RENTON, Washing. There is no NFL summer setting like this, and the day I was here the Blue Angels were flying around (that’s not a metaphor, they were here for an event called Seafair), the sky was crystal clear and it was 80 degrees with no humidity on the banks lake washington. There was also some football out there…
1) Seattle’s corner situation is really interesting. Artie Burns and Sidney Jones restoration projects get first crack at starting. But some rookies push them. Fourth-rounder Coby Bryant, the Thorpe Award winner from Cincinnati, is already having first-team conversations and looks like a potential plug-and-play starter with a chance to be out there during Week 1. And the fifth-rounder UTSA’s Tariq Woolen has impressed his teammates on both sides of the ball with his combination of size and athleticism. Who will play where still needs to be worked out. But the Seahawks appear to have some options at the position.
2) Bobby Wagner is gone, and there’s undoubtedly a void left by his departure—but with Jordin Brooks and Cody Burton in his old position, Seattle should have a quicker look on defense than they have in the past two years (and I’m not saying either is as good as Wagner, to be clear). Brooks, in particular, has a chance to play close to a Pro Bowl level this year based on how he’s moved in camp.
3) The movement skills of rookie tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas have been on display since May. Cross is a very good bet to start on the left side. Lucas could end up becoming his library. But the preseason will be a good opportunity to see where they are as run blockers. Both are products of Mike Leach’s offense, so there’s a projection that goes with each. The Seahawks are betting on the mentality and edge they both have in their personalities — Lucas has a certain nastiness to how he plays — but it will be important for Seattle to see that in the running games on the field (preseason).
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4) We have already named four rookies. There are more. Second-round pick Kenneth Walker III, who won the Walter Camp Award last year while at Michigan State, could start at tailback — and he’s shown the vision and second quickness he did in college. Fellow second rounder Boye Mafe brings juice from the edge. And there’s even a seventh rounder to watch out for. That would be Dareke Young, who was a tight end in Lenoir-Rhyne’s wing-T offense just two years ago, and now brings a pretty remarkable combination of size, toughness and speed to the NFL receiver position (even if still quite raw). Add that up, and it looks like Pete Carroll and John Schneider could have a core class here.
5) Oh, you want to know about generals? Geno Smith is getting nearly all of the first-team reps (and leads), but both he and Drew Lock have more to show the coaches between now and Monday night’s opener. Smith needs to show he can play faster than he did the previous two years in Seattle. Lock must show that he has toned down the mental aspect of the offense after going through a lot of coaching turmoil in Denver, and improve his footwork. The good news is that Carroll doesn’t have to call just yet.
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