With Seattle selecting nine players on the final day of the draft, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll understands it will be tough for his team’s latest addition to carve out spots on an already-talent roster that made a deep playoff run last season.
“The whole idea is to make this roster as competitive as possible,” Carroll said. “And so that means it’s hard for theses guys to make it. But also, the quality of guys we were able to draft and attract here in free agency makes it hard for the guys to keep their jobs. And that’s just understood. That’s part of the makeup of being here with the Seahawks.”
Carroll said that fifth-round pick defensive tackle Jesse Williams will compete for time as an early down run stuffer, the role Alan Branch held down for two years.
“He’s really an intense, jumps off the ball and is strong,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “I think he benches 600-something pounds. He’s a guy who will really fill a specific role for us. Just his strength, his movement down the line of scrimmage and his ability to compress the pocket really is an intriguing thing for us.”
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The expectation is that fourth round draft choice receiver Chris Harper will be an outside receiver for Seattle who will compete for time at split end, Carroll said.
“We don’t see him as a slot guy,” Carroll said. “We see him as an outside receiver. He’s got some real special qualities that we’ll learn and make use of. But we’ll see him mostly at X (receiver).”
Sixth-round draft choice Spencer Ware will be groomed as fullback who can play some running back, Carroll said.
“That flexibility was exciting for us,” Carroll said. “And he’s such a tough guy. We really liked his nature, and the way he brings it. And we expect him to fit into a number of different areas, special teams as well.”
Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson is schedule to make $2.5 million in base salary, so Ware could be a cheaper alternative for Seattle if he shows that he can play at a similar level.
Also, Seattle likely will run less two backs sets this year with Percy Harvin in the fold.
Schneider said Luke Willson was the second-highest tester among tight ends in this year’s draft. Carroll said Willson will be groomed as both an in-line tight end and a guy who can line up outside the defense and threaten the middle of the field with his speed.
Carroll also indicated that seventh round selection Jared Smith will convert to offensive guard from defensive tackle, just like J.R. Sweezy did last season. Carroll said that offensive line coach Tom Cable worked Smith out last week.
“So we’re excited about his upside from an athletic standpoint. He’s in a very similar mode as Sweezy.”
Schneider said that Russell Okung helped recruit Michael Bowie to Oklahoma State, giving Seattle a certain comfort level with the pick. Bowie will get a look at right tackle.
Bowie had to transfer from Oklahoma State to Northeastern State because he was dismissed from the team for violating team rules, according to Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.
He’s a guy who was picked where he was picked for a reason,” Schneider said. “He’s had a little bit of a background. And he needs to overcome those things. And if he overcomes them, he has a good chance to be an excellent pro.”
Seventh-round pick Ryan Seymour is a versatile offensive lineman who will start out at offensive guard.
Malcolm smith leads competition at OLB
Carroll said the Malcolm Smith will get the first opportunity to earn the starting outside linebacker spot left open by Leroy Hill not coming back.
However, Carroll said that the similar nature of the Leo and SAM outside linebacker position gives Seattle some flexibility. That’s one of the reasons Seattle did not draft an outside linebacker prospect until the seventh round with Ty Powell.
“He’s the guy who has the lead shot at the Will spot,” Carroll said. “But we’re moving some things around to make sure we utilize everybody well. You’ll see how that works out coming out of camp.”
Carroll said because of the versatility of Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin, defensively the Seahawks can return to some of the schemes he used in college when he had Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews.
Tate the punt returner
Carroll said that Golden Tate will get the first crack at the punt return job left vacant when the team released Leon Washington, who later signed with New England.
New addition Christine Michael also will get a shot at the job, Carroll said.
Tate has 16 career punt returns for 202 yards, including a long of 63 yards.
Longtime scout Derrick Jensen retires
Derrick Jensen, an area scout for the Seahawks for 22 years, made the last two picks of the draft for the Seahawks by speaker phone.
Jensen, who suffers from ALS, retired in December. A third-round draft choice by the Oakland Raiders in 1978, Jensen played seven years in the NFL.
Jensen also celebrated his birthday today.
“We had a really cool moment where we got him on the speaker phone, and he actually made the last two picks for us,” an emotional Schneider said. “He joked around with us while he was doing it. He’s still doing great.”
Added Carroll: “We were just lucky to have a chance to celebrate with him today.”