You had to wait until the end to see it — and for once, the end of a Seahawks game was uneventful, featuring three Russell Wilson kneel-downs.
But as Wilson and the offense took the field to run out the clock on a 37-27 victory over the 49ers with three peaceful kneel-downs, so did rookie tight end Colby Parkinson, part of a five tight-end formation the team used for its three final plays.
The snaps were the first of Parkinson’s NFL career, and he became the seventh member of Seattle’s eight-player rookie class to play in the game, as well as for this season.
Both Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan made their NFL debuts Sunday against the 49ers.
The other five members of the rookie class who played in the game all started — receiver Freddie Swain (on the field for the first play and credited as a starter), running back DeeJay Dallas, right guard Damien Lewis, weakside linebacker Jordyn Brooks and defensive end Alton Robinson.
Unofficially, it’s believed to be the first time in the Pete Carroll era that five rookies have started a game.
Last year Seattle had only four members of its draft class start as much as one game all year (DK Metcalf, Cody Barton, Marquise Blair and Travis Homer).
Swain’s start might have been more of a formation thing, but the other four were starters in name and snaps. Lewis played 68 snaps, Dallas 54, Robinson 49 and Brooks 35.
The seven rookies combined to play 250 snaps, score two touchdowns and make eight tackles with one sack.
The only member of the rookie draft class not to take part was second-round choice Darrell Taylor, who remains on the non-football injury list while recovering from leg surgery, with it unclear if or when he will return this season.
But the other seven could keep factoring into Seattle’s plans the rest of the season, giving the Seahawks the kind of mid- to late-season boost from rookies that became a trademark of the early years of the Carroll-John Schneider era.
Here’s a review of what each rookie did Sunday, in order of draft standing, and what their role could be going forward.
Jordyn Brooks: Brooks got his third start and played 50% of the available defensive snaps, which was a career high. He was playing the weakside linebacker spot in the base defense, then coming off the field in the nickel, when K.J. Wright moves to WLB from the strongside spot. Figure that to be Brooks’ role the rest of the season.
Damien Lewis: Lewis, a third-round choice out of LSU, has started every game this season — the only Seahawks rookie to do so — though he missed most of the Dallas game because of an ankle injury. Pro Football Focus last week ranked Lewis as the NFL’s ninth-best rookie this season, stating he had “produced an 86.5 run-block grade for the season, ranking fourth among qualifying guards.” Could be Seattle’s right guard for years.
Colby Parkinson: A fourth-round choice from Stanford, the Seahawks activated Parkinson off the NFI list Saturday. Seattle had five tight ends active Sunday. That didn’t last long, as it was reported that the team will release Luke Willson on Tuesday, meaning Parkinson — who missed the first six games after being on the NFI list because of a broken foot — will have a steady role.
DeeJay Dallas: Dallas, a fourth-rounder out of Miami, got his first NFL start Sunday with Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Homer all injured. His numbers weren’t spectacular (41 yards on 18 carries), but he scored two touchdowns. “I’m not surprised a bit that he handled this, because he hasn’t appeared at any time like anything’s too big for him,” Carroll said Monday. “But this was such a big role you know it could have made a difference, but it didn’t.” Seattle could have a logjam at running back if everyone gets healthy and Rashaad Penny returns. But Dallas also looks like a long-term keeper.
Alton Robinson: Against Arizona, Robinson — a fifth-round selection out of Syracuse — got just seven snaps while Seattle gave 40 to Shaquem Griffin, most as an edge rusher, thinking his speed would be a good matchup against Kyler Murray. On Sunday those numbers flipped, with Robinson starting at the LEO spot in place of the injured Benson Mayowa and getting a career-high 49 snaps. Griffin didn’t play on defense and got only four special-teams snaps. Robinson finished with three tackles and a sack and drew about the highest praise possible from Carroll on Monday. “He did a beautiful job,” Carroll said. “He played against the most accomplished edge blockers in (49ers tight end George Kittle and fullback Kyle Juszczyk), and he handled himself really well. He was disruptive. He was tough. He did not have any physical issues that he couldn’t handle. I love the way he played.” Figure Robinson to have earned a steady role in the rotation.
Freddie Swain: Swain, a sixth-rounder out of Florida, played 19 snaps Sunday and didn’t have a catch or a target (though with Metcalf running roughshod through things and getting 15 of Russell Wilson’s 36 targets, there wasn’t a lot left). But Swain has proven dependable, playing 12 or more snaps in every game (and six or more on special teams) with seven receptions on nine targets for 97 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 156.8 when targeted (a perfect rating is 158.3).
Stephen Sullivan: And finally, maybe the best story of the rookies. A seventh-round pick out of LSU, Sullivan was mostly a receiver in college making a transition to tight end fully as a pro, and then asked by the Seahawks a few weeks ago to try his hand at defensive end. The Seahawks never figured he’d be needed this early. But an injury to Benson Mayowa and Carlos Dunlap not yet being available led to a shortage at the rush-end spot and the need for Sullivan, who was elevated off the practice squad Saturday and then saw 22 snaps against the 49ers, getting an assisted tackle on his first play. Sullivan also was credited by Pro Football Focus with a hurry on one of his 18 pass-rush snaps. Carroll said Monday that Sullivan “missed some assignments,” which makes sense given how new he is to the position. The expected return this week of Mayowa and the addition of Dunlap (and the return of Rasheem Green at the other end spot) means Sullivan might not be active this week — and he might again return to tight end eventually. But if nothing else, he’s won a lot of people over with his willingness to switch spots and ability to do it well enough to play credibly in his first time out.