Seahawks’ brass raved about the speed of fifth round selection, tight end Luke Willson when the team drafted him two weeks ago.
And the 6-5, 252-pound tight end put that trademark speed on display in Friday’s practice at the VMAC this afternoon.
During team drills, Willson took a shallow out route, turned up the sidelines and beat the safety down the field for a big gain.
Wilson also corralled a nice grab on a corner route while lined up in the slot. He dropped an easy pass on a hook route during 7-on-7, and appeared to struggle run blocking as an in-line tight end during team drills.
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But overall, Willson was one of the most impressive players on the field during the first day of camp.
“He jumped out today,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “Luke had a very good first day for us. He had a couple good opportunities. He got the ball on the sidelines, and he got to turn it up and took off. He has really good speed, and it showed up, which was really cool to see that on the practice field the first day out. He caught the ball really well.”
Fifth round selection cornerback Tharold Simon played right cornerback with the first unit, although he appeared to get dinged up midway through practice and watched the rest of the way.
Carroll said he did not get a report from the training staff that Simon was injured.
Carroll said that he liked the way fourth round selection receiver Chris Harper caught the ball during practice.
“He really has great hands,” Carroll said. “And that’s what we’ve seen. And the fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we like, although you couldn’t judge much of that today. But he did catch the ball very well, and he’s a very natural athlete.”
We had a surprise visitor at the VMAC -- or I should say at the shores of the VMAC. Richard Sherman stopped by to watch practice – making a grand appearance in the only way he knows how – by jet ski.
Sherman hung out for at least a half hour, talking with some fans that pulled up boats to get a glimpse of practice from Lake Washington.
“Was that Sherm? Cool,” Carroll said. “I was surprised there wasn’t more guys. You might not have noticed, but I think Russell (Wilson) was up in the hill over there peeking over the top wanting to see what was going on.”
Carroll said he was pleased with the quickness second round pick running back Christine Michael showed getting through the hole, and making plays out in the open field.
Along with Willson, Harper and Michael, other players who stood out according to Carroll include sixth round selection Spencer Ware – who played both running back and fullback.
Although Ware needs to gain more weight – he came in at 5-10 and 218 pounds.
Carroll said that Ware will continue to play both tailback and fullback.
“He’s an exciting football player,” Carroll said. “When you guys get a chance to see him, and you see him in preseason and he starts to get physical, he’s going to show up. He’s very, very tough.
“It might take some time to make the transition, but we’re going to let him run throughout though, so he is ready to run the football for us, too.”
Carroll also said that seventh round selection Ryan Seymour showed quickness and good feet working at right guard. Michael Bowie also showed potential working at right tackle according to Carroll.
In somewhat a surprise, the Seahawks had converted defensive tackle Jared Smith working with the first unit at center today.
“We put him right there from the start to take a look and see if we can utilize his quickness,” Carroll said. “He’s really quick for the offensive side of the ball. And he’s got to learn a lot anyway, so let’s make him snap it and everything.
“He did just fine today for the first time out.”
And both defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams looked solid today. Hill worked at nose guard, while Williams worked at 3-tech.
“I was really pleased with Jesse and Jordan,” Carroll said. “I watched them down here in the individual drills.”
Carroll said that Greg Scruggs suffered his ACL knee tear during an agility drills weaving through bags.
“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill,” Carroll said. “He was going over the bags, and he stumbled a little bit and tried to catch himself and hyper-extended is knee – kind of similar to how James Carpenter got hurt.
“It was just a drill by himself. So it’s very unfortunate that he hit exactly wrong. The surgery went really well. Everybody’s happy with what happened on the repair. And he’s responded well.”
Carroll said it’s too early to rule Scruggs out for the year.