Busy, busy day, it was, for the Seahawks on Saturday.
Seattle made seven picks and two trades during Day 3 of the NFL draft, with three selections in the fourth round, a surprise local pick (hello, BBK!) in the fifth, two dudes from Florida in the sixth round and plucking the nation’s leader in touchdown receptions out of Hawaii in the seventh.
So take a deep breath and get to know the newest Seahawks:
Gary Jennings, slot receiver (4th round, No. 120)
College: West Virginia
The Skinny: A native of Stafford, Va., Jennings graduated from Colonial Forge High School but earlier attended the Collegiate School in Richmond — the alma mater of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.
Wilson and Jennings have history.
Jennings played on a youth basketball team with Wilson’s younger sister, Anna. The coach of that basketball team was none other than Russell Wilson. (Anna Wilson, a Bellevue High graduate, now plays at Stanford.)
Jennings offers an intriguing combination of size and speed at slot receiver. He was one of the fastest players at the Senior Bowl in January, and followed that up by running a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
In four seasons at West Virginia, Jennings played in 50 games (with 22 starts) and was one of the most productive receivers in all of college football the past two seasons.
In 2017, he had 97 catches for 1,096 yards — but only one touchdown.
In 2018, he had 54 catches for 917 yards — and 13 touchdowns.
“I have great hands, I have great speed and I’m a playmaker,” he said. “When a play needs to be made at the end of the game, or in crucial situations, I’m the guy to go to.”
Phil Haynes, offensive guard (4th round, No. 124)
College: Wake Forest
The Skinny: Haynes was a team captain at Wake Forest — and captain of the “Beef Boys” offensive line.
“It’s just a name that we had for our offensive line,” he said. “We had a bunch of guys who had been together for a long time. We had four redshirt seniors this past year so it was kind of our thing.”
Wake Forest operates a run-heavy offense. Haynes’ favorite thing to do? Run block, of course.
One scouting report Haynes, from NFL.com: “Plays with good toughness and won’t back down.”
Those characteristics surely stood out to the Seahawks.
“I’m a physical guy who loves to run block,” he said. “I’m also a decent pass blocker. I think that’s why I got picked by the Seahawks because they love to run and I can definitely help out there.”
Haynes didn’t play football until his senior year of high school in Raleigh, North Carolina — basketball was his first love — and initially went to Wake Forest as a defensive lineman. He never imagined himself playing in the NFL.
“Honestly, I didn’t,” he said. “They talked about helping the team (at Wake Forest) and that’s what I wanted to do. I honestly just wanted to be a player and get my education, but now I’m an NFL draft pick and that’s awesome.”
Ugochukwu Amadi, defensive back (4th round, No. 132)
The Skinny: Last fall, Amadi won the Lombardi Award, presented to the college football player based on “performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency.”
Versatility, he says, is his strength, and he showed that in four seasons at Oregon. Amadi appeared in every game for the Ducks the past four years — 51 in all — and played at corner, safety and nickel.
He even returned punts, leading the Pac-12 in 2018 with a 15.9-yards-per-return average, with one return for a touchdown.
As a senior last fall, he posted 55 tackles, including 5.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks, and he was first player in college football in three years to have two pick-six touchdowns and a punt-return touchdown.
He profiles as a nickel back for the Seahawks.
“I can go out and get the ball back to our offense. That’s my strength,” said Amadi, a Nashville native. “I can get the ball back. I’m very instinctive; quick and fast. I know how to play the deep ball. I’m your all-around DB.”
Ben Burr-Kirven, linebacker (5th round, No. 142)
The Skinny: Seattle football fans need no introduction to BBK.
The middle linebacker emerged as a star for the Washington Huskies in 2017, when he beat out veteran Azeem Victor for a starting job and became a leader on the Pac-12’s best defense.
As a senior in 2018, he had a season for the ages. He had 176 tackles — the most by any player in college football since Boston College’s Luke Kuechly had 191 in 2011 — and was named the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He also won the Pac-12’s Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
BBK grew up in Menlo Park, Calif. — close to Stanford University — and was also a star running back at Sacred Heart Prep, leading the team to a 13-0 record and a CIF sectional title in 2014.
“I don’t think I will ever coach another kid like him,” his high school coach once said. “He’s the best I’ve ever coached.”
BBK is also a serious film buff. He earned his undergraduate degree from UW in Comparative Literature (Cinema & Media Studies) and has said he hopes to work in Hollywood after his football days are done.
“If I’m not playing football, that’s what I want to do,” he told The Times in 2017. “I just love movies. I don’t know if it’s making movies or being a critic, I just want to be around it.”
Travis Homer, running back (6th round, No. 204)
The Skinny: Homer averaged 6.0 yards per carry for the Hurricanes the past two seasons, finishing just shy of 1,000 yards in both 2018 (985 yards, 4 TD, on 164 carries) and in 2017 (966 yards, 8 TD, on 163 carries).
“When they called, all I could say was ‘yes, sir; yes, sir.’ I couldn’t think of any other words to say. I was so nervous,” Homer said.
He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, fifth-fastest among running backs at the NFL combine.
Homer, 20, was also the gunner on punt coverage at Miami, and it figures that that’s where he’ll get a chance to make his first impression with the Seahawks.
“He’s got the ability to stop and start and what I really like most about him, especially here in the sixth round, is that he’s a fighter,” ESPN’s Todd McShay during the draft. “This guy is scrappy, he loves the game and he’s going to come in and he’s going to find a role on that 53-man roster by battling on special teams. Look at his competitiveness as a runner. He hates going down, even though he’s not the biggest back. … Special teams could be where his home is.”
Demarcus Christmas, defensive tackle (6th round, No. 209)
College: Florida State
The Skinny: Nothing skinny about Mr. Christmas (and, yes, he’s 6-3 and 294 pounds, we refer to him as “Mister”).
Primarily a 3-technique run stopper, Christmas appeared in 51 games (38 starts) in his Florida State career, posting 105 tackles, including 10.5 for loss with 3.5 sacks, 13 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.
“It was the call I have been waiting for all my life,” he said after the Seahawks drafted him. “I put in all the work that I could. I was just ready for the call; I was sitting there waiting patiently.”
John Ursua, slot receiver (7th round, No. 236)
The Skinny: Talk about a comeback route.
Ursua, a standout QB in high school, was away from football for four years before playing his first snap of college football for Hawaii in 2016.
Ursua grew up on Hawaii’s Big Island, moved to Utah before his sophomore year and graduated from Cedar High School in Saratoga, Utah, in 2012. After graduation, he spent a year working and then took a two-year LDS church mission to Paris.
He moved back to Hawaii and redshirted in 2015 and finally got a chance to play again in 2016 — at a new position.
He had some guidance for his transition to slot receiver. His older brothers both played receiver at Southern Utah, and one of his brothers, Jared, is now the wide receivers coach at Weber State.
“So I was always around it and how they run routes,” John told the St. George Spectrum last year. “And being a QB you need to know how receivers run routes and how they break them out. I had a general idea, but I never ran routes. It was all new to me, but it’s been fun.”
Really fun. Ursua’s 16 touchdown receptions last fall led the NCAA, and he finished the season with 89 catches for 1,343 yards.
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