As the Seahawks head into their summer vacation, here's a breakdown of each of the team's 10 draft picks and how their roles appeared to be evolving througout OTAs and mini-camp.
With each passing year, the legacy of the Seahawks’ 2012 draft class grows larger.
Seattle drafted 10 players that season, nine of whom made the team’s initial 53-man roster — and all 10 of whom were still on NFL rosters last season.
That group includes quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, each on their way to being the best at that position in team history.
And in the last 12 months, six of those picks — Wilson, Wagner, cornerback Jeremy Lane, linebacker Bruce Irvin, offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy and defensive tackle Jaye Howard — have signed lucrative second contracts, maybe the most meaningful indicator of how their talents are viewed in the NFL.
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In short, it was a heck of class.
As the Seahawks conducted OTAs (organized team activities) and mini-camp over the last month, there was a growing buzz around the team that the 2016 draft class could be the best since 2012.
There’s a long way to go, of course, before making any real conclusions, and every NFL team is high on its draft class at this stage of the off-season.
But the OTA/mini-camp season did appear to indicate that the 2016 rookie draft class could have more players making an immediate impact than any since 2012.
As of now, it’s not a real stretch to see eight of the 2016 draftees on the initial 53-man roster, and cases can be made for all 10.
Seattle hasn’t had more than five draft picks make the initial 53-man roster since 2012.
As the team heads into its summer break, here’s a brief review of each draft pick and how their role appeared to be taking shape as mini-camp concluded.
RG Germain Ifedi: Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick out of Texas A&M at No. 31 overall, spent the entire 12 OTA and mini-camp practices working with the starting offense at right guard. That job is Ifedi’s to lose and it would be a surprise at this point if he did.
DT Jarran Reed: Reed, taken in the second round after the team traded a fourth-round pick to move up seven spots to get him, was drafted with the intent that he would replace the departed Brandon Mebane at nose tackle. Reed has indeed filled that spot throughout the off-season program — as of today, it appears he’d be a starter on the defensive line at tackle next to Ahtyba Rubin — while also getting some work at the three-technique and five-technique spots.
RB C.J. Prosise: The third-rounder from Notre Dame is being groomed for an immediate role as a third-down back (the job of Fred Jackson and Robert Turbin in past seasons). After missing much of OTAs with a hip flexor, he practiced fully the last two days of mini-camp and gave initial indications he’ll be ready for the job in the fall.
TE Nick Vannett: The third-rounder from Ohio State was drafted with the initial idea that he could help immediately as an in-line blocking tight end. But coach Pete Carroll said Vannett showed more polished receiving skills than the team may have anticipated, and he could have a more varied role in the offense in 2016 than was originally thought. At the moment, Vannett appears to have the upper hand on the third tight end spot after veterans Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson (and serving as Willson’s backup if Graham’s recovery is delayed).
LG Rees Odhiambo: The third-rounder from Boise State has worked throughout the off-season at left guard, generally going with the second unit behind Mark Glowinski. If the season began today, Glowinski would likely be the starter at that spot. But the Glowinski-Odhiambo battle for that position looms as one of the more intriguing of training camp. And if Odhiambo doesn’t win it he figures to at least serve as a swing backup player.
DL Quinton Jefferson: The fifth-rounder from Maryland was drafted with the thought that he could add depth all along the defensive line and most specifically fill a Michael Bennett-type role (meaning outside on running downs and inside on passing downs). With Bennett sitting out OTAs and sidelined for mini-camp, Jefferson often worked with the first unit in his spot at end. Jefferson won’t beat out Bennett anytime soon, but appears to be being groomed to help back up there, as well as fill in at other spots on the line.
RB Alex Collins: The fifth-rounder from Arkansas spent the off-season program working with the second team offense at tailback behind Christine Michael, with projected starter Thomas Rawls sidelined. Collins also appeared to show more receiving ability than the 27 catches he had in three college seasons might have suggested. There doesn’t seem to be much question at this point that Collins will have a spot in the team’s tailback rotation, it’s simply a matter of how large that role will be.
C Joey Hunt: The sixth-rounder from TCU worked with the second and third units behind Justin Britt, often snapping to college teammate Trevone Boykin, who at the moment projects as the team’s backup QB behind Russell Wilson. Hunt has impressed the Seahawks with his football instincts and quick assimilation of the playbook. The fight for the last few offensive line spots will be as competitive as any. But Hunt appears well-positioned to make it.
WR Kenny Lawler: The seventh-rounder from Cal flashed the expected prolific hands during rookie mini-camp. He was largely limited during the off-season program, however, and Carroll has said he needs to put on some weight. Lawler figures to be right in the mix for one of the final roster spots, and undoubtedly figures brightly in the team’s long-term plans, but his 2016 role remains to be determined.
RB Zac Brooks: A seventh-round pick out of Clemson, Brooks was also limited during OTAs but saw more action in mini-camp. He’ll compete for a spot at tailback, called by offensive line coach Tom Cable as something of a combination of Prosise and Collins. Might be battling Christine Michael for the final tailback spot.