Earlier this week the Seattle Seahawks hosted both of the team’s two 2014 second round draft picks, Paul Richardson and Justin Britt, on free agent visits. Richardson is a free agent after two less than stellar seasons with the Washington Football Team, while Britt was released earlier this offseason after the addition of B.J. Finney in free agency and the selection of Damien Lewis in the draft.
However, with Finney reportedly underwhelming and multiple members of the wide receiver group battling injuries, could the Hawks be looking to add a new slot receiver? Earlier in the offseason, the idea that Phillip Dorsett could be a factor from the slot was noted here at Field Gulls, and the fact that Dorsett lined up in the slot more during the 2016 season when Brian Schottenheimer was on staff with the Indianapolis Colts certainly seems to add credence to this idea. In addition, while many fans are excited to see what second year receiver John Ursua brings to the table from the slot, the workout list from Thursday could hint that the team is exploring options when it comes to slot receivers.
Today’s workout/visit list.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 27, 2020
The Lions worked out ex-Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer. pic.twitter.com/ka9DEAarOg
Specifically, among that long list of players the team hosted for a workout, both Justin Hardy and Lance Lenoir fit the physical and athletic profile that the team more traditionally looks for from its slot receivers. What exactly this means regarding the injuries to Dorsett and Ursua remains to be seen, as the team has played things extra tight lipped during training camp this year. Ursua’s hamstring injury is , according to Carroll, extremely minor.
John Ursua "tweaked his hammy" according to Pete Carroll. Said it's very slight.— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) August 26, 2020
Some Seahawks fans, ever the optimists, of course reacted to this report as rationally as would be expected given Pete’s history of downplaying injuries that eventually proved to be more serious than initially stated.
Translating Pete Carroll medical speak,,,— Nick, Soros Funded (@seahawksnerd75) August 26, 2020
It seems that John Ursua lost that leg. https://t.co/AB3NQQ5bKn
As for Dorsett, Carroll had the following to say.
On the injuries at receiver, Carroll called it a "really slight" hamstring tweak that John Ursua suffered yesterday. Phillip Dorsett is being rested with a sore foot. Said Dorsett feels good today but noted that it's been an issue for a while.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) August 26, 2020
Carroll says Ursua tweaked his hamstring and not a big deal. Carroll says Dorsett has been dealing with sore foot for a while and may need to be monitored for a while.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) August 26, 2020
Not to be alarmist, but “may need to be monitored” is not exactly what I want to hear from Pete “Uberoptimist” Carroll when it comes to an injury. Obviously, without knowing the specifics of the injury and without anything more concrete than a “sore foot”, it’s hard to know what to expect. That said, with both of those players looking at potential injury issues, especially considering this is not the first time Ursua has dealt with a hamstring issue, it’s not a surprise to see the team looking at potential depth at the slot receiver role.
However, of the names on the list of players brought in for a workout, the one that might lead to the most raised eyebrows is Ade Aruna. Aruna is a defensive end originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings before a training camp injury derailed his rookie season. He then spent 2019 on the practice squad of the then Oakland but now Las Vegas Raiders, and has now been waived by the Raiders twice in the past month. Initially he was waived with a non-football injury designation back in July before being brough back in early August, only to once again be released this past Sunday.
Aruna has never appeared in a regular season NFL game, however, he’s of similar size and build, though considerably more athletic, than Branden Jackson. Jackson, or course, was knocked unconscious and taken by ambulance to the hospital during the Seahawks first mock game, and Aruna could represent a potential Jackson replacement if the team winds up not clearing Jackson medically. In addition, he recorded double digit sacks as a Junior at Tulane in 2016, so could represent a potential addition of potential along the defensive line as the team looks to improve upon what most expect to be the weakest link for the team.
In any case, there are just eight days remaining until roster cuts on Saturday September 5, so it is entirely possible that the Seahawks were also simply bringing these players in to get a view of what they might be able to contribute from the practice squad. There is just a single week of practices left in training camp, so it seems likely that Carroll and general manager John Schneider are getting ready to burn the candle at both ends as they sift through free agency and the waiver wire for the players they’ve had their eyes on in the past.