Seahawks rookie Tyvis Powell made a big impression on Seattle coach Pete Carroll with his play Saturday at Kansas City. but whether he can play both safety and corner well will likely determine how long he'll hang around.
The Seahawks haven’t exactly lacked for rookie players making quick impressions since Pete Carroll became head coach in 2010 (Russell Wilson, anyone?)
So it says something when Carroll says something like he did Monday about defensive back Tyvis Powell’s performance Saturday at Kansas City.
“I don’t remember a first year guy having a first game that was that obvious like that,’’ Carroll said of the undrafted rookie free agent from Ohio State. “It was very impressive.”
As Carroll recounted “he makes a great play on kickoff coverage on the 12, he has a fantastic and just classic block on the punt return. The ball that he almost kept out of the end zone (on another punt) was an extraordinary play, too, just to make that play. And he has a pick (interception).’’
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Carroll’s only lament was that Powell stumbled or he might have scored on the interception, which came in the fourth quarter on a tipped pass.
Powell said he tried to “play with a lot of passion and pride. I made some plays but I just want to keep it going.’’
Indeed, the test now for Powell — as for the other rookies who had solid games Saturday such as quarterback Trevone Boykin and receiver Tanner McEvoy — will be to show they are more than one-shot wonders.
Powell, though, says keeping motivated won’t be an issue. Instead, he’s determined to show that everyone made a mistake in not drafting him in the first place.
Powell was one of the defensive leaders for the Buckeyes the last three years, including earning defensive MVP honors when Ohio State beat Oregon for the national title following the 2014 season. Having already earned a degree, he decided to leave early for the NFL after the 2015 season, bypassing his last year of eligibility.
Figured by many experts to be at least a mid-to-late round pick, he instead went unselected.
“It was a huge wakeup call,’’ he said after practice Monday. “But there’s a lot of players that didn’t get drafted that went on to have great careers, so it’s definitely something I keep I my mind that there are 32 teams that didn’t have enough faith in me to draft me. So I try to go out there every day and try to prove why I should have been drafted.’’
Powell said he “never did get an answer’’ to why he went undrafted but says he no longer cares. “Now it’s just about the Seahawks have blessed me with this opportunity,’’ he said.
In a series of stories on prominent players who did not get selected, WalterFootball.com wrote that: “Sources say that, on his tape, he didn’t run or cover well. He also wasn’t a thumper in the ground game. They say that Powell is a big safety with some fluidity, but no burst or range on tape.’’
The Seahawks, though, early on had Powell listed as a priority to sign as a free agent.
“They definitely called me a lot,’’ Powell said. “My phone was definitely buzzing with them on it.’’ Powell had other offers but said he liked Seattle’s history of having a number of free agents make the team as well as the tradition of success in the secondary.
Seattle was intrigued by Powell’s size — he’s listed now at 6-3, 211 — as well as a thought that he could play both corner and safety.
“He’s certainly physically capable of doing that,’’ Carroll said. “He’s really fast, he’s really tall and long, he’s really coordinated and comfortable with the movements and stuff, he has good hand-eye stuff. It takes longer to learn our system at safety, physically it takes a long time to figure out the corner stuff, but he’s going to be going back and forth.
“We’re going to try to do the same format that we did with DeShawn Shead and see what happens. It makes him more valuable to us, it makes his spot on the roster more available, and with what he did on special teams, that’s the right idea I think if we stay with that.”
Powell said playing two positions — and as many special teams as the team desires — is fine with him.
“Whatever it’s going to take me to make this 53-man roster is what I’ll do,’’ he said. “I don’t care if they say ‘Tyvis we need you to get the water for everybody, I’m going to be the best water boy in America.’’’