RENTON — Headed into training camp a year ago, Jake Curhan wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the Seahawks roster.
After going unpicked in the 2021 NFL draft and signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, nothing was going to be handed to the 6-foot-6, 330 pound Cal product.
But now, with a rookie year and five games of starting experience behind him, Curhan could be a critical piece this season for the Seahawks’ young and inexperienced offensive line.
Curhan has spent most of this preseason at right guard, as rookie Abraham Lucas has grabbed ahold of the starting spot at right tackle with a pair of solid performances in the team’s first two preseason games.
While Lucas is now taking the first team snaps in practice at tackle, that doesn’t mean that the competition on the right side of the line is over.
“Either way, we’re going to be in good shape,” Curhan said, “Obviously, I want to start, Abe wants to start too, but we get along and I help him here or there, when there are things I think you could do differently on certain plays that might help the play run smoother and make it easier for maybe the guy playing next to him. So, you know, I’m here to help.”
Curhan was a standout right tackle during his college career at Cal, but played extensive time at guard early last year as the Seahawks looked for depth on the offensive line. Curhan made the team last season based largely on his positional flexibility, the only undrafted free agent to earn a spot on the squad.
He saw action at right guard in Week 13 against San Francisco, and then started the final five games at right tackle when Brandon Shell dealt with a shoulder injury. With 2021 offensive line starters like Duane Brown and Shell now gone, Curhan’s flexibility is even more critical going into 2022.
“Guard is still a pretty new position for me, I’ve only been playing it since last year, really,” Curhan continued. “So still a lot to learn and a lot to get better at but even there, I feel way more comfortable than I did last year.”
For Curhan, it isn’t always easy to quickly make the switch from guard back to tackle during practice or a game, but it’s a transition that he seems eager to master.
It sometimes takes a few plays for him to readjust when the coaches ask him to hop back from guard to tackle during a practice, but now that he has game experience at both positions, Curhan’s value to the team is high.
Fourth-year player Phil Haynes will most likely get the starting snaps at right guard at the start of the year with starter Damien Lewis currently out with a right ankle sprain, but Curhan’s No. 74 jersey won’t be far from the field.
After making the team last year despite not getting drafted, and then proving his value at multiple positions, Curhan heads into the season as an importance utility piece for Seattle.
“I just feel way more comfortable this year,” Curhan said Tuesday. “I think a lot of that was getting to be on the field as much as I was last year, understanding that I can compete at a high level, and at a consistent level.”
— Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that cornerback Artie Burns (groin) could play on Friday, depending on how he feels in practice over the next few days.
“There is a good chance we could see Artie this week, so we’re really excited to see that,” Carroll said.
— Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) is making progress, according to Carroll, but will not play in this week’s preseason finale against Dallas.
— Wide receiver Dee Eskridge is practicing and has a chance to play in the preseason finale. Eskridge reinjured his hamstring on the first day of training camp July 27 but appears to be close to his return.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to get him out to get him out there,” Carroll said. “ … He’s on the move to get back out.”
— Carroll did not say whether defensive end L.J. Collier (elbow) will play in Friday’s game, but said he wanted to see how Collier did in practice on Tuesday before making a decision.
— Carroll said cornerback Tre Brown won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. That’s no surprise as Brown remains on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from knee surgery last November, but Carroll’s comment made it official.
Brown, a fourth-round pick in 2021 out of Oklahoma, started three games for the Seahawks last year. Staying on the PUP list to start the season means Brown has to miss at least four games.
— Seattle on Tuesday re-signed undrafted rookie free agent tight end Cade Brewer and waived undrafted rookie free agent offensive lineman Shamarious Gilmore to make room on the 80-man roster. Brewer was signed as depth with tight end Tyler Mabry taking a hard hit late in Sunday’s practice and not seen on the field since then.