RENTON -- The refrain of “next man up” has gotten as redundant as some of the songs endlessly played at Seahawks training camp. An empidemic of hamstring injuries has decimated the corps of running backs and wide receivers, and other issues have struck the defensive line, as well.
What all this has done, though, is forced the Seahawks staff to get a little creative with manpower heading into the first preseason game Saturday at Kansas City. Instead of making this game more of a yawner, it’s added some opportunities for players who might be able to do something with them.
Some may flash and disappear. With Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin out in the last preseason opener, undrafted back Thomas Rawls got in and made a 19-yard touchdown catch. Yeah, whatever happened to Rawls?
With all three drafted running backs fighting injuries, the Hawks this week moved George Farmer from the secondary into the offensive backfield, and he quickly showed a knack for catching the ball. Farmer was considered a top prep receiver in the nation in high school. He was 10.4 100-meter sprinter and had been teammates with current Seahawk receiver Paul Richardson as well as USC stars Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills) and Marqise Lee (Jacksonville).
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Farmer had less of a career at USC, though, where he had a couple knee injuries and ended up with just 30 career catches. He went undrafted and ended up with the Seahawks practice squad last year after being waived by Dallas.
On his second day in the offensive backfield, he caught three passes in team sessions and scored a touchdown in Red Zone drills. It was the sort of performance they had expected to see out of drafted back C.J. Prosise, who has been down with a hamstring.
At wide receiver, with Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith out with hamsstrings, and Doug Baldwin sidelined with a calf injury, the Seahawks moved undrafted rookie Tanner McEvoy from safety to wide receiver.
McEvoy has looked surprisingly smooth and sure-handed for a 6-6 converted safety. McEvoy started at South Carolina but transferred after what has been reported as charges of speeding and driving after underage drinking. At Arizona Western, he played quarterback, and then transferred to Wisconsin, where he played safety, quarterback and wide receiver.
Other than tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks don’t have a regular receiver with that kind of size. McEvoy could make a nightmare matchup for defenses inside the Red Zone.
On the defensive side, drafted rookies Jarran Reed (hurt ankle Wednesday) and Quinton Jefferson (hamstring) could be sidelined and open the way for undrafted Brandin Bryant, from Florida Atlantic, who has been one of the surprises of camp.