Utah State)
27 - Winston Guy - SS (Kentucky)
47 - Korey Toomer -LB (Idaho)
51- Bruce Irvin - DE (West Virginia)
54 - Bobby Wagner -LB (Utah State)
64- J.R. Sweezy - OG (North Carolina State)
98 - Greg Scruggs -DE (Louisville)
94 - Jaye Howard - DT (Florida)
40 - Vai Taua - RB - (Nevada)
62 - Brent Osborne C/G (Harvard)
95 - Pierre Allen - DE (Nebraska)
5 - DeShawn Shead-DB (Portland State)
6 - Carson Wiggs - K (Purdue)
8 - Jermaine Kearse - WR (Washington)
10 - London Durham - CB (McNeese State)
13 - Phil Bates - WR (Ohio University) - per Mike Sando, "Bates was the undrafted receiver I noticed the most during this practice. He made a leaping grab on a deep ball. He also made a one-handed grab in traffic. He also dropped a pass later in practice. Overall, though, he looked good."
45 - Sean McGrath - TE (Henderson St. - Arkansas)
63 - Rishaw Johnson OG (California (Pa.))
70 - Cordarro Law -DE (Southern Mississippi)
77 - Jon Opperud - OT (Montana)
84 - Lavasier Tuinei - WR (Oregon) - per Danny O'Neil, "looks very strong going up to get the ball." Per Doug Farrar - "One name to watch this weekend -- Oregon WR Lavasier Tuinei. Lot of buzz with him among the draftniks I talk to."
97 - Monte Taylor - DE (Cincinnati)
'Veteran' free agents:
2 - Pat Carter - WR (Lousiville) - 6'3, 215. Originally undrafted out of Louisville in 2008, was with the Seahawks for a bit in 2010. Speedy guy, runs the 40 in the 4.3, 4.4 range (or did, anyway). Has bounced around a bit with the Seahawks and Dolphins, but looking to land in Seattle again.
20 - Dionte Dinkins - CB (Fort Valley State): Undrafted out of Fort Valley State in 2011, landed with the Rams, where he was quickly one of their one million cornerbacks to get injured early in the year. He's 6'1, 195, ran a 4.57 40 with a 33" vert. He projects as a typical Seahawks cornerback - big, physical, maybe a little bit on the slow side for a corner, but makes up for it with physicality and swagger and doesn't back down to receivers, from the scouting reports I read.
28 - Josh Gatlin - CB (North Dakota State) - 6'1 196 pounds. Ran 4.39 and 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at his 2011 pro day, had a 35.6-inch vertical jump, a 9.10-inch broad jump, 4.29 short shuttle, 7.03 3-cone drill and did eight reps on the bench press. Went undrafted but signed in New Orleans. He hurt his knee and finger in the first day or practice and was waived on an injury settlement. Is related to Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin, and is a physical, press style corner. Sounds about right.
44 -Shawn Nelson - TE (Southern Mississippi) - Nelson is 6'5, 273 pounds, 26 years old. He's been with the Bills and Jets since getting drafted in 2009 in the fourth round. He has 20 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in his NFL career. He was fairly highly rated coming out of Southern Miss, then only about 245 pounds, but has put on some decent weight since then. He's an athletic, pass-catching type of receiver, best known for running good routes and not so much for blocking. He'll be an interesting player to watch.
72- Alex Barron - OT (Florida State) - former first-round pick in 2005. Famous for penalties.
68 - Andrew Mitchell -OT (Oklahoma State) - went undrafted in 2010, signed with the Bengals at that time. Now looking to catch on here.
4 - Chris Hart - QB (Webber International - Florida) HIGHLIGHTS HERE. 6'2, 222 pound QB (athlete). 4.7 40, most likely just a camp arm but they might try him at receiver. Has a big arm, from what I read, and impressed at the Battle of Florida (All-Star game for small schoolers). Per Matthew Elder's account of that, "The star of the show this week has been Chris Hart. The unknown QB out of the NAIA level has showed off an incredible arm to go along with his great size (6'3", 224 lbs.) and some impressive athleticism. Hart came into this game with absolutely nobody knowing his name. Heck, I'd barely seen him and I specialize in watching small school football. He has wowed time and time again this week, though, and was especially impressive when he threw an 80-yard bomb to Deonte Thompson all in the air.'
14 - Josh McGregor - QB (Jacksonville) - HIGHLIGHT 1 HERE, HIGHLIGHTS 2 HERE. 6'2, 220. Insane numbers at Jacksonville, passing for 11,230 yards and 116 touchdowns in three seasons there. He shined in the Battle of Florida as well, completing 11-of-12 passes
21 - Donny Lisowski - CB (Montana) - PRO DAY HERE; HIGHLIGHTS HERE. Speedy free safety/slot cornerback type at 5'10, 185. Ran a 4.45 40 at his pro day with a 35.5" vert. He's a local guy, hailing from Seattle, and caught the eye of both Curtis Crabtree and Eric Williams in Friday's practice, breaking up some passes and making an interception while playing on the outside.
32 - Bryson Kelly - FB (Central Washington): 6'1, 234. Runs the 40 in 4.73. Rushed for 246 yards in one game last year for Central. Lower level of competition, but an interesting player.
35 - James Stampley - FB - (LSU) - 5'9, 246 pound stump of a fullback known for his hard hitting lead blocking. I love this guy already, and one report I read said he has broken something like 30 facemasks in his time at LSU just blowing linebackers up. Not likely to make the team - but I still like him.
36 - Craig Ray - S (Indianapolis) - Went undrafted in 2011 - from what I can find he's an athletic and long free safety at 6'1, 215 or so.
37 - Austin Cassidy - SS (Nebraska) - a 6'1, 210 pound strong safety from Bo Pelini's Nebraska defense (there always seems to be a few Nebraska guys in Seahawks camp each year). Was honorable mention All-Big 10 in 2011 and is known for his strong tackling skills. He's not the fastest guy in a straight line - posting a 4.65 40 and he's not the most explosive guy, posting a 32" vert, but what he lacks in top-end speed and explosiveness he makes up for in his agility and change of direction athleticism. He registered a 6.63 3-cone drill at his pro day, which would have been good for T-1st among safeties at the combine, and a short shuttle of 4.18, which would have been top-10 in his position. He has longish arms and in my mind would project as an in-the-box type safety with some nice short area quickness and ability to make tackles.
39 - Shane Horton - LB (USC) - 6'1, 205 pound LB/S tweener that would likely be another 'big nickel' type for the Seahawks to take a look at. Surprisingly, the only USC guy invited to rookie camp. He's reasonably fast for his size - 4.5/4.6 or so in the 40, but there's not a ton on him out there.
41 - E.J. Savannah - LB - (Washington) - 6'1, 228. Battled injuries the last two seasons, which really hurt his stock. Another OLB/SS tweener type that probably will project as a weakside linebacker in camp (though, we'll see). Savannah was always a good player for the Huskies but his injury issues have made it tough to project if he'll get a shot in the Pros.
42 - Braedyn Eagle - LS (Portland State) - Awesomely named longsnapper.
43 - Mychal Sisson - LB (Colorado State) - Undersized, sub-par athleticism, but a do-it-all type of utility guy that would probably project as a special teamer.
46 - Cooper Helfet - TE (Duke) - 6'3, 240 pound TE/H-back type with some nice athleticism and pass catching ability. Already creating a little buzz among the beat writers - Aaron Levine mentioned on twitter today that he predicted Doug Baldwin would break into the final-53 last year and this year his pick is Helfet. I saw in a few spots that Helfet made some nice plays in camp on Friday, so he'll definitely be a guy to keep your eye on. The Seahawks have shown so much interest in the TE/H-back position that I would guess Helfet, above some other positional players, has a decent shot.
53 - Najel Byrd - LB (Arkansas State) - Byrd is 5'11, 225 pounds, an outside linebacker with decent athleticism (4.7 40 or so). There's not a lot out there on Byrd, other than he played both running back and linebacker in high school. He didn't see a ton of action at Arkansas State.
57 - Jayson Palmgren - C (Missouri) - 6'2, 298 pound center out of Missouri - decent strength and speed numbers. Was voted honorable mention All Big12 by the coaches, so that's a nice sign of respect, as you cannot vote for your own players.
58- Kyle Knox - LB (Fresno State) - HIGHLIGHTS HERE: 6'1, 235 pounds. 4.7 speed, good strength - 26 reps on bench, explosive with a 36" vert, nice agility numbers with a 4.44 short shuttle and a 6.95 3-cone. Per SI, Knox is "speedy linebacker who makes plays in every direction of the field. Displays good movement skills, a burst of speed and the ability to pursue the action from the back side. Makes plays sideline to sideline, forceful up the field on the blitz and displays skill in zone coverage. Relentlessly chases the action and works hard to get through blocks." He sounds like a WILL linebacker with some special teams potential.
61 - Renard Williams -DT (Eastern Washington) - Williams was at the VMAC when the Seahawks hosted local players prior to the Draft. He's 6'1, 300 pounds, and is known to be an explosive, penetrating style of 3-tech defensive lineman. He's a guy to keep your eye on in this camp as possible depth at the 3-tech. Again, per SI, Williams is an "explosive one gap tackle coming off a disappointing campaign. Fires off the snap with a terrific first step, plays with good pad level and gets leverage on opponents. Keeps his feet moving on contact, flashes strength in his lower body and knocks blockers off the ball. Fluid if asked to twist or stunt, quickly changes direction and shows the ability to pursue the action from all angles. Works hard until the whistle blows."
Per PFW, Williams is "built like a nose tackle with a three-technique's skill set, Williams is a short, athletic tackle who is light on his feet, moves well laterally and shows surprising range and closing speed. However, he has concerning underachiever/"big fish" traits, is not instinctive or technically proficient and disappears for stretches. Might struggle grasping complex concepts. Could be putty for a position coach, but needs an NFL strength and conditioning program, as well as more glass in his diet. Was hampered by an ankle sprain during a disappointing senior season."
It sounds like his senior season hurt his stock (he was thought to be a late rounder) and he ended up going undrafted.
65 - Julian Gray - OG (North Carolina Central) - 6'2, 280 pound guard from small school North Carolina Central. There's not a lot in the scouting department on this guy.
66- Joe Figueroa -OG (Miami) - AUDIO SCOUTING REPORT: this guy just reeks of a Tom Cable lineman, in my eyes. He's 6'5, 323 pounds, and has a ridiculously long wingspan of 84". The type of guy that can reach out and move you. I like that. He's known for pancaking defenders - and without seeing his on-field athleticism, he seems like an interesting player to watch.
74 - Chima Okoli - OT (Penn State) -6'4, 288 pounds. Honorable mention All Big 10, as voted on by the coaches.
78 - Mark Huyge -OT (Michigan) - 6'6, 312 pound OT/OG out of Michigan.
83 - Cam Kenney -WR (Oklahoma) - HIGHLIGHTS HERE. JUCO transfer to Oklahoma who went undrafted in 2011. 6'0, 195 pounds, 4.5 40, 35.5" vert, 4.09 short shuttle, and a nice 10'9" broadjump, showing some explosive athleticism. 33 catches for 522 yards and four touchdowns in 2010, including 7 for 154 yards and a TD in the Fiesta Bowl (Seahawks love the TD makers and gamers).
85 - Josh Smith - WR (UCLA) - 6'0, 185 pound receiver whose best aptitude is probably in returning kicks. He averaged 24 yards per kickoff on 89 returns, a pretty solid number.
93 - Zach Masch - DT (Hawaii) - a 6'2, 278 pound interior lineman with some nice quicks and explosiveness, though lacking in ideal size in the middle. He had a 1.68 10-yard split on his 40, a good time for a DT, and a 9'3" broad jump, another decent number for a dude his size. Played in the NFLPA All-Star game and had two sacks and was disruptive from the inside.