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Seahawks sign 16 to futures contracts: Scouting the prospects

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks have now signed an allotment of 16 players to futures contracts -- which essentially means that these 16 players below will become part of Seattle's 90-man offseason roster once the new NFL league year begins on March 9th. Most of them are familiar names, having been on the Seahawks' practice squad at one point or another.

UPDATE: The Seahawks also signed a 17th player to a futures contract, former Husky linebacker Josh Shirley.

Let's take a quick run through.


QB Phillip Sims 6'1, 210

Sims played well for the Cardinals in the preseason this year and was one of the final cuts for them after battling for a third-string position. He's a higher-upside flyer type of quarterback signing, a guy that ended up at Winston-Salem State after transferring from Alabama and later from Virginia. He was the No. 2 rated quarterback in the nation back in 2010 when he committed to Alabama, but eventually lost out to A.J. McCarron for the job.

The Seahawks have apparently had Sims on their radar for a while, and this Pro Day report from last year notes that the Seahawks were one of the teams that showed him the most interest.

The Seahawks expressed a lot of interest both throughout the season and at the Pro Day, Sims said.

"[Scouts] said they liked the way that I commanded [the Pro Day] instead of just going out there and throwing routes on air," said Sims, who said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and measured in at 6-foot-1, 226 pounds. "They definitely liked a lot of the movement we did. We did a lot of pocket movement, getting out of the pocket and throwing on the run. They liked to see stuff like that. We did a little bit of everything. We tried to touch on everything that they might want to see."

Here's some tape on him from his 2015 preseason with Arizona.

Running back:

FB Brandon Cottom 6'2, 262

Cottom was signed as a UDFA at the beginning of the season and there was some excitement about his potential because he possesses a pretty intriguing combination of size and speed. He might be the next Will Tukuafu type for Seattle.

Cottom only got eight touches in 2015 for Purdue (1 carry, 2 receptions, 1 two-point run, and 4 kickoff returns), but possesses the athletic traits at the position that the Seahawks love. At 6'2 and 262 pounds, he was the third-ranked SPARQ athlete at fullback 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.


WR Deshon Foxx 5'10, 177

Foxx has stuck around with the Seahawks off and on all year. I think signed and released from the practice squad probably like six or seven times now. Evidently they like his potential.

Foxx is a versatile receiving prospect that started 12 games for UConn in 2014, getting snaps at receiver, punt returner, kick returner, and even as a wildcat style quarterback. He racked up 716 all-purpose yards in 2014 -- 30 catches for 384 yards and 23 carries for 203 yards, plus 81 yards on ten punt returns and 48 yards on three kick returns.

WR Antwan Goodley 5'10, 210

Always liked Goodley. Crazy speed, kind of a running back playing wide receiver in the raw Golden Tate mold. Has a weird body for a receiver in that he's short, compact, but heavier at 210 pounds. He's got the same body type as Kevin Smith. It was always assumed that Goodley would take a year or three to develop as a pro receiver because he played in a very limited route tree at Baylor, but he does have explosive speed and top-tier athleticism. He spent time with the Cowboys this season. Always the chance that the Seahawks could use him kind of like B.J. Daniels -- a little hybrid between receiver and running back.

For what it's worth, Lance Zierlein compared him to Jermaine Kearse coming out last year.

WR Douglas McNeill 6'3, 200

McNeill was one of the guys that the Seahawks tried at cornerback for a spell last year but it looks like they have him listed at receiver again. That's good, I think. He's got great size and speed, and probably just needs a little more time to develop. This offseason will be an interesting one for him, and he's a guy to keep an eye on. I've heard from several people that the team likes his potential a lot. With Chris Matthews gone, McNeill becomes the tallest receiver on the roster, so that could matter.

Kenny and I interviewed McNeill last preseason for Real in the Field Gulls when he was making the move to cornerback. Give that another listen.

Tight end:

TE Ronnie Shields 6'5, 237

This is the first I've really heard of Shields since the Seahawks hosted him to their rookie minicamp back in May. Didn't test super well in the SPARQ athleticism metric that Zach Whitman tracks (-1.3 sigma, 9th percentile among NFL athletes). Has good size though, big hands (9.83") and long arms (32.5"). Guessing he's field fast with some room to build bulk to his frame. Will be interesting to see what he does.

Offensive line:

C Drew Nowak 6'4, 300
C Will Pericak 6'3, 300
T Terry Poole 6'5, 323

Familiar names here. Nowak and Pericak were with the team during the preseason and Nowak started seven games for the Seahawks this year. I think it's a little unfair to really harp on how badly Nowak fared this year before he was benched -- obviously it wasn't pretty -- but he was thrown into the fire for the first time (zero previous starts) and I think just got overwhelmed with what was asked of him. Obviously the team likes his future potential and he simply needs more time to develop the comfort with making offensive line calls and communicating from the center position. That is not easy, and it showed.

Terry Poole is interesting here. He was Seattle's fourth-round pick out of San Diego State in 2015 and did not make the roster at final cuts. Hopefully a year of development has helped. He was on the practice squad injured reserve this year so the team paid him to stick around all season -- that's at least a good sign.

Defensive line:

DT Justin Hamilton 6'2, 315
DT DeAngelo Tyson 6'2, 315

Hamilton was a VMAC visitor last summer, which typically means he was one of a smallish group of players that Seattle had their eyes on for undrafted free agency. He ended up in Buffalo, then Green Bay, before landing on the Seahawks' practice squad during the season. Seattle will need the depth at defensive tackle with Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin being free agents. We'll see what he can do.

Tyson is a former seventh-round pick by the Ravens (2012). He's been with the Ravens since, playing in 34 games while registering 42 tackles and three sacks. He's 26.

Defensive back:

CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste 6'3, 218 [FUT]
CB Trovon Reed 5'11, 191 [FUT]
CB George Farmer 6'0, 220 [FUT]
S Robert Smith 5'10, 204 [FUT]

Of this group, Stanley Jean-Baptiste is the most intriguing to me. Considering how horribly Brandon Browner has done in New Orleans' system as compared to what he brought to the Seahawks, it makes me think the former 2nd rounder maybe was just not coached up and/or used properly with the Saints. SJB is a guy that I had my eye on in the pre-draft run-up in 2014, and I think he has the physical tools and ballskills to play in Seattle.

Here's what I wrote about SJB a few years ago for my Scouting Lexicon piece. This was my example for "Locates the ball well; tracks the ball in the air".


Richard Sherman is among the best in the NFL at this skill. A player that I've seen compared to Sherman is Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

SJB, also a wide receiver turned cornerback like Sherman was at Stanford, understands typical receiver routes and can recognize when they start sinking their hips at their route stem. Once he sees them stem their route --  keeping in mind that a lot of what a receiver is trying to do depends on down, distance, and field position -- he can turn his head toward the line of scrimmage and look for the ball in flight.

Baptiste is not a perfect prospect, but one of my favorite things about him is that he's good timing his head turn to locate the ball. He seems to know where the receiver is going before the receiver goes there. See below -- this is a third down against Penn State, in overtime, so in other words, a big time situation. Jean-Baptiste makes a hell of a play.

Take note of his eyes -- he sees Allen Robinson stem his route out toward the sideline, recognizes the route, and turns his head immediately to find the ball. Had he just tried to play Allen or been unaware of where the ball was, this pass might've been completed. Instead, he plays the ball in the air and cuts of the angle of the pass. Turning your head to find the ball is extremely dangerous for a corner, because if you mistime that, you lose track of where the receiver has gone and you're absolute toast. It's also why it's such a valuable skill if you're good at it.


I'm also pretty intrigued with George Farmer, who Pete Carroll mentioned by name in his last presser as an example of one of those players that he's excited about for next year. Seattle signed the college receiver last August and then converted him to a cornerback.

Farmer is a former five-star recruit -- the #1 receiver in the nation out of high school and the #3 overall prospect -- that committed to the Trojans but never really panned out due to a number of factors, including injuries.

Farmer tore his ACL and MCL and missed the entire 2013 season, then caught 25 passes for 314 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2014 at USC. Farmer was a non-Combine-invite but after a strong pro day in which he reportedly ran the 40 in 4.35 seconds, he entered the Draft despite still having a year of eligibility. He went undrafted but was apparently pursued pretty hotly in rookie free agency, nabbing $55,000 in guaranteed money from the Cowboys (a $15,000 signing bonus plus $40,000 in salary). They cut him in August.

Seattle has a history of converting receivers into defensive backs and Farmer definitely profiles as a great candidate for it at 6'1 with 33-inch arms and a blazing 40 time. As Pete Carroll has said in the past, the team believes they can take great athletes and develop them into their system. Carroll said that first and foremost, when scouting potential cornerbacks, "One, we want fast guys, and long guys, that's what we're looking for. Then [they're] indoctrinated into the system."

One more guy that's not on this list, but who could be interesting -- Mohammed Seisay. He is on the Seahawks' roster (IR) right now, but should factor into the competition at CB next year. Pete Carroll said this of Seisay this week: "We never really got a chance to get him going, but we liked what we saw when he was here."


LS Andrew East 6'2, 220 [FUT]

I can't muster the strength to scout a longsnapper. We'll see if he can push Clint Gresham.


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