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Laying down the Law
After a recent workout, wide receiver Sidney Rice some of the Seahawks’ other “skill-position” players were shooting hoops at the basket along one sideline in the indoor practice facility. Then Cordarro Law approached the group.
He was greeted by glances that shouted, “And what does this guy think he’s doing?” Law is, after all, a defensive end – and a rookie free agent defensive end, at that.
Then, Law started draining nothing-but-net jumpers. Then, the 6-foot-1, 254-pound Law went up and … dunked the basketball.
“He actually surprised me,” Rice said. “He can shoot it. (Rookie wide receiver Phil) Bates, terrible jump-shooter. (Cornerback Byron) Maxwell, terrible jump-shooter. (First-round draft choice) Bruce Irvin, terrible jump-shooter. But Law actually impressed me.”
And the dunk? “Yeah,” Rice said, “he can dunk.”
But wait, there’s more. Unable to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center together because of the new guidelines in the CBA that ended last year’s 136-day lockout, some of the receivers and quarterbacks went to the University of Washington last week to run routes, catch passes and all of that.
Law was there, too.
“Law ran like every route with us,” Rice said. “And he only dropped two passes the whole day. So that’s pretty impressive.”
When it comes to Law’s skills, it’s like Rice put it: “He’s a big-time athlete.”
In addition to collecting 105 tackles as a linebacker during his senior season at Sumter County High School in York, Ala., Law also played running back, rushing for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns.
But wait, there’s more. He also averaged 17 points and eight rebounds as a senior in leading the Wildcats to a second consecutive state championship.
“They didn’t think I could play basketball,” Law recalled of the encounter Rice referred to. “I told them I could. But then everybody says that. I went out and did it, and they were shocked.”
After high school, Law moved on to Southern Mississippi, where he collected 192 tackles, 27.5 sacks and forced 14 fumbles – including 64 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season, when he was voted All-Conference USA. At his Pro Day workout in March, Law ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds (although he also has a 4.74 on his resume), did 23 reps with 225 pounds and popped a 31-inch vertical leap.
The sum of these impressive numbers, however, was not enough to get him selected in April’s NFL Draft.
“I don’t have any excuses. It is what it is,” Law said. “On draft day, I was hurt. I sat through it all, and I was hurt and wondering, ‘What did I do wrong?’ ”
If it’s any consolation, he was selected to YahooSports.com’s All-Undrafted team.
But the real consolation prize for Law would be showing enough once training camp opens in late July that he earns a spot on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, at best; or the practice squad, at least.
“I’ve got my time here,” he said. “I’ve just got to make the best of it.”
The best part of signing with the Seahawks after the draft is that their defense includes a position that plays to what Law does best – the Leo end spot, where the ability to pressure the quarterback is the priority prerequisite.
“That plays to exactly what I do,” he said. “I get my chances to rush the passer and I don’t really have to take on the tight end as much. So I can use my speed, just run around a lot and make plays.”
The drawbacks to this situation also are obvious. Chris Clemons, who is coming off back-to-back 11-sack seasons, is the starter. Irvin was drafted in the first round to play opposite Clemons in the nickel defense, as well as spell him in the base defense. The line at that pivotal spot also includes Dexter Davis, whose potential has been harnessed by injuries during his first two seasons with the Seahawks.
“It’s going well,” Law said. “I’ve fit in. I’ve made plays. I’m just working hard every day and hoping for the best.”
Law saved some of his best for last. In one of the final drills of the last practice in the team’s three-day minicamp, he got to the running back for a 2-yard loss on one play and then would have had a sack on the very next play.
“The biggest thing coming here has been learned the protections the offensive linemen use,” he said. “In college, we just played football mainly. They taught us, but we just played football. Now it’s kind of like, ‘If I do this wrong, he’s got me.’
“So I have to use my hands right and work my moves more.”
Law also comes with intangibles. One pre-draft scouting report labeled him “an intense competitor,” and when asked during a pre-draft Q&A for his greatest accomplishment, Law offered, “Being voted team captain by my teammates as a senior.”
But perhaps the coolest thing about Law is that name: Cordarro.
“To tell you the truth, my mom told me my auntie named me,” he said. “I don’t know where she got it from. Never thought to ask her.
“But all the guys make fun of it.”
Just like they did before discovering that Law does have game, in a couple of games.