Now comes the time where Pete Carroll gets hold of all those low-round draft picks and attempts to straighten out all their question marks into exclamation points.
Or, if you’re not into terminal punctuation metaphors, let’s say he’s tasked with awakening the sleepers in this year’s rookie crop.
That kind of magical transformation has happened around here enough that it’s not just the stuff of ancient lore and fairy tales.
(“Dad, just once more before bedtime, tell me again how Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor became Seahawks?”)
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It’s been a while since the Hawks hit the big lotto with a low-round pick, but the Thomas Rawls pickup as an undrafted free agent in ’15 looked pretty good when he led the NFL in yards-per-carry average as a rookie.
Doug Baldwin, of course, ended up a Pro Bowl receiver after having been a UDFA in 2011, and Malcolm Smith, a seventh-rounder in that draft, was named the MVP of Super Bowl 48.
The 11 draft picks and invited rookies can range from flashing great potential to flaming out entirely when they take the field at the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp May 12-14.
During the draft, the Hawks once again stayed true to their annual directive of finding players who are fast and physical.
Some of them have great stories, and personal histories that should inspire and motivate them.
Here’s two from this year’s crop I think will be particularly interesting, and might turn into the next surprising Seahawk.
Carroll’s comments about the two gave away the fact that he was personally intrigued by their prospects.
The first was seventh-round running back Chris Carson from Oklahoma State. He’s 6-0, 218 pounds and reputedly built like a gladiator.
Carroll revealed that Carson was somebody he dug up late in the process, and fell in love with when he saw the way he “finished” runs on film. The comments were almost identical to what he said about Rawls two drafts ago.
“I really love this guy because he is so physical and tough the way he ran,” Carroll said of Carson. “You haven’t heard a whole lot about him. He hasn’t run the ball a lot, but when he did, to me, he made a great statement of his style — a style that we really covet.”
Cue up the video of Carson highlights in a game against TCU when he takes the ball at their 43, breaks one tackle at the 41 and absolutely trucks a Horned Frog at the 38, then runs over another at the 28 before finishing up a 21-yard run.
“I fell in love with how tough he is and how aggressive he is,” Carroll said.
Everybody looks All-Pro in their highlight reels. But this was the sort of effort that gets Carroll fired up. You can tell from the tone of his evaluation.
The Hawks have a lot of young backs, with Rawls and C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins, along with free agent Eddie Lacy and a few others.
But with Rawls and Prosise coming off injuries, Carson will get a chance to impress in the preseason.
Another player who seemed almost like a pet project of Carroll’s was undrafted free agent offensive lineman Jordan Roos from Purdue.
When Carroll and GM John Schneider addressed the media, they weren’t supposed to talk about the undrafted free agent guys yet, but they tossed in Roos’ name out of excitement.
Going undrafted, he was passed over a number of times by all 32 teams. Still, Schneider confessed: “We’re really excited to get him.”
The durable Roos started 43 games for Purdue, matched up against Big Ten talent. And on his pro-day workout, he bench pressed 225 pounds 41 times, which would have been the highest total of anybody at the combine — by a margin of six.
Roos is a guard/center type player at 6-4, 304, although he’s reported to have bulked up even more.
Sometimes, it’s the getting passed over that inspires players. It certainly has for any number of Seahawks through the years.
This season should be no different.