Something seldom done during Tim Ruskell’s tenure but offered to us today is a chance to talk to the area scouts responsible for scouting the players the Seahawks selected in this year's draft.
Matt Barry, the area scout responsible for scouting Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, talked to us about the strengths of those players.
Barry mentioned Okung’s arm length, at 36 inches, and the fact that he stilled benched 225 pounds 38 times, which is pretty impressive for a guy with that long of arms.
Barry said the Seahawks also were impressed with how he played against Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle of Texas. In fact, Orakpo, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2009, recently spoke very highly of Okung just days before the draft.
“What sticks out on tape is how he finishes and how tough he is,” Barry said. “And then obviously the length and the play strength is really good. There’s some things he needs to clean up in his game, but when you start as many games consecutively (39) as he has in one of the bigger conferences, he sticks out. You’re going to see that the first time you see him in mini-camp.”
Barry went on to say that Okung was 250 pounds when he first arrive on the Oklahoma State campus and worked hard to make himself into the player he is. And Barry expects Okung to put forth the same type of effort to continue to improve in Seattle.
“He has the type of demeanor you want in an offensive lineman,” Barry said. “There’s not a lot of B.S. to him. He loves football. He competes. He works his tail off. All of those things are really attractive about him.
“He’s a low-maintenance guy in the locker room. He’s really going to fit well into the culture he (Pete Carroll) is trying to establish here.”
On Earl Thomas, Barry, who lives in Austin, Texas, said that Thomas was one of his favorite players he’s scouted.
“The first thing that sticks out about Earl on the field is how hard he practices,” Barry said. “And just the tempo he carries himself. Texas is sort of a different place. You walk out and there are athletes everywhere, and he sort of stuck out.”
Barry said what most impressed him about Thomas was his range and ability to make plays on the ball. Barry said Thomas had 32 passes defensed in 14 games last season, an impressive number.
“It’s not easy to do,” Barry said. “And you watch those teams and there all spread teams, so it’s not like he’s just going down the hashes a lot, so he can match up on the slot and play man, he can do a lot of things from that standpoint.
“He’s aggressive. He’s tough. And He’s a humble kid.”
Seahawks area scout Jason Barnes, responsible for scouting Notre Dame’s Golden Tate, was surprised that he was available at No. 60.
“He was sitting up there like a sore thumb on the board and we had to do it,” said Jason Barnes, the team’s area scout responsible for scouting the Notre Dame product. “It was obvious. He’s a good player and he brings a lot of versatility.”
Tate has been compared to Carolina’s Steve Smith because of his explosive ability after he catches the ball and ability to play bigger than his size.
However, Jason Barnes, the Seahawks scout responsible for scouting Tate, compared him to another physical NFL receiver – Hines Ward.
“A lot of people compare him to Hines Ward, which I can really see as far as his aggressive style of play, his strength and his feistiness” Barnes said. “So we compare him kind of to Hines.”