Seattle spent just two of its 10 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft on defensive players, but the fact that the Seahawks traded up to make both selections - something the team had done just twice in the previous six drafts under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll - should hint at how much the club wanted to get its hands on defensive tackles Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson.
Reed, the 6-foot-3, 311-pounder out of Alabama, and Jefferson, a 6-foot-4, 291-pound product of Maryland, were selected in the second (No. 49 overall) and fifth (No. 147 overall) rounds, respectively, in last weekend's draft.
The two players were teammates at the Senior Bowl and now find themselves roommates at this weekend's rookie minicamp, where both players met with the media following the team's Saturday practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
"It's been good," said Reed. "I'm really used to hard work, physical and fast practices, and it's the same thing. It's up-tempo. It's been good. It's been real good."
Fans who watched the draft likely remember Reed for his massive size as he strutted on stage in Chicago after the Seahawks made their selection. But even more memorable for 12s might have been the signature candy of a former Seahawks running back that Reed was seen clutching in his hand.
"I was back stage in the green room just eating a bunch of Skittles, so my mom was like, 'Just take them on the stage!'" Reed recalled. "I thought it would be funny. I just try to stay bright, stay with a good character."
Schneider called Reed the best run-stopper in this year's draft class and many draft analysts pegged Reed as a player with first-round talent who Seattle was fortuante enough to steal in the second round. Reed said not hearing his name called on the draft's first day made him "more hungry" to improve his game, and prove his worth.
"It's definitely motivation," Reed said. "But things happen. I just stay humble and stay focused. That's all I can do. I'm in a great spot, got a great coach, great organization, great teammates, great facility, so I can't be mad with this."
In Seattle, Reed is a candidate to be the team's next starting nose tackle after Brandon Mebane signed with the San Diego Chargers in free agency. Reed said the Seahawks have him playing at Mebane's old spot, as well as at the three-technique defensive tackle position.
"We put a real lot of emphasis on stopping the run," Reed said of his time with the Crimson Tide. "It's the same thing we do here, stop the run and do what we've got to do on third down. I just take real pride in that. I take pride in every aspect of my game."
Jefferson, meanwhile, played both defensive end and tackle for the Terps, and coach Carroll called out Michael Bennett's name during draft weekend when discussing the different things Jefferson can do.
"I'm very familiar with Michael Bennett," Jefferson said of the Seahawks' Pro Bowl defensive end who entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent. "He's a great football player and I do feel like we have the same stature and traits and stuff. Shoot, if I can be anything like him, that'd be great. I'm just trying to come in and learn from him and just play my tail off."
Jefferson, a Pittsburgh native with "a steel mill literally right down the street" from his house, was in awe of the "beautiful" scenery at Seahawks headquarters on Saturday. He spoke for both himself and his new roommate Reed on their approach to life in the NFL as they look to "wreak havoc any way we can" as rookie minicamp concludes with one more practice Sunday.
"We both have the same mindset," Jefferson said. "We want to come in and just compete, play our tails off and contribute any way we possibly can."
With the Day 1 jitters out of their systems, the players got into their groove during Day 2 of Seahawks Rookie Minicamp.