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Rookie Report: Damien Lewis bulldozing defenseless defenders

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Sunday the Seattle Seahawks defeated the New England Patriots 35-30 on a thrilling goal line stop, with a little more in terms of contributions from the team’s rookie class. Each week during the season Field Gulls will be reviewing the contributions of the rookie class during the game.

In Week 2, Darrell Taylor and Colby Parkinson remained on the nonfootball injury list, DeeJay Dallas and Alton Robinson were both healthy scratches once again and Stephen Sullivan is still on the practice squad, meaning just four rookies were active for the Hawks for the second consecutive week. Thus, without wasting any time, here’s a look at how each of the rookies performed on the field against the Pats.

First Round Pick Jordyn Brooks

After playing seven defensive snaps during the Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Brooks played eight defensive snaps against the Pats. However, unlike in Week 1, Brooks did not record any traditional stats that would show in the box score. In addition, he also added a dozen special teams snaps.

Third Round Pick Damien Lewis

Lewis has made his presence felt in the run game so far in 2020, consistently bulldozing and pancaking defenders in the process of opening holes for the Seattle running backs.

His prowess in the run game has him as the third highest grade for run blocking of all guards across the entire NFL.

However, his pass blocking has been a different story. Pass blocking on true pass sets was known as his weakness coming out of LSU, so that’s still a work in progress and PFF grades him as the second worst pass blocking guard in the league so far. That said, he’s got the size, strength and skill to become a very, very good guard, but at this point he’s still learning. This is fine, as young offensive linemen are expected to struggle, and if Lewis can continue to excel as a run blocker over the next year or two while he improves and refines his pass blocking, that is perfectly acceptable.

It would obviously be preferable to not see Lewis getting blasted backwards by much smaller defenders, like he did on this rep against the Patriots, but that will come with time and the improvement in technique.

That said, there are certain to be growing pains at time, so while Lewis is currently tied for having allowed the fifth most pressures of any guard in the NFL, leads the league in penalties committed and has incurred more penalty yards than any other offensive player in the league, the trend through the remainder of the season should be in the right direction.

Sixth Round Pick Freddie Swain

Swain drew praise from fans when he hauled in his first career pass reception against the Falcons in Week 1. That then led to his first career touchdown reception against the Patriots in Week 2, and it appears as though Swain is grabbing command of the battle for the slot receiver role in the coming seasons. Obviously it’s still early, and two catches in two games certainly won’t land anyone in the Hall of Fame, but in addition to his performance on the field, Swain has even earned praise from head coach Pete Carroll for how quickly he’s picked up the offense.

That is basically the opposite of what Carroll had to say about the Day 3 receivers the Seahawks added in the 2019 NFL Draft in John Ursua and Gary Jennings.

With two catches for 38 yards and a touchdown through the first two games, it certainly appears as though Swain could make some noise the rest of the year. Especially with free agent Phillip Dorsett now on injured reserve for at least the next three weeks.

Undrafted Free Agent Penny Hart

Hart, though active on the 54 man gameday roster did not play any snaps, either on offense or on special teams, against the Patriots.

Next up the Seahawks and their rookie class will host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3.