RENTON The Seahawks like to corner the market on players who carry chips on their shoulders.
Their first of two fifth-round picks Saturday has so many chips he could use more shoulders.
Quinton Jefferson is the fast, athletic, 6-foot-4, 291-pound defensive tackle Seattle selected with a fifth-round choice they acquired from New England Saturday morning. He is also a 23-year-old married father of three. He and his wife Nadia have a 5-year old (Zoey) and 21-month-old twins, Charleigh and Quinn.
“It’s a lot,” an elated Jefferson said, with one of his daughters cooing and babbling through the phone as he spoke from his family’s home in the Swissvale area of Pittsburgh.
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“I mean, I had to do a lot more than any other student-athlete.”
His degree from the University of Maryland is in family sciences. Of course it is.
Jefferson was considered one of Pennsylvania’s top defensive-end recruits out of Woodland Hills High School in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Then he broke his jaw in a fight. That derailed his college-scholarship plans. He had to grayshirt at the University of Maryland, delaying his entry by one football season. He spent that year humbled, working at a Best Buy in suburban Pittsburgh.
When he finally got to Maryland he played in nine games as a true freshman and started all 13 games for the Terripans in 2013. But four games into 2014 he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“I sat out almost a full year of football,” he said.
He came back and dominated last season. He was honorable mention All-Big Ten with 12 1/2 tackles for loss, 6 1/2 sacks even an interception and a blocked kick. Though he had one more year of athletic eligibility left because of the grayshirt, he had already earned his degree and decided it was time to turn pro and earn some money for those three kids.
Saturday morning, the Seahawks made his dreams come true, his perseverence pay off. They traded a seventh-round choice later Saturday (225th overall, acquired previously from Dallas) and a fourth-round pick in 2017 to New England for the Patriots’ 147th-overall choice early in Saturday’s round five and New England’s 243rd-overall choice in Saturday’s seventh round. And they made dad their newest defensive tackle with quick, pass-rush moves and plenty of reasons to be motivated.
“Today goes to show you that you can do anything,” Jefferson said.
“It’s paid off. It’s amazing.”
At the end of round five, as 171st overall with a compensatory pick, Seattle selected Arkansas running back Alex Collins.