The Seahawks officially announced that running back Tyrell Sutton has been signed to a futures contract. The news had been reported earlier but this is the first that the team has acknowledged it. Futures contracts are akin to an offseason 'practice squad' and at times these players make the final 53-man roster - CB Brandon Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl this season, and T/G Paul McQuistan, a major contributor on the offensive line this year, were both signed to futures contracts by John Schneider and the Seahawks last season.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com gives a short scouting report on Sutton:
Sutton, 25, played at Northwestern and then was signed by the Packers after not being selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. The Packers released Sutton on the final cut, with the intention of signing him to their practice squad. But the Panthers swooped in and grabbed him. He was with Carolina until last September, when the Panthers released him.
Although only 5 feet 8, Sutton is an instinctive runner and at 211 pounds has the strength and toughness to run between the tackles. He played in 16 games in two seasons for the Panthers, making his only start at fullback in 2009, and can contribute on special teams as a kickoff returner and coverage man. Playing behind Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, Sutton averaged 5.6 yards on 25 carries. He also caught 18 passes and graded out well in pass protection.
Here's what NFLDraftScout.com had to say about Sutton as he came out of Northwestern.
Positives: Very tough, productive back when healthy. Low center of gravity, bouncing and spinning off tacklers to maintain his balance. Runs tougher than you'd expect for his size, lowering his pads or shoulder and churning his legs between the tackles and making extra yardage after the catch. Aggressive blocker who likes to hit blitzers and twisting defensive ends with a shoulder. Excellent receiver, looks natural catching the ball out of the backfield on screens, wheel, jerk and circle routes.
Negatives: Has improved his overall build over the years but is still a bit undersized. Usually runs out of a spread offense but showed he can follow a fullback on occasion. More quick than fast, Sutton does not have breakaway speed in the open field. Lacks great foot speed, and takes time to change direction or make a cut. Not a short-yardage back. Whiffs on blocks in the backfield and does not have the size and strength to sustain. His cut blocks in pass protection are not very effective. Durability in question after missing significant time the past two seasons, although he showed toughness returning for (and playing well in) the 2008 Alamo Bowl.
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