In this edition of the mailbag we assess the possible impact of Seattle's rookies, and specifically the running backs.
Time for another round of Seahawks Twitter mailbag questions, this time focusing on rookies and undrafted free agents (and as always, you can send more my way at @bcondotta).
Q: @Likkks asks: Which rookie will have the biggest impact?
A: This is a great, and hard, question since there appear to be a lot of potential candidates. The Seahawks drafted 10 players and at the moment, I think seven are likely to make the final roster — OLs Germain Ifedi and Rees Odhiambo, DLs Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson, RBs C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins and TE Nick Vannett. You maybe could throw C Joey Hunt into that, as well, given the early buzz about him.
If seven or eight rookies make the final 53 it’d be the most since the memorable 2012 class (Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, etc.) when nine draft picks made the final 53-man roster coming out of training camp (all but LB Korey Toomer).
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The three 2016 draftees who appear set to make the greatest immediate impact may be Reed, the front-runner to step into Brandon Mebane’s former starting role at nose tackle; Ifedi, the front-runner for the starting right guard spot; and Prosise, who appears set to step right into the third-down, two-minute back role held last year by Fred Jackson.
If all of that happens, then measuring which one makes the biggest impact could be a case of which position one values the most. Prosise is probably in the best spot to make a significant statistical impact due to the position he plays.
But given how NFL ready he appears and how much the way the team defense is built depends on stout nose tackles on run downs — and that the team appears to be depending on Reed to pretty much fill that role from day one — I’ll go with Reed as the player whose impact from day one might be the greatest of any of the drafted rookies.
If Ifedi indeed wins the right guard spot and solidifies that, though, that ultimately might be the most important thing any of the 2016 rookies may do.
Q: @Hasselbeck75 asks: Who will have a bigger impact, C.J. Prosise or Alex Collins?
A: For the reasons stated above, for year one I’d go with Prosise. Prosise has a much-more clearly defined path for getting on the field immediately than does Collins, filling the third-down, two-minute back role.
Recall what coach Pete Carroll said of Prosise, who played two years of receiver at Notre Dame before switching to running back, at the endof rookie mini-camp: “As we go into (training) camp we’re going to see if we can situate him it the third down back position _ as well as playing first and second down _ but really emphasize that (the third-down role) and bring us something really special.”
Collins does not bring the same type of receiving pedigree to Seattle as does Prosise — 27 receptions in three years at Arkansas — so his way to get on the field as a rookie is most likely to serve as a complementary back to Thomas Rawls and/or Christine Michael on early downs. While all indications are that Rawls will be ready for the start of the season after suffering a broken left ankle last December, if he is slower to recover than anticipated or has a setback and the starting tailback job suddenly becomes more open than it appears now, then Collins will have a clearer path to getting on the field regularly. But given what we know now, Prosise is the more likely bet to have a significant role in year one.
Q: @Gregasaus14 asks: How’s Deshon Foxx looking?
A: The question is in regards to the 5-10,177-pound free agent WR from UConn who has been off and on the Seattle training camp and practice squad roster for a year now. That he’s hung around a while shows the team has some interest in him, and he had some good moments during the recently completed rookie mini-camp, typically working with the starting offensive unit.
But the competition at receiver is going to be pretty stiff this year, as also noted in the mailbag published earlier this week. Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson project as the top four receivers, with Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams and 2016 seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler likely next in line in that possible order heading into camp.
That leaves Foxx and three other WRs on the roster — Douglas McNeil, Antwan Goodley and Tyler Slavin — battling to try to move into legitimate consideration (the team also lists undrafted rookie FA Tanner McEvoy as a receiver but he played safety during the rookie mini-camp).
Foxx has some versatility to his game which has likely added to Seattle’s interest in him, having caught 73 passes at UConn while also rushing 40 times for 277 yards and handling punt returns there.
For the receivers after the first seven listed above, the most realistic objective may be to do enough to stay on the practice squad after the regular season roster is set and then be in position should needs at receiver arise due to injuries or whatever else.