Now that the Seahawks' nine OTA practices have concluded, it’s time to look at five players who — from our reporter's perspective — made an impression.
Before the Seahawks began OTAs (Organized Team Activities) I wrote about five players to watch.
Now that the nine OTAs have concluded, it’s time to look at five players who proved worth watching.
There were, to be sure, more than five who stood out in the eyes of coaches.
But from this vantage point, here are a few who made an impression
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WR Kasen Williams: OTAs are no-contact sessions without full pads, and as such skill players tend to stand out. Also, reporters were allowed to watch just three of the nine sessions, so we’re working with some limited information. But in two of three sessions open to the media, Williams was hard not to notice. Williams’ athleticism has always been obvious. But one of the big questions a year ago was how he would come back from the injury that waylaid the end of his UW career. The answer at the moment appears to be “just fine.’’ Williams also appears more self-assured in his second season with the team. The receiving competition is stiff, and special teams will likely loom as a pivotal factor for the bottom few roster spots. But Williams appears off to a good start in making the roster spot he earned at the end of last season a more permanent one this year.
WR Douglas McNeil: McNeil is another trying to grab one of the final receiving roster spots, with the team apparently for now leaving him at receiver after trying him at cornerback last year (McNeil has been on and off the training camp or practice squad roster since Dec. 2014). Putting him on this list is due largely to the fact that both coach Pete Carroll and teammate Doug Baldwin have cited his play during OTAs, with Carroll making the interesting comment last week that McNeil might have a special teams edge on players such as Williams and Kevin Smith. Now listed at 6-3, 210, McNeil is a little heavier than in the past (he was listed at 200) offering a size component that also is intriguing to the Seahawks. Baldwin said this week he admires that McNeil never wavered when the team moved him to cornerback and then back to receiver. “He has shown that out here this year in OTAs, just his passion to play football,’’ Baldwin said. “It’s inspiring to watch because there are a lot of guys who would get frustrated with the lack of opportunities or the lack of consistency on which side of the ball they are playing, which position. But he came out here every day and he’s been fighting for his opportunities.’’
DE Cassius Marsh: This season, Marsh’s third in the NFL, looms as a pivotal one for the former UCLA star to create a lasting role on the team. And he’s being used a little differently this year, essentially the same as Bruce Irvin was in the past, getting work as both a strongside linebacker and rush end. Marsh appears a little leaner — he’s listed at 245 compared to 254 last season — with the team now longer asking him to play on the interior defensive line much. Marsh looked especially quick off the edge during OTAs, particularly in the last one open to the media on Thursday.
OT Terry Poole: If conditioning means anything, then Poole made one of the biggest statements of any Seahawk in the off-season, dropping from last year’s listed 323 pounds to 300. And with J’Marcus Webb sidelined for basically the entire OTAs (he got some individual work this week) Poole consistently ran with the first-team offense at right tackle. Poole’s game still appears to have a lot of room to grow, and everything changes for linemen once the pads go on in training camp. My listing of him here isn’t a prediction that he’s making the final 53-man roster — there’s a long way to go to sort out all the roles for the young offensive linemen. But OTAs appeared to be a good first step for Poole in putting a disappointing first year in the NFL behind him and entering training camp as more than an afterthought up front.
WR Paul Richardson: As noted earlier, receivers tend to be the easiest to notice in these things. But for Richardson, the biggest questions are about his health after he suffered an ACL injury in a playoff game in 2015 and then played just six snaps last season before suffering a hamstring injury. Richardson looked full go throughout OTAs, however, appearing to ease concerns about his health. And if fully healthy, there’s a big role waiting for Richardson in this offense as a player who can spread the defense.