The Seahawks have signed former Washington Husky receiver Kevin Smith, reports the Everett Herald's John Boyle. Smith's route to Seattle has been surprisingly circuitous -- he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in Arizona, was released there, and claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was subsequently released a second time and from what it sounds like, the Jags were dealing with injuries to a few guys in their receiver corps and simply needed a body to catch some passes in camp. Obviously, he didn't make a big enough impression to stick there, but he sounds like a Seahawky type of player.
This past season, as 1090 The Fan points out, Smith was "lauded by the UW coaching staff for his outstanding blocking and leadership within the locker room," noting that Huskies Head Coach Steve Sarkisian "named him as one of his 'two or three favorite players' on the team prior to his departure."
Rob Rang said this of Smith's Pro Day performance in which several of the Seahawks' personnel people were on hand, including John Schneider:
"... pass catcher Kevin Smith certainly helped his cause as well. Measuring in at 5-11 (1/2) and a solid 208 pounds, Smith was clocked at 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 37" vertical jump...
.... Plus a 10'6" broad jump, the kind of lower-body explosiveness the Seahawks like in their receivers.
He also ran crisp routes, showed the ability to track the ball over his shoulder and good hands to extend and pluck outside of his frame.
Smith noted this after his pro day:
"I just wanted to show my natural ability. I'm really athletic, and I don't think a lot of people know that. I wanted the show the explosiveness in my vertical jump and my broad jump, and show the quick change of direction and fast feet. Most important, run good routes and catch the play. I really wanted to show my versatility - I can do multiple things on offense and special teams. That's what I played in college, including all four phases of special teams, and I got the ball in my hands a lot of different ways on offense."
"I feel like I'm a dirty-work guy. I can do the scrappy stuff, the dirty work on the field. I take pride in that, in being a team player. Anything the coaches ask me to do, I can do. I feel like they can use me a lot in different areas of their system."
Smith caught 50 passes for 765 yards and four touchdowns in 2013, best among Husky receivers, after sitting out all of 2012 rehabbing a torn ACL.
After the draft wrapped up, Smith said he got offers from five teams: the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals. He ultimately chose Arizona, despite the fact that his good friend Jermaine Kearse had set a pretty cool precedent in Seattle by working his way into the lineup as a UDFA out of Washington. Nonetheless, Kearse guided him through the process.
"Jermaine helped me a lot. A lot of people criticized him and his game when he went undrafted but his game showed. He could have been drafted and the same thing could be said for me. He's been like a big brother to me over the past few years and someone who's always been there for me and was a huge help going through the process."
The Seahawks released Andru Pulu, another former Husky transfer, to clear a roster spot.
Smith had a few drops in this game (including a controversial one at the end of the game), but he did have a few nice digs of low passes, and this play was impressive too:
As were these: