Seahawks rookies were back on the field for Day 2 of rookie minicamp, this time taking things outdoors after Friday's session was forced inside by rain. Here are four things that stood out from Saturday's practice:
1. The rookie defensive backs are forming a bond early.
It's a common sight during these practices to see all four of the defensive backs Seattle drafted, Shaquill Griffin, Mike Tyson, Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill, on the field at the same time, and perhaps just as importantly, they are also forming a bond off the field.
"We're all close," Hill said. "We talk every day, morning 'til night. We're with each other all the time, so we've got to be comfortable with each other."
Hill noted that closeness "translates well" on the field: "Once you're comfortable with somebody, you communicate well—you've got to communicate on the back end—everybody can be on the same page."
Asked if there's a jokester among the DBs, Hill didn't hesitate when naming Tyson.
"Oh, that's for sure Mike," Hill said. "Mike Tyson, he's for sure the jokester."
While most of the rookies are just getting to know each other this weekend, Hill and Thompson have a bit of a relationship because they trained together in Florida leading up to the draft.
"I've known Ted for a couple of months now," Hill said. "We worked out together for the NFL (draft) process. We hung out together then, and fortunately we came to the same team, so we know each other pretty well, we're communicating well."
And speaking of Thompson, he comes to Seattle already very familiar with another of his new teammates having studied Earl Thomas' game for years.
"It's kind of crazy, because growing up in high school, I used to watch his film a lot when I started getting recruited and was trying to learn how to actually play football and learn a lot about defenses," Thompson said. "Just to see how he gets from one hash to another, just to see how he leads his teammates, the passion he plays with on the field. You can just see the excitement he brings to his teammates, so I've been watching since I was like a freshman in high school or something like that."
Asked why he chose to study Thomas' game in particular, Thompson said, "Just the way the plays the game, how he gets from one has to another, and the effort he has—he has extremely good effort. You never see him lagging on the field, he's always running to the ball, giving 100 percent effort."
2. Nazair Jones is comfortable at three-technique defensive tackle.
Second-round pick Malik McDowell and third-rounder Nazair Jones have stood out during the first-two days, in part because of their physical statures, but also because of the talent that made them high picks. And while McDowell noted Friday that what he is doing with Seattle is pretty different than what he was asked to do at Michigan State, Jones said Saturday that he is being asked to play a similar role to the one he had at North Carolina.
"I think I'm right where I want to be," Jones said. "I'm playing three-technique where I've been playing most of my college career. A lot of the plays that we run are similar to the plays we ran at North Carolina and even some of the names are similar so it's been a smooth transition for me so far. So I'm just going to stay in the play book and keep doing what I'm doing on the field."
Jones is also getting comfortable working with McDowell on and off the field, a good sign for the future of Seattle's defensive line.
"He's a cool dude," Jones said. "He's my roommate right now so I've kind of gotten to know him a little bit. But he's cool, laid back, doesn't say a lot—you guys should know that already. But like I said, he's pretty cool… He's actually been one of my closest friends since I've been here."
3. Amara Darboh is benefiting from playing in a pro-style offense at Michigan.
While there's a learning curve for any rookie transitioning from college to the NFL, some players arrive more pro-ready than others in part because of the system they played in in college. That appears to be the case for third-round pick Amara Darboh, who played in a pro-style offense at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh.
"We ran a pro style there, and I think that's helped with the transition over here with the routes that I'm asked to run here and that I ran at Michigan," Darboh said. "Some of (the terminology) is the same and some of it is also different. Some of the words are the same, but it's different routes so I kind of have to forget the old coaching and pick up the new stuff."
Darboh wasn't the only receiver to make plays on Saturday. Seventh-round pick David Moore, who played a Division II East Central University in Oklahoma, continues to look more than comfortable playing at a much higher level of competition, while Kenny Lawler, a seventh-round pick last season, has made several nice plays, taking advantage of his experience in Seattle's offense.
4. Cyril Grayson back… and yes, he's fast.
The Seahawks signed Cyril Grayson earlier this offseason despite the fact that he never played college football, and after missing Friday's practice to attend his graduation at LSU, the former track and field standout was back on the field Saturday. Grayson, who's trying to make the team as a receiver, had a couple of nice catches Saturday, and as you might expect from a former track and field All-American, he looks really fast, even when sharing a field with NFL-caliber athletes.
On Friday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll praised the work Grayson has done to this point in offseason workouts.
"We've seen enough in Phase 2 (of OTAs) here to give us hopes that he really has an upside," Carroll said. "The speed is obvious. He's got a really good catching range, he's really natural catching the deep ball, we've already seen that. So we know, 'OK, he's really fast, he can catch the deep ball, can we get him lined up right? Can he get his footwork right? Can he get off the line of scrimmage? Can he time it up? He's got a great attitude, he's got a wonderful personality. I can't wait for you guys to meet him and see what he's all about. He has competed at a really high level in his sporting career, and you can tell that confidence carries over into what he's coming into here. It's not too big for him to go for it. He studies, he stays late, he's in early. Really a beautiful first impression he has made for us. We're going to be patient with him because he has such good natural talents. We'll wait him out and see how long it takes. Remember we took a long time with Ricardo Lockette, and Lock figured it out and became a real constant around here, but it took him a while coming out of the track background and all of that. So we'll see what happens, but very encouraged by what we've seen."
Photos from Day 2 of the Seahawks' three-day rookie minicamp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.