After a year’s hiatus, the Seahawks will again hold a rookie minicamp this weekend.
But continuing COVID-19 restrictions means it won’t look quite like those of seasons past.
The restrictions mean NFL teams can invite only five tryout players instead of the dozens of years past. They can also have five “qualifying veterans’’ join the group — essentially, players who are not rookies but who have little other NFL experience.
Those players can join a team’s draft picks and signed undrafted free agents for three days of workouts Friday through Sunday.
Seattle has three draft picks and 12 reported UDFAs. As of Thursday afternoon, the Seahawks had not announced their signings.
So that means the Seahawks will likely have about 25 players take part in workouts this weekend, instead of the 70 or so of years past. The first workout is Friday afternoon.
And that means there likely won’t be 11-on-11 drills but rather more individual position and small group works. (Rookie minicamps are noncontact at all times, anyway.)
Still, the minicamp will be the first chance for the Seahawks to get an up-close look at their three draft picks — second-round receiver D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan, fourth-round cornerback Tre Brown of Oklahoma and sixth-round offensive tackle Stone Forsythe of Florida. (And also, the presumed revealing of their jersey numbers, which was still a mystery as of Thursday.)
It’s also thought that 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor, a defensive end, will take part. He is eligible after not playing last season while rehabbing from surgery to repair a shin injury suffered during the 2019 season at Tennessee.
The camp is technically voluntary, and the NFL Players Association has been urging rookies not to take part in the in-person workouts due to COVID-19 concerns. The NFLPA is also recommending veterans not to attend voluntary in-person workouts that are part of the league’s offseason program, and the Seahawks players are among the teams who have released a statement saying players will not participate in voluntary on-field drills.
But rookies have been attending minicamps — No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson took part in the Jets’ minicamp last week as did first-round pick Kwity Paye with the Colts, and the general expectation around the league is that there will be close to full attendance — if not 100% — this weekend when the rest of the teams hold rookie camps.
The Seahawks provided proof that their top two picks — Eskridge and Brown — will take part, tweeting out short videos of each in town Thursday afternoon.
In the video the team tweeted out of Brown he was shown on Lake Washington saying he is “excited, getting prepped for rookie minicamp. Can’t wait to show what I can do. Excited. Let’s work.”
The 12 undrafted free agents Seattle has reportedly agreed to terms with are receivers Tamorrion Terry of Florida State, Connor Wedington of Stanford and Cade Johnson of South Dakota State; running backs B.J. Emmons of Florida Atlantic and Josh Johnson of Louisiana-Monroe; cornerback Bryan Mills of North Carolina Central; offensive linemen Pier-Olivier Lestage of the University of Montreal, Jared Hocker of Texas A&M, Greg Eiland of Mississippi State and Jake Curhan of Cal; linebacker Jon Rhattigan of Army; and defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt of Virginia Tech.
Seattle was also recently assigned linebacker Aaron Donkor as part of the league’s international pathway program. A native of Germany, Donkor played at Arkansas State and is listed as a rookie.
And the Seahawks on Thursday announced they had signed four veteran free agents who have eligibility for the camp — safety Joshua Moon, defensive tackle Walter Palmore, defensive end Marcus Webb and safety LaDarius Wiley.
Webb was initially signed by Seattle last year as an undrafted free agent out of Troy but was waived in August.
Moon, out of Georgia Southern, was a UDFA with Jacksonville in 2019 but was released before the season. Palmore, out of Missouri, has been with Houston and Dallas but without playing in an NFL game, and also played in the XFL.
Wiley, out of Vanderbilt, was in camp with the Titans in 2019 but also has not played in an NFL game.
Once the rookie minicamp ends Sunday, the focus will turn to the veterans. The Seahawks are scheduled to hold 10 Organized Team Activities beginning May 24. But the OTAs are voluntary, and it’s unclear who will show up. Seattle’s mandatory minicamp is June 15-17. In their statement released through the NFLPA, Seahawks players said “our hope is that we will see a positive shift in the COVID-19 data that will allow for a safe return for players when mandatory workouts are set to begin.”