With the Seahawks Rookie Mini-camp in the rearview, the rookies that survived the meat grinder known as Seahawks' roster churn are now allowed to join the rest of the team in the offseason workout/practice program to further acclimate themselves to the pro lifestyle. For veterans, it's their chance to size up and get to know the players they'll ultimately be fighting off for playing time. The competition mantra is alive and well at VMAC this summer, and according to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com, there was great turnout for the voluntary workouts.
Nine of the Hawks' ten draft picks showed up to the VMAC Monday to hone their skills - the 15th pick in the Draft, defensive end Bruce Irvin, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Robert Turbin, linebacker Korey Toomer, cornerback Jeremy Lane, Winston Guy, guard J.R. Sweezy and defensive end Greg Scruggs were in attendance, as well as six of the ten undrafted free agent rookies the team signed directly after the draft. This group included wide receiver Phil Bates, tight end Sean McGrath, defensive back DeShawn Shead, guard Rishaw Johnson, defensive end Cordarro Law and kicker Carson Wiggs.
A large majority of the Seahawks' draft picks will likely make the final 53-man roster, with odds going down slightly for late-round picks. For the undrafted free agents though, the chances of making the team are much smaller. Take WR Phil Bates, for example. He'll be looking to unseat Seahawk staples for the past few seasons in Ben Obomanu, Deon Butler, and Mike Williams. He'll have major competition from Kris Durham and up and coming talent Ricardo Lockette, and Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin won't cede their roster spots without a fight. That's not even mentioning Sidney Rice, and we shouldn't forget players signed to the practice squad over the summer - Charly Martin and Isaiah Williams. It's unclear at the moment if Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei impressed enough at the Rookie Mini-camp to earn a spot with the team going forward (they were notably absent yesterday, though I haven't seen official word yet from the team), but a guy like Phil Bates is thrown into a group of 13 receivers whose numbers will need to be whittled down to six or seven by the end of the preseason. Making the final roster will be very difficult, but we all saw what Doug Baldwin was able to achieve last year as an undrafted free agent rookie so anything is possible.
Defensive Back Deshawn Shead, who sat out the rookie camp with a prior injury, is another player that has great potential, but is stuck smack-dab in the middle of a very competitive defensive backs group. The Hawks already possess probably the best defensive secondary in the NFL with Pro Bowlers in Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner plus up-and-comer Richard Sherman and solid, albeit injured core player Walter Thurmond. Add in veterans like Marcus Trufant and Roy Lewis, and your group gets a little deeper. A trio of sixth round picks, one from 2011 and two from 2012, - Byron Maxwell, Winston Guy and Jeremy Lane - add some great competition to the group. You can't discount players like Chris Maragos, Ron Parker, Jeron Johnson, Philip Adams, Coye Francies, and recently signed Donny Lisowski, who impressed the Seahawks' coaching staff enough during their three-day Mini-Camp enough to earn himself a contract as a street free agent.
The defensive backs group sits at 17 players and will likely be pared down to nine or ten come preseason week four. This Seahawks' task will be a tough one. Overall though, a great situation to be in, and a great problem to have. The depth on the team is thus that even draft picks will have to fight for a roster spot, and that's exactly the type of atmosphere Pete Carroll and John Schneider have tried to create.
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