Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson already knows a thing or two about the team’s defensive scheme, having played for defensive line coach Todd Wash in Tampa Bay two years ago.
Wilkerson played last season in New Orleans.
The Seahawks like the versatility of the 6-foot-2, 270-pound 30-year-old, and he flashed his pass-rush skills against San Diego on Thursday with a sack in the first half.
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Seattle likes Wilkerson’s ability to play both defensive end and defensive tackle.
“I’m getting pretty comfortable with it,” Wilkerson said about the change of scenery. “The system is just like the system I was in down in Tampa. The terminology is just a little different, but I think I’ve caught on pretty good.
“I feel confident in knowing what to do when the coaches throw me in. It’s a learning process, but it’s going a lot faster than I expected.”
So have you always been a guy who can play all over the defensive line?
“That’s what I’ve been doing since my days in Kansas City,” Wilkerson said. “So Coach Wash, Gus (defensive coordinator Gus Bradley), Coach (Pete) Carroll, they all know what I can do on the inside, and what I can bring on third down. So it’s a very comfortable spot for me, going from defensive end to defensive tackle.”
Wilkerson played for New Orleans in the NFC wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks last year, so he got a first-hand look at what it’s like to play in the noisy atmosphere at CenturyLink Field.
“It played a big factor (in) my decision,” he said. “When we were here in the playoff game, the way the fans get around the guys, there were no boos in the game, and we see that all around the league.
“And when I was taking my visit here, I was getting texts from a bunch of fans here, and calls from a bunch of fans, tweets from a bunch of fans. So they really opened their arms to me, and I’m glad I’m here.”
A heated competition
One of 18 defensive linemen on the roster, Wilkerson is in the midst of a heated competition for roughly half that many spots on the final 53-man roster.
“Any time where you have a lot of competition in training camp, it’s going to make you better, and at the same time it’s going to make the team better,” Wilkerson said. “So I embrace the competition, and like all of the guys say, may the best man win.”
Comfy in Seattle
Wilkerson said because of his familiarity with Wash along with Carroll and the role Seattle had slotted for him, he thought the Seahawks offered the best fit for his family in free agency.
“We wanted to go somewhere where we were going to be comfortable,” Wilkerson said. “Where we were going to fit in right away, and I think this team is a perfect spot for me, and a perfect spot for my abilities to be shown out there on the field. So I’m just glad that we got the deal done and I’m here.”