Quarterback Trevone Boykin is among the Seahawks' undrafted rookie free agents who may have the best chance of making the team's final 53-man roster next fall.
The three days of the NFL draft hog the TV cameras and media attention.
But the hour or so that follows, when teams sign players who have gone undrafted, often proves just as pivotal in a team’s future — and maybe is more stressful to team executives.
“It’s crazy,’’ Seahawks general manager John Schneider said a few minutes after the draft had concluded April 30. “I’m trying to keep my armpits like this (tight to his body) so people can’t see it. It’s pretty intense. It’s a lot of fun. It’s like being on the floor of the stock market, I guess.”
For the Seahawks, the undrafted-free-agent talent pool mostly has been a bull market the past few years.
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When the 2015 season ended, the Seahawks had 18 players on their 53-man roster who entered the league as undrafted free agents.
A fitting 12 of those entered the NFL as members of the Seahawks, including Michael Bennett, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Garry Gilliam.
The Seahawks signed 13 undrafted free agents in the hour or so after the draft this year. Following moves made after last week’s rookie minicamp they have 15 undrafted rookie free agents on their 90-man roster.
Given their history, at least one or two is likely to be on the opening day 53-man roster.
Here are players who might have the best shot:
QB Trevone Boykin: Given the Seahawks’ uncertain backup-quarterback situation, Boykin might have the clearest path to a roster spot of any undrafted free agent. In fact, at the moment —- with Tarvaris Jackson, the backup the past three seasons, unsigned — Boykin almost certainly would be on it, as he and Jake Heaps are the only other QBs on the roster behind Russell Wilson. Boykin also was one of Seattle’s top priorities among undrafted free agents, and he received a $15,000 signing bonus. Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks think it might be advantageous to have backups to Wilson who play in a similar style. Boykin, one of eight players in major-college football history to throw for more than 10,000 yards and rush for 2,000, fits that mold. His listed height of 6 feet is among the reasons he is likened to Wilson and why many wondered if he could make it in the NFL. But the analytic website Pro Football Focus noted that Boykin had just two passes in 400 attempts batted down at the line of scrimmage last season, tied for fourth in the nation (three other QBs had one). And for good measure, Schneider said this week there’s no reason Boykin can’t be the backup this season.
DE Pete Robertson: Robertson was one of three players signed this week after trying out during the rookie minicamp. A few players who were tryout players have made the roster in recent seasons, including tight end Cooper Helfet, defensive end Benson Mayowa and tight end RaShaun Allen. The 6-2, 233-pound Robertson is primarily a rush end, an area in which the Seahawks are always seeking reinforcements. The opportunity might be a little greater this year due to the departure of Bruce Irvin. According to Pro Football Focus, Robertson had the fifth-most QB hurries and hits in the nation last season at Texas Tech.
LB Montese Overton: Overton also plays a position — strong-side linebacker — where there is opportunity, again due to the departure of Irvin. Overton was cited twice by Carroll last weekend as a standout at minicamp. “He’s a noted pass-rush guy with a lot of speed and a lot of quickness,’’ Carroll said of the East Carolina product. “ … He’s a guy that we really liked throughout the process. Fortunately, we were able to sign him in camp (as an undrafted free agent) and he’s playing at the SAM spot. There’s going to be a big, competitive opportunity there at the SAM spot, so we’ll see what he does.’’
MLB Steve Longa: The 6-foot, 241-pound Longa could emerge as a backup to Bobby Wagner and a special teamer (meaning he’s essentially in competition with Brock Coyle, another undrafted free agent to make the team in recent seasons). Longa was a starter for three years at Rutgers before declaring early. He went undrafted, and later told NJ.com that once the fifth round ended, he was hoping he wouldn’t get picked so he could end up with the Seahawks regardless. Longa was one of two undrafted free agents — Overton is the other — who Carroll cited for his play in minicamp.
FB/DTs Taniela Tupou and Brandin Bryant: We’ll make this a dual entry, because Tupou and Bryant are players who could fill dual roles, which could greatly enhance their changes of making the roster. Both played defensive tackle and fullback during minicamp. Tupou was signed as a tryout player and is listed at fullback, and Bryant is listed as a defensive tackle and fullback. The Seahawks don’t have a true fullback on the roster, though another undrafted free agent, running back Tre Madden, also is getting a look there. Seattle doesn’t necessarily need a player listed as a fullback to have someone fill much of those same duties on game day. But considering it is a position the Seahawks have employed as much as anyone the past few years, the ability to play fullback could help an undrafted free agent make the roster.