While the spotlight of Seattle’s three-day rookie minicamp understandably fell largely on the team’s draft picks (I wrote about the draftees here) there were some other interesting sidelights, such as the battle to get on the roster as a quarterback, a tryout cornerback with UW ties who impressed, and more.
So here are some non-draft pick impressions from the final day of minicamp.
SEAHAWKS MAY KEEP LOOKING FOR A THIRD QUARTERBACK
Seattle signed Taryn Christion out of South Dakota State as an undrafted free agent to potentially be the third QB behind Russell Wilson and Paxton Lynch on the 90-man roster. But the Seahawks also had former UW QB Troy Williams and Michael O’Connor of the University of British Columbia in as tryout players this weekend.
Williams appeared to have the best camp of the three — having been through it a year ago may have helped. But the way Carroll assessed it Sunday, none of the three really stood out, and that might mean the Seahawks will keep looking for a third QB to bring to training camp in late July.
“I thought it was hard on them,’’ Carroll said of how the QBs performed. “Thought the quarterbacks had a hard time. I thought they struggled with the system and the play calling. A lot of guys calling plays for the first time, in the huddles for the first time, under center for the first time, so there were some brand new experiences and so they were competing on many levels just to get going. So we’ll take a look at the film now that we get out of camp, and see where it all fits.’’
COULD FORMER HUSKY GARDENHIRE EARN A ROSTER SPOT?
As I wrote earlier, one-time UW cornerback Darren Garndenhire had a nice practice Saturday that included an interception in a team drill.
On Sunday, that earned him a spot working with the number one defense throughout at left cornerback with the Seahawks giving Simeon Thomas the day off to rest a sore groin (Thomas was the only veteran player currently on the team’s 90-man roster who took part in the camp).
Gardenhire attended as a tryout player but he might have given the Seahawks a decision to make whether they want to sign him to the 90-man roster.
Teams can hold minicamps on either the first or second weekend after the draft, and tryout players often attend one on each weekend if they are not signed. The Seahawks might have to make a preemptive move with Gardenhire.
“It was really obvious out there, he’s got some background, he’s played some football,’’ said Carroll, who spent some time talking to Gardenhire during early stretching. “He did a nice job.’’
Gardenhire initially left UW in 2016 in part due to what the Times reported at the time was his “refusal to take a drug test.” Coach Chris Petersen said at the time only that “difference in philosophy is probably the best way to put it.”
Gardenhire initially planned to transfer to Montana State but those plans went awry when he pleaded guilty in July 2017 to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs after being arrested along with another former Husky, Naijiel Hale, with it reported at the time that prosecutors said they twice arranged to sell Xanax to a confidential informant (Gardenhire) received a four-year deferred sentence).
He then played last season at Delta State in Cleveland, Miss.
Carroll said Simeon Thomas’ groin issue was not serious with the team being cautious since he has also been working with the veterans the last week and will continue to this week.
RECEIVERS COULD MAKE FOR SOME TOUGH CALLS
With DK Metcalf the only one of the team’s three drafted receivers taking part with Gary Jennings and John Ursua reach resting sore hamstrings, there were a lot of balls to go around to a bevy of undrafted free agents and tryout players taking part.
As should always be noted about this camp, the rules favor receivers since there are no pads, no contact and defensive backs are not allowed to contest passes (they can tip or pick off balls that are headed their way anyway).
So all the receivers made some plays and two who had TD grabs in team sessions Sunday were Jazz Ferguson, a one-time LSU player who measured here at 6-4, 240, who is a signed undrafted free agent, and Floyd Allen, a 5-10, 204-pounder from Ole Miss who is a tryout player and caught one TD and then celebrated with a back flip in the end zone (which Carroll said he didn’t see).
Terry Wright, a UDFA from Purdue, also was active throughout working primarily in the slot, the position where Seattle may have the most opportunity with Doug Baldwin contemplating retirement.
But if Ferguson took advantage Sunday to make a few plays, Carroll also sounded some caution about his size and condition.
“He’s got potential,’’ Carroll said. “You know, he’s got a lot of potential. The fact that is the big guy. I go back to his film, I think he weighed in at 240 and that’s bigger than he needs to be. So we’ll see when he’s more at his playing weight, which is probably in the twenties – 227, something like that. So we’ll see how he looks. I thought he looked a little bigger than he needs to for this time.’’
Asked about Allen, Carroll gave a general answer about the receivers, indicating that there could be some movement there between the players signed and the tryout players (tryout player Nyqwan Murray of Florida State also had some nice moments as did tryout player Daniel Williams, who at 6-2, 234 pounds also fits the big receiver mold the team is seeking).
“Well I was really impressed with this entire group,’’ Carroll said. “The whole group of catchers, they made plays throughout and they kind of–you saw some today–he has made a couple of good plays, but there’s a bunch of other guys too. So we liked this group and they make it difficult on us to figure out who to give the shot coming to camp. So they did very well by themselves and the tough decision is a good decision.’’
AND SOME MORE UDFA/TRYOUT THOUGHTS
Here are a few more random thoughts on some of the UDFA and tryout players:
— UDFA cornerback Derrek Thomas of Baylor spent the weekend working at right cornerback and his 6-3, 192-pound frame drew some comparisons to last year’s rookie standout Tre Flowers, who made the transition from college safety to starting NFL corner in his first season. “He’s really, the profile is very similar,’’ Carroll said. “The background is not the same. He’s been a corner more so. But size-wise, speed-wise, they’re really close.’’
— Jalen Harvey, a UDFA out of Arizona State listed as a strong safety, had an interception in a 7-on-7 drill.
— UDFA Jay-Tee Tiuli out of Eastern Washington and Federal Way High appeared to typically work with the number one defense at nose tackle next to draftee Demarcus Christmas at the three-tech spot. Also working at the nose was Bryan Mone of Michigan who is listed at 6-3, 366 but whom Carroll said is closer to 345. As Carroll said Friday, that is a position where the team has some real opportunity for someone to make a run at a roster spot. “This will be a very competitive spot for us for the rotations that we’d like to have,’’ Carroll said.
— UDFA Logan Tago of Washington State also consistently worked with the number one defense as a rush end, or the team’s LEO spot with draftee L.J. Collier at the five-tech end spot on the other side.
— Tryout player Martez Ivey of Florida, listed as a guard, played consistently at right tackle. Ivey is a former high school All-American who was a four-year starter at Florida with time at both tackle and guard and if there was a tryout OL who made an impression, he may have been it.
— Another tryout OL who got a lot of work was James Moore of Central Washington and Bethel High in Tacoma. He consistently played at left tackle though he was also listed as a guard on the roster.