When the newest Seahawks take the field at the VMAC for the team’s annual rookie mini-camp Friday-Sunday, three players who weren’t drafted might end up stealing the show: quarterbacks Trevone Boykin, Jake Heaps and Vernon Adams.
Draft picks tend to be the star attractions when NFL teams hold their rookie minicamps.
But when the newest Seahawks take the field at the VMAC for the team’s annual rookie minicamp Friday-Sunday, three players who weren’t drafted might end up stealing the show.
That all are quarterbacks, a position that often draws the most attention, is one reason. That all arrive with particularly intriguing back stories is another.
Two were signed as free agents and at the moment are officially part of Seattle’s 90-man roster :
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• Former TCU star Trevone Boykin, who was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate until a late-season fade. He also was charged with assault on a public servant two days before the Alamo Bowl, which got him suspended for the game;
• And former Skyline High standout Jake Heaps, who was signed on Monday and hopes to jump-start his career following some disappointing college years.
Another is expected to attend on a tryout basis, former Oregon and Eastern Washington standout Vernon Adams, who went undrafted despite leading the nation in 2015 in passing efficiency.
At the moment, those are the only three quarterbacks either on the Seattle roster or potentially on it other than Russell Wilson, with veteran Tarvaris Jackson still undecided about accepting an offer from the Seahawks to return for a fourth season as a backup.
“That’s an option for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Jackson after the draft. “We’ll just wait and see how it works out.”
Given how things have gone the past two years, with Jackson re-signing to one-year deals, the odds are it could work out again.
But if it doesn’t, then one of the three QBs at minicamp this week could well be the proverbial snap away from leading the Seahawks’ offense.
Boykin and Adams each arrive hoping to begin proving teams made a mistake in passing them up in the draft.
Boykin is one of just eight quarterbacks in college football history with more than 10,000 yards passing (10,728) and 1,500 rushing (2,049).
But even before his legal issues, Boykin was considered an iffy draft prospect due to his height (officially 6 feet) and questions about how his game would translate to the NFL after playing in a spread offense in college.
There was a thought that Boykin could make a switch to receiver, a position he also played early in his career at TCU (he caught 28 passes for 257 yards). But then he ran a 4.77 40 at the NFL combine in February.
“The opportunity to be a receiver once he ran that 40 was slight,’’ said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
But he intrigued the Seahawks enough that they gave him a reported $15,000 bonus to sign, on the high end of amounts typically given to UDFAs.
Adams, meanwhile, is coming as a tryout player, meaning he is not under contract with Seattle. All rookie minicamps typically feature several dozen or so players trying out, some of whom will later sign contracts (Kasen Williams was a tryout player at Seattle’s minicamp last year and later signed).
But few typically come with the pedigree of Adams, who was one of 18 quarterbacks invited to the NFL combine in February — and the only one not to be drafted (14) or signed as an undrafted free agent.
The knocks on Adams were largely the same as those on Boykin — his height (he measured just under 5-11 at the combine) and playing in a non-NFL system.
Kiper also notes that “there were some pretty good quarterbacks who were rated ahead of him who dropped to the later rounds. Had they not dropped then maybe Vernon Adams could have been taken.”
Adams is also scheduled to try out for Washington next week but could conceivably sign with Seattle if he has a good tryout with the Seahawks.
Kiper and fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay this week each noted that if there’s a place where undersized quarterbacks such as Boykin and Adams could have success it would be in Seattle.
Said Kiper: “Why not have kind of a poor man’s Russell Wilson operate behind Russell Wilson and understand how he goes about his business? If they should see a little bit of that in Vernon Adams then maybe he has a chance to make the team.”
Added McShay: “I think it’s a long shot that (Adams) winds up hanging around for a long time in the league. But if there was one place, or one of just a handful of places, Seattle would be one of the places because he’s going to learn from the guy who has done it the best in terms of (having success) as an undersized, shorter quarterback.”
• While the Seahawks have yet to announce signings of draft picks, various reports indicated that second-round DT Jarran Reed, third-round OL Rees Odhiambo and fifth-round RB Alex Collins have signed. The years and salaries are slotted via the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement and the signing of rookie contracts is mostly a formality with only minor details up for negotiation (such as the timing and order of when predetermined bonuses will be paid). Draft picks can participate in rookie minicamps without having signed contracts.