Wednesday marks a break in habit for the Seahawks that also is an apparent indication of their enthusiasm and expectations for their incoming rookie class.
For the first time in the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks will have their rookies report for training camp at the earliest permissible date — which for Seattle is Wednesday.
Seattle’s veterans will report on July 24. NFL rules allow for teams to require their rookies and first-year players (defined as those who do not have at least one pension-credited season) a week earlier.
Seattle has typically had everyone report at once, or had the rookies report a day earlier.
The announcement of the rookie reporting date was made after Carroll was last available to media following the team’s minicamp in June.
But Seattle has one of its largest draft classes — 11 — as well as 17 other rookies or first-year players, almost a third of the team’s 90-man roster. And with many of those players expected to fill key roles this season, Carroll apparently wanted to give the rookies a head start.
The players won’t be doing anything significant on the field — that can’t happen until camp. But they can hold meetings and just generally start getting prepared for the season ahead.
And this is a year when Seattle not only hopes but needs as many of its rookies to contribute significantly immediately.
In fact, no one is ruling out any of the 11 draftees as potentially making the 53-man roster out of training camp and playing this season.
Despite having had some of the best draft classes in NFL history early in their tenure, the Seahawks have not had every member of a draft class play in their rookie season during the the Carroll/John Schneider era (though the memorable 2012 Russell Wilson/Bobby Wagner class came close with all but one of 10 picks seeing action that year — linebacker Korey Toomer.)
The Seahawks also have 10 undrafted rookie free agents on their roster with several inevitably likely to stand out enough in camp to warrant serious consideration for a spot. There are seven other first-year players, notably receiver Keenan Reynolds, tight end Tyrone Swoopes and running back Bo Scarbrough, who could also report now, per NFL rules.
By having their rookies report early the Seahawks are joining the ranks of most NFL teams — only eight have the same reporting dates for both rookies and veterans, including the Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers.
Seattle will hit the field for its first training camp practice on July 25, the earliest date — teams cannot ask players to report for camp earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game.
Seattle opens the preseason on Aug. 8 against Denver at CenturyLink Field.