Seahawks' rookie receiver Doug Baldwin making his mark
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
RENTON – He was too small, too slow and deemed not athletic enough to be selected in this year’s draft.
But Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin used it as motivation, signing with Seattle as an undrafted rookie free agent.
And after four games, Baldwin has a hard-earned title: Seattle’s leading receiver.
Baldwin’s 12 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown put him at the top of the list, even ahead of 41-million-dollar man Sidney Rice.
More impressive, half of Baldwin’s 12 receptions have gone for first downs. Those six receptions for first downs have taken place on the all-important third down, with Baldwin tied for ninth in the league in those situations.
“Obviously, it means a lot,” Baldwin said about the passes thrown to him on third down. “I don’t know the statistics, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that. That’s good to hear. It’s nice to be targeted on third down, and that’s my job – get the first downs when we need them.”
Every NFL team got a look at the 5-foot-10, 189-pound receiver because of the person throwing to him at Stanford.
That was Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck, considered a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the next draft.
However, Seattle scout Eric Stokes and general manager John Schneider also did their homework on Baldwin, and saw him as a potential replacement for veteran receiver Brandon Stokley. The Seahawks liked Baldwin so much that they passed on bringing Stokley back
And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was familiar with Baldwin because of his time spent coaching at USC.
“John (Schneider) felt really strongly about him, and then I had background with him, too,” Carroll said. “So we kind of got psyched up about him and made it a priority in free agency to go get him. There were a lot of teams that wanted Doug.
He ran real well, had good times and all. But for whatever reason, just didn’t get picked up (in the draft). So we’re very fortunate in that. He’s been a great addition for us.”
One thing that impressed Seattle coaches is the toughness Baldwin has shown in making catches across the middle of the field, and his ability to read the soft spots in zones and run crisp, precise routes. Baldwin steadily moved up the depth chart during training camp, and now is playing ahead of Seattle’s second-round selection last year, Golden Tate, and the team’s fourth-round selection this year, Kris Durham.
“We had really high hopes for him exactly in the role that we’re playing him as it worked out in getting him here,” Carroll said. “He’s a really natural football player. He’s a really good special teams player as well, which tells you something.
“He has such a feel for the game in general. So he’s able to make sense of what we’re asking him and then he naturally kind of makes the right decisions, too, so he’s got a savvy that has helped him.
“He’s a real tough kid, too. His mindset is he’s a really hard-nosed, competitive kid with a chip on his shoulder – the way you like it. He’s been a really positive addition to the team. So we’re just going to keep going with him.”
KONZ MOVES UP
A day after Carroll said linebacker Matt McCoy would be out indefinitely with a knee sprain, the Seahawks placed him on season-ending injured reserve.
In his place, Seattle promoted linebacker Jameson Konz, the team’s seventh-round draft choice in 2010, from the practice squad and added him to the active roster.
Konz was initially drafted as a tight end, but switched to defensive end during training camp and ultimately wound up being used as a linebacker. Konz saw time as gunner on the punt team and also was used on kickoff coverage, and likely will be used in a similar manner this week.
The Seahawks also released fullback Eddie Williams from the active roster and made official the signing of linebacker David Vobora.
Tight end Fendi Onobun was released from the practice squad with an injury settlement, and the Seahawks added tight end John Nalbone.
Seattle still has an extra spot on the practice squad, so it could conceivably bring Williams back on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
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