The Seahawks announced the signing of WR Perez Ashford, a rookie UDFA out of Northern Illinois that had spent time with Cleveland and New England post-Draft, and TE Andrei Lintz, a TE out of WSU. They released Greg Herd and recently signed RB Ray Holley.
Ashford was a VMAC visitor prior to the Draft so the Seahawks have evidently had their eye on him for some time. Ashford gained 1,685 all-purpose yards in his career at NIU - 110 career receptions for 1,192 yards, 83 yards rushing and 410 return yards - with four receiving touchdowns and one punt return score. Ashford is likely a return-specialist candidate for the Hawks, as this news corresponds with the recent news that Percy Harvin will miss a big chunk of the season after having hip surgery.
Ashford, 5'10, 188, is a player that Rookie Scouting Portfolio and Football Outsiders' Matt Waldman singled out pre-Draft as a sleeper among the UDFA ranks. Waldman points to one catch in particular as an example of why he likes Ashford so much:
I continued to see plays that topped this one. Field-stretching back-shoulder fades. Circus acts of sideline contortion between multiple opponents. Receptions and yards after good hits. Flying acts of aggression across the faces of defenders 40 yards downfield.
When the pass is thrown, Ashford adjusts to the ball and makes nice plays over his shoulder. He'll attack the ball over the top or ahead of a defender on intermediate and deep routes with an aggressiveness seen from top-tier NFL talents.
What he does as well as any receiver in this draft is make acrobatic plays in challenging situations. He's fearless with the ball in the air and will make difficult catches against contact where he has to win the ball. His hand strength is excellent.
This sounds a lot like Golden Tate and is undoubtedly the reason the Seahawks liked Ashford. Hand strength. Body control. Fearlessness. Attacks the ball. These are some of the attributes that first come to mind when you hear John Schneider talk about Tate, Doug Baldwin, and even Sidney Rice.
Waldman adds bullet points to his analysis:
-Good footwork off the line.
-Fast breaks on his routes.
-Works back to the ball while maintaining route depth.
-Ability to give that little extra to say inside the boundary and gain extra yards
It should be interesting to see how he does in camp. Likely he's just a camp body - Greg Herd, who was released to clear a spot for Ashford, was another developmental type so the Hawks may just be compiling a list of guys they like for down the road.
I haven't seen official word yet from the Seahawks, but it's also being reported that the Hawks signed a rookie free agent out of WSU, TE Andrei Lintz. Lintz, 6'4, 242 pounds, projects as a move tight end type and is another likely camp body - fill in for injured guys and let the Seahawks get a look. As there has been no word from the team on this signing, there has also been no word on who will be cut to clear a roster spot.