In advance of Friday’s start to rookie minicamp, the Seattle Seahawks announced the jersey numbers assigned to their new crop of drafted players Thursday. Presumably, undrafted rookies got numbers too, but it looks like we’ll have to stand by for those reports from eyewitness beat writer accounts this weekend. Here’s how the the designations break down, in order of pick selection:
Malik McDowell 94
Ethan Pocic 79
Shaquill Griffin 26
Delano Hill 44
Nazair Jones 93
Amara Darboh 84
Tedric Thompson 33
Mike Tyson 40
Justin Senior 65
David Moore 83
Chris Carson 32
There’s nothing precious about non-retired jersey numbers in the NFL. Because of the way the league strictly classes number assignments by position and roster inflation in effect at this time of the offseason, it’s impossible to read too much significance in any player usurping a former player’s number. For example, last season Germain Ifedi was immediately granted former keystone Pete Carroll-era Seahawk Russell Okung’s number 76. However, it is interesting to see Ethan Pocic given Garry Gilliam’s number 79 and both of Christine Michael’s former numbers, 33 and 32, handed out to Tedric Thompson and Chris Carson respectively. Of course, Kelcie McCray more recently wore 33 for Seattle.
On the other face, look at Amara Darboh getting number 84: Yesterday, Sam Gold compared Darboh to recent Seahawk staple Jermaine Kearse but where the undrafted Kearse had to sport lowly 8 during his rookie camp and preseason Darboh’s new digits formerly belonged to notable Seattle wideouts Bobby Engram and Joey Galloway.
With that kind of tradition in mind, I love that Delano Hill retained his college number 44. The most famous 44 in Seahawks history, of course, never officially happened. After Seattle selected Brian Bosworth, outside linebacker from Oklahoma, in the 1987 supplemental draft, Bosworth intended to keep his old Sooners number 44 in the pros for both aesthetic and marketing reasons and even wore it in three preseason games. The NFL said no, because it’s rigid numerological system at the time forbade linebackers wearing anything outside the 50s and 90s. Bosworth sued and lost, so instead of the double-tetris the Boz afterward wore 55 during the rest of his abbreviated football career.
The crossover to Hill is fascinating, because some scouts see the Michigan safety converting to outside linebacker in the league, playing on the edge like Boz or at least in a hybrid-safety role:
Delano Hill should DEFINITELY play linebacker. Ball skills and hips are iffy, but he's huge and a total form-tackler.— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) April 3, 2017
(Note that Stanger’s prediction was made nearly a month before Seattle drafted Hill.)
Delano Hill is a ton of fun to watch also. If nickel is the new base, wouldn't be surprised to see him as a S/LB hybrid. Dude can tackle.— Mike (@SeahawkScout) April 30, 2017
However, a position switch won’t necessitate a number swap for Hill in any case, because the NFL recently changed its rules to allow linebackers to wear jerseys in the 40s which is why you now see 44 on players like the Atlanta Falcons’ Vic Beasley.
The number 44 has been worn by other Seahawks over the years, most recently by Marcel Reece and Tani Tupou in 2016. But even if Hill stays strictly at safety, he will be the first Seattle defensive player to don the fo-fo in a regular (non-preseason) game since Dave McCloughan in 1994. And it looks mighty spiffy if you ask me.
Though not everyone agrees.
What do yall think of the newest Seahawks’ new math?