Pete Carroll Assesses Draft Class’ Performance Following Seahawks 2019 Rookie Minicamp

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The Seahawks concluded a three-day minicamp with a bit of fun and humor, with two tryout linemen attempting field goals to wrap up Sunday’s practice. After defensive end Aime Walvenski missed his kick, guard Matt Fitzpatrick made his attempt, setting off a big celebration from the offense.

And while the Seahawks probably didn’t find a backup kicker this weekend, there was plenty for the coaching staff to learn after watching nine draft picks—receivers Gary Jennings and John Ursua had to sit out due to hamstring injuries—12 undrafted rookie free agents and more than 40 tryout players take part in rookie minicamp.

“We really had a really fun weekend watching these guys do the thing and show where they fit in and where they have a chance to try to figure into this roster,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We saw really good stuff from the draft picks. We’re really pleased with the way they learned and picked things up.”

After watching the rookies practice for three days, here’s what Pete Carroll had to say about the nine draft picks who were on the field this weekend.

Defensive End L.J. Collier

Collier, Seattle’s first-round pick, and the rest of the linemen can only show so much in minicamp because players aren’t in pads, but despite not being able to show all he can do, Collier still impressed Carroll.

“He’s gonna fit in the way we want to plan, and there’s a lot of work to be done because there’s no pads for these guys, but as far as the style of play, the way he fits into the scheme, we’ve made the right choice in that regard and I think we have a good plan for it now,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot to learn, we have a long ways to go, but very satisfied with what he did.”

Collier comes from the small town of Munday, Texas, and was in a graduating class of 25 seniors, but his experience at TCU means “he is well versed,” Carroll said. “He had been in a very complicated system for defensive line and he had no problem at all with our stuff. He jumped right at it.”

Safeties Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi

Blair, a second-round pick out of Utah, and Amadi, a fourth-rounder from Oregon, worked as the starting strong and free safeties, respectively, though Amadi also showed his versatility, playing the nickel corner spot, and Carroll said those two “did really well.”

“Those guys are both smart kids and they understood the system and we did a lot of stuff, we change coverages,” Carroll said. “We made them make adjustments. We pressured, we did all kinds of things to see how they would handle it. And there’s going to be no problem at all with those guys. The linebackers too—both the inside guys (Ben Burr-Kirven and Cody Barton) did a fantastic job handling the system and they all, those four guys worked together really well in the communication so that everybody was coordinated and organized and it was impressive how well they communicated. There’s some advantages in that Marquise has played with Cody and you could kind of tell there was a little something there. Ben was terrific at handling his stuff and helping out and Amadi too, he’s a very well-versed football player and had no problem. He played nickel and safety. Played a lot of nickel in the camp, which was good. More than I thought he would. And he was very comfortable there.”

Receiver DK Metcalf

Part of it is the nature of his position—linemen, tight ends, linebackers and even running backs are limited in what they can show in practices without live contact—but no player stood out as much as second-round pick DK Metcalf over the last three days.

“He had a great weekend,” Carroll said. “He really did. He had the opportunity to catch balls of all different kinds all over the field. Down the field of course, he was really comfortable with all the long ball stuff. Everything we did with him, he was very comfortable with. I know that everybody’s wondering about this route tree thing and all that now, and I don’t see that being a factor. He looks like he’s very well-versed, been coached. And I’ve said before, he had really good work that he did since the season was over with the guys that he worked with. Jerry Sullivan is an extraordinary coach and he came in here ready to go and in good shape and he ran fast and he looked good, hung through all of it. So it’s really an exciting first introduction.”

Linebackers Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven

Carroll noted after the first practice that Barton, a third-round pick out of Utah, and Burr-Kirven, a fifth-rounder from Washington, both were able to take command of the defense right away, which is no small feat in a minicamp that throws 70 players together for the first time. And those two continued to show their football smarts throughout the weekend.

“It really stood out,” Carroll said. “It really jumped out. We’ve been in these situations many times and you could tell their expertise and their willingness to really study it up and communicate with the coaches really well. They transferred the stuff in the classroom to the field exceptionally. And it stood out above any group we’ve ever had in here, those were the two best guys we’ve ever brought in.”

Asked more about Burr-Kirven’s coverage ability, Carroll said, “He showed all kinds of stuff. We did a lot of play-action stuff to check them out, there’s a lot of nakeds and boots and things like that to see how these guys would react. He sees the game really, really well. I have no problem with what he did and what he showed out here, also breaking on the ball and the speed that both those guys have showed up. I’m really excited about those two guys.”

Guard Phil Haynes

As noted earlier, linemen are limited in what they can show this weekend, but in the case of Haynes, who comes from a fast-paced Wake Forest offense that has its linemen line up standing up instead of in a three-point stance, this weekend was a chance to show how he operates in an offense that huddles and that has its linemen operate in a more traditional manner.

“Well this was interesting for Phil, because this is the first time that Phil’s really worked in his stance,” Carroll said. “I said to him as we were in really the competitive moment that we have when we’re kind of faking it out there, we’re huddling, and I said, ‘What do you think of the difference between the way you’re playing?’ He says, ‘This is amazing,’ because a big guy like that gets to go back and get in the huddle and catch his breath instead of snapping the ball every 14 seconds, you know? So he noticed it; there’s some new things for him. But he’s going to fit in fine. Again, he’s really strong, physical, got a good attitude. He’s smart, had no problem with any of the scheme. He’ll be competing. He’ll be competing.”

Running Back Travis Homer

“He showed a really good sense for the game,” Carroll said. “He understood the offense immediately, had no problem picking things up. We did a lot of different stuff with him, running the football, route-wise, protection stuff he seemed very comfortable with too. He seemed very well-versed. I know like I’ve said to you earlier that special teams guys were really excited about what he can do, and you could just kind of tell he’s got real good sense and feel for the game.”

Asked about Homer’s pass-catching ability, Carroll said, “Very good. He did really well. Matter of fact, we spent some extra time on that to make sure that we have a feel for that. He did a good job.”

Defensive Tackle Demarcus Christmas

“He looked good,” Carroll said. “Played 3-technique the whole time. It’s really hard to tell with defensive linemen until we get them in pads. But he had no problem picking things up, so that’s a good sign.”

Photos from Day 3 of Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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