Speed And Strength: Closer Look At Seahawks' New Rookies
The Seahawks are putting their new drafted and undrafted rookies to the test in a mini-camp this weekend in Renton. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there are several standouts who could help the Seahawks be as good as they were last year.
Faster Than A Speeding Harvin
The Seahawks' first pick in the draft was former Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson. He's fast — very fast, like faster-than-Percy-Harvin fast.
"He is extraordinary," Art said. "He's faster than Percy Harvin, at least in the 40-yard dash (he ran it in 4.33 seconds at the NFL combine in February)."
Art imagines what it would be like with Harvin and Richardson on the field at the same time.
"The defensive coordinator in the press box is going to swoon because there is no answer for guys that fast," he said. "Richardson still has some development to do. I think he needs to get stronger and I think he's going to have to acclimate to the pro game but I think there's a chance he can step on the field and contribute right away next year."
'Talent' To Fill A Void
Art thinks the rookie with the best chance of starting next season is the Seahawks' second pick in the draft, Justin Britt, an offensive tackle and guard from the University of Missouri. He says Britt has the talent to start.
"He's got a lot of versatility and strength. Tom Cable, the assistant coach in charge of the offensive line, just gushed about him when they picked him. The Seahawks really need to fill voids in the offensive line so I do think this guy has a substantial chance to either start at right tackle or right guard," he said.
What's With All The Quarterbacks?
After the draft the Seahawks signed some undrafted free agents, including former University of Washington quarterback Keith Price. This brings to five the number of quarterbacks on the Seahawks right now. They already had starting QB Russell Wilson, backup QB Tarvaris Jackson, 3rd string QB B.J. Daniels and off-season acquisition Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders. And now Price.
Art says one reason is to show there are no "coach's pets."
"Pete Carroll's mantra is 'always compete.' And he means that for the quarterbacks as well. I also think Carroll wants to make sure that everybody knows that Russell Wilson has to compete just as well as they do at their positions," he said.
Art expects some changes: "I think Keith Price was probably a courtesy gesture - simply to give the local kid a chance to be in camp and a chance to hook on elsewhere after he's cut. And I think Terrelle Pryor is going to be more than just a quarterback. I think he could be a receiver, a tight end or an H-back — somebody who blocks as well as gets out for short routes."
2014 Outlook: NFC West Even Stronger
So, how are the Hawks looking for the fall? Art thinks they're going to be as good as they were last year, even though they have some vacancies to fill and there are people who have to prove they can fill those jobs.
"The interesting thing is I think the NFC West got a lot better," he said. "Arizona was already capable of beating Seattle last year at The Clink (CenturyLink Field). St. Louis gave them two very difficult games. And San Francisco added 11 new draft choices this year. All three are improved.
"It wouldn't surprise me if the Seahawks couldn't do any better than 3-3 in their division. But they could still go to the Super Bowl."