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Tracking down the fastest of the fast Seahawks

Posted Jun 10, 2014

There has been a lot of talk about just how much speed the Seahawks’ players possess. We turned talk into a fantasy task by compiling a 4x100-meter relay team of the fastest of the fast players.


Last week, after an OTA practice, quarterback Russell Wilson offered, “Our receivers right now are as fast as it gets. I think our receiver group is probably one of the faster in the league.”

Later in the week, during the Seahawks’ Town Hall at CenturyLink Field, offensive and defensive coordinators Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn discussed what the speed on the roster means to their respective units.

And speed is always one of the first traits – if not the first trait – mentioned by coach Pete Carroll when asked what he looks for in a player.

A NEED FOR SPEED, TIMES FOUR

Here are the selections for a Seahawks 4x100-meter relay team, with the personal bests (in seconds) in the 40-yard, 100- and 200-meter dashes for each player:

Player 40 100 200
Jeremy Lane 4.48 -- 21.5
Percy Harvin 4.41 10.43 21.19
Paul Richardson 4.40 10.62 21.0
Ricardo Lockette 4.26 10.00 20.3

All this talk of speed got us thinking about which four players would comprise a 4x100-meter relay team for the Seahawks. To begin the selection process, we started with wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, since he was the NCAA Division II 200-meter champion in 2008 while attending Fort Valley State. But Lockette quickly recruited fellow wide receiver Percy Harvin to assist him. That’s more than OK because in 2005, while at Landstown High School, Harvin became the first athlete in 69 years to win five championships at the Virginia State Track and Field Championships – the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the long and triple jumps and the 4x100 relay.

Lockette and Harvin not only took their task seriously, they got into – first in selecting the other two members of the relay dream year (they relegated All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas to alternate status in favor of cornerback Jeremy Lane); and then while determining the order in which the members would run.

Lane would run the leadoff leg, because he did it in high school. Lockette put himself in the second spot, deferring to Harvin as the anchor runner to bring it home – only to have Harvin insist that Lockette be the anchor. And that leaves the third leg for rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson.

“J. Lane kicks it off,” Lockette said Tuesday after the eighth of the team’s 10 OTA sessions. “The second leg, that’s when the race is probably the most even, so you want your power guy to take the lead or put you in a good position. Then pretty much the curve guy, he can either hold the lead or make it a bigger lead. So we’ll put the young guy there. And then you want your go-getter, you want your cheetah at the end in case you have to come back.”

Overhearing that he not only had been placed as the anchor runner, but also given a pretty appropriate nickname, Harvin interjected, “I say you want the big dog last, so that’s got to be Lock.”

Regardless of the order, these guys would be flying – and fun to watch.

Why this foursome? Credentials, and these guys have them.

Lockette, who was quickly dubbed “Lockette the Rocket” by teammates as a rookie free agent in 2011, won his NCAA title in the 200 with a time of 20.6 seconds. But his PR (personal record) in the event is 20.3, and he also has a PR of 10.0 seconds in the 100. His time of 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash tied for the third-fastest at the 2011 Scouting Combine, and he has a PR of 4.26 seconds.

“Ricardo was a very good track runner – very good,” Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State, told Seahawks.com in 2012. “As soon as he got here, you could see the potential. If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year.”

Harvin, who also uses his speed on kickoff returns (see the one to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVIII) and as a runner, has it in his genes. His mother, Linda, ran track in high school and also coached the sport. At 12, Harvin was a member of a national championship 4x100 relay team in his age group. As a freshman in high school, he ran the 40 in 4.32 seconds. He won the sprint double at Virginia state meet in 10.69 and 21.59 seconds, but has PRs of 10.43 and 21.19.

“Percy is a special talent,” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider has said of Harvin, who was obtained in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last March. “He’s got that speed, but obviously his explosiveness is off the charts.”

Richardson, this year’s top draft choice, had PRs of 10.62 seconds in the 100 and 21.0 in the 200 at Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif. At the Scouting Combine in February, while wearing his WO40 designation on his shirt, Richardson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds.

“His speed is extraordinary,” Carroll said after the Seahawks made Richardson the 45th player selected in last month’s NFL Draft. “

Lane, for some reason, never ran the 100-meter dash at Tyler (Texas) High School. But he had a PR of 21.5 seconds in the 200 and also ran the 400, long jumped and ran on the 4x100 relay team. During his Pro Day workout at Northwestern (La.) State in 2012, Lane ran the 40 in 4.48 seconds and also popped a 42-inch vertical leap.

“First of all, he’s really blessed with great speed,” former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said in 2012 when asked what allows Lane to play beyond his draft status (sixth-round pick). “He’s got really good speed and that’s first and foremost one of his greatest assets for us.”

And what if the Seahawks were allowed to actually put his fearsomely fast foursome on a track against 4x100 units from other NFL teams? Harvin, for one, would love to see it.

“If you can set that up across the league and get this thing going,” Harvin said with a smile, “we’ll definitely be there.”

Lockette followed that with a frown, telling Harvin that the coaches would never go for it – and neither would the NFLPA.

“But you have to admit,” Harvin said, “it would be fun.”

Not to mention fast.

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