The Seahawks started day one of a three-day rookie minicamp on Friday, giving their draft picks, undrafted free agents, and a few rookie tryout players a chance to show their skills. Additionally, players without an accrued season in the NFL -- like Eric Pinkins, for instance -- got a chance to get onto the practice field as well.
Most of the tryout players won't get a call back after this weekend wraps up, but at least one has been picked up by the team each year over the past few seasons. With that in mind, I wanted to focus on a few of the unknowns that are at VMAC trying to make the roster. First up, the offense.
|6||R.J. Archer||QB||6'2||220||8/5/1987||27||1||William & Mary|
|13||Tyler Sykora||QB||6'6||224||4/18/1991||24||1||Southern Arkansas|
|15||Casey Pachall||QB||6'3||222||11/14/1990||24||1||Texas Christian|
Well, this is a mötley crüe of passers for the Seahawks' rookie camp.
Archer was most recently with the Jacksonville... ...Sharks, of the Arena League. In 2014, he finished third in the AFL with 4,661 yards on 367 of 634 (57%) passing, with 92 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He was, prior to that, a UDFA out of William and Mary in 2010, spent time with the Vikings (under Darrell Bevell), then did a training camp with the Lions in 2012 before ending up in the Arena League. I'm guessing his stint with Bevell is the key here.
Sykora is a nice-sized southpaw out of D-II Southern Arkansas that put up gaudy numbers in his three-year career there (check out this Hudl video of his 2013 campaign). He was draft eligible in 2014 but I haven't been able to find any indication he landed with a team. Per Rob Rang, "At roughly 6-5, 230 pounds, Sykora looks the part and packs a lot of heat in his left arm. He has a slow wind-up and heavy feet, however, which is why Sykora was not drafted a year ago after a record-setting career at Southern Arkansas."
Pachall replaced Andy Dalton in Fort Worth in 2011, setting TCU single-season records with 2,921 yards passing and 228 completions, but then missed most of 2012 due to off-field drug addiction issues. He then returned strong in 2013 and finished his career there the all-time leader in completion percentage (62.9%) and third in passing yards (5,415), completions (431) and touchdown passes (42) in only 24 games. He went undrafted last year, mostly due to his off-field red flags, but as evidenced by his college numbers, can sling the football. He ended up in the CFL but couldn't crack starting lineups up there. He recently caught scouts' eyes at the TCU pro day, "based on his good velocity and accuracy." He tried out for the Jets in late April, and now gets a shot to impress in Seattle.
|44||Mike Zimmer||FB||6'1||237||9/23/1990||24||1||Illinois State|
|30||Demitrius Bronson||RB||5'9||211||3/6/1990||25||2||Eastern Washington|
|34||Thomas Rawls||RB||5'9||215||8/8/1993||21||R||Central Michigan|
|45||Rod Smith||RB||6'3||226||1/10/1992||23||R||Ohio State|
Mike Zimmer has been with the Seahawks this whole offseason after being signed to their practice squad just prior to the Super Bowl. He's a two-way player and has been listed at linebacker (his college position) as well. He was recently one of five players the team released, so he'll get a chance to prove to coaches that that decision was a mistake.
Brandon Cottom only got eight touches in 2015 for Purdue (1 carry, 2 receptions, 1 two-point run, 4 kickoff returns), but possesses the athletic traits at the position that the Seahawks love. At 6'2 and 262 pounds, he's closer to that Will Tukuafu prototype of big fullback (perhaps the team likes this style?) and was the third-ranked SPARQ athlete per Zach Whitman's tracking, with a 4.62 40, a 4.33 short shuttle, 7.06 3-cone, and 33.5" vert. He's a decent runner -- In his career he had 77 carries for 436 yards (5.66 YPC) and three scores, but adds some value as a receiver with 16 career receptions for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He has 33" arms and 10.75" hands - both on the upper spectrum for fullbacks.
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Demitrius Bronson begins his second season with the team after catching on last year as a minicamp standout. He's a former Washington Husky that transferred to Easter Washington and he's a powerful runner with some shiftiness to him. There's a reason he was with the team on-and-off all of 2014, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him this year. He'll face some competition though, from Rawls and Smith in particular.
I said this earlier, but I really liked Thomas Rawls in the pre-draft run-up so that's a very interesting guy to watch. He's got that "bring it to the defense" mentality that the Seahawks like, and he's very north-south as a runner with decisive, powerful cuts. He started at Michigan but transferred to Central Michigan after being arrested at a casino for three felonies, charges that were reduced to larceny. After watching his tape last month and really liking it, I searched for a scouting report on him and Lance Zierlein's is the first I found. My interest piqued even more.
Jesse Callier was one of the gems in Steve Sarkisian's highly touted in first class at UW, but a string of injuries derailed what looked to be a promising career. After ACL and Achilles injuries at Washington, though, his explosiveness is a big question, and his pro day numbers didn't help allay those concerns.
Rod Smith is a big back at 6'3, 226, and was a five-star blue-chip recruit to Ohio State out of high school. He served as Urban Meyer's goal-line back, but never really caught on as a featured player there before he was kicked off the team with a failed drug test. In his career he ran for 650 yards on 107 carries (6.07 YPC), and his best season was 2012, where he rushed 32 times for 215 yards (6.7 YPC). Smith doesn't stand out in any particular category on the surface, but his powerful style of running has me intrigued. Here's one highlight of him running and one of him catching a touchdown out of the backfield.
|5||Deonte Welch||WR||5'11||215||8/13/1991||23||R||South Florida|
|14||Anthony Johnson||WR||6'2||199||7/2/1991||23||R||West Texas A&M|
|16||Tyler Lockett||WR||5'10||182||9/28/1992||22||R||Kansas State|
|19||Douglas McNeilIII||WR||6'3||200||7/22/1988||26||2||Bowie State|
Foxx, 5'10, 177 finished 2014 with 716 all-purpose yards for UConn, on 23 carries and 30 receptions. He ran a 4.46 40 with a 1.56 ten-yard split at his pro day, adding a 32.5" vert, a 10'3" broad, a 4.28 short shuttle and a 7.21 3-cone. He's a returner and slot receiver type for this minicamp.
Welch has interesting size at 5'11, 215 pounds (running back body), and ran his 40 in 4.65 with a 1.58 ten-yard split. He had a 35" vert and a 10' broad jump, a 4.46 short shuttle and a 7.24 3-cone. He's a beast after the catch and kind of runs like you'd expect based on his body-type. He's not shifty but he's powerful and physical. He caught 23 passes for 269 yards in 2014.
Smith finished as McMurray's all-time leader in receiving yardage (2,729), and ranked second in total receptions (181) at 15.1 yards per reception. At 5'10, 212 pounds he's another interesting-sized receiver with more of a running back's body. Obviously highly productive at small-school McMurray, it'll be interesting to see how he does at this level.
Johnson: 6'2, 215 pounds; started 7 games in 2014, catching 45 passes for 673 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ran a 4.64 forty with a 1.60 ten-yard split, jumping 35" in the vert and 10'6" in the broad. His agility drills were solid -- 4.19 short shuttle and 7.09 3-cone.
Obviously, Tyler Lockett has been broken down in detail here already, and Kevin Smith is a former husky that's been with the Seahawks off and on since landing with them last season.
Ross Apo is probably the most interesting of the mini-camp tryout receivers, standing 6'3, 212 pounds. He's got a great athletic profile for that size -- a 4.56 forty with a 1.56 ten-yard split, 36.5" vert, 11'2" broad jump, a 4.27 short shuttle, and a 6.99 3-cone. He finished his career at BYU with 80 catches for 981 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Douglas McNeill has been with the team since last year and has great size and speed. His highlight reel from his time in the Arena League is interesting because many of his catches are contested and you see him going up and grabbing jump balls.
Finally, Kasen Williams is a guy that a lot of people know about around here. He started out at UW as a highly sought-after five-star blue-chip recruit and one of the top receivers in the nation, and finished his career third all-time in catches in Washington history (162). However, a major leg/foot injury in 2013 meant that he never really regained his form in 2014, and there are medical issues involved with his development in the pros. He originally signed in Cincy after the draft but he failed his physical there. It seems unlikely he'll catch on, but he's a very physical receiver with great size, so if Seattle sees him as a red-zone threat type of player, that's his shot at the practice squad.
|86||Ben Compton||TE||6'2||274||11/20/1992||22||R||Texas A&M|
Stokes -- 6'3, 252 pounds... best known for pantsing an Alabama player during a game. Otherwise, he's known to be a strong run blocker and may fit that H-back style of fullback/tight end hybrid. He's decently athletic -- ran a 4.72 forty with a 32.5" vert, but again, will make his mark in the blocking game.
Hartvigson is a former Husky that many people around here are familiar with. He's big bodied throwback tight end that's better as a blocker than as a receiver. Per PFF's college football tracking, he had a perfect Pass Blocking Efficiency rating in 2014 — and gave up no sacks/hits/hurries in 37 pass blocking snaps. That's a smallish sample size but might tell you why the Seahawks like him.
Najvar is a very nice sized player at 6'6, 262 pounds and has some athleticism with a pre-draft 4.88 forty and 7.14 3-cone drill. He started out at Stanford but got stuck behind a bunch of really good players before transferring to Baylor. He served as a blocking tight end in their spread offense. Caught on with the Cowboys but tore his achilles tendon and was given an injury settlement.
Compton was listed as a center at Texas A&M but was used as a tackle eligible there on the outside. It's interesting that the Seahawks list him as a tight end and I'm guessing they see him as a purely blocking type of guy for jumbo packages.
Shields is another decently athletic guy at 6'5, 237 pounds. There's not much on him out there.
|63||Mark Glowinski||G||6'4||310||5/3/1992||23||R||West Virginia|
|66||Kona Schwenke||G||6'4||285||5/11/1992||22||1||Notre Dame|
|75||Nate Isles||G||6'5||348||1/4/1992||23||2||North Carolina A&T|
|64||Kamalie Matthews||G/T||6'2||310||3/5/1992||23||R||Murray State|
|69||Terry Poole||T||6'5||323||2/27/1992||23||R||San Diego State|
There's not a ton to add with respect to Wheeler, Isles, and Renfrow, who have been with the team over the past few months. Wheeler and Renfrow were two of the players that were released earlier this week so again, it's their chance to make a good impression on the coaching staff. Glowinski, Sokoli, Poole, and Davis are draft picks and/or UDFAs that we've talked about previously.
Mike Criste is a former Washington Husky with very good size for the interior line. Kona Schwenke played defensive line for Notre Dame but has great size and athleticism (4.94 forty) so the Seahawks are taking a look at him at guard. Kamalie Matthews is another athletic lineman with good measurables. The broad jumps for these three guys were all near 9' or more. It would seem that's a pretty key test, as Zach Whitman has mentioned.