Don't expect there to be any hostility between wide receivers Kenny Lawler and Doug Baldwin, new Seahawks teammates who attended rival schools in the Bay Area.
"I don't have any hate toward any Stanford guys," Lawler, who Seattle selected in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of California, said at the conclusion of rookie minicamp this past Sunday. "It's just a competitive game that we're playing. We're friends off the field."
In fact, Lawler said he received some welcome-to-the-NFL advice from Baldwin, who played his college ball for the Cardinal.
"It was a good conversation," Lawler said of his talk with the Seahawks No. 1 wideout. "He just told me just come out here, compete, and always have great work ethic, and you're going to like the place."
Lawler took Baldwin's words to heart and it showed during his initial NFL camp, where the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder impressed both the Seahawks coaching staff and the media assembled on site. The receiver who Seattle general manager John Schneider said has "arguably the best hands in the draft" made acrobatic grabs all over the field this past weekend, standing out on day one and day two before earning his head coach's endorsement on day three.
"It's a great confidence booster if you have the head coach behind you," Lawler said. "Really, at this position you need confidence to just work your craft. When you have that confidence it's a lot easier to go out there and perform."
Lawler played with plenty of confidence for the Golden Bears. He finished his career at Cal with 143 catches for 1,706 yards and 27 touchdowns, the second-most in school history. Lawler's red zone production, the way he uses his long arms to haul in off-target throws, and his ability to go up and make contested catches were all attractive qualities when the Seahawks were picking No. 243 overall.
"Not giving up," Lawler said of what's essential to making those tough grabs in traffic. "Sometimes you feel like you're just swallowed up with the coverage, but if you don't give up you could possibly put yourself in a good position to make a play. That's real key right there."
With the Seahawks returning their top three wide receivers from last year in Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Tyler Lockett, Lawler will likely compete with players like Paul Richardson, Kevin Smith, and Kasen Williams for the No. 4 spot. How quickly he picks up the Seahawks' playbook could factor in, with Lawler noting a "big shift" in offensive scheme from college to the NFL. But in the early goings the Seahawks seem to like what they have in their seventh-rounder and Lawler is encouraged at this stage knowing Seattle is a place where late-round picks and undrafted free agents have flourished.
"It gives me confidence," Lawler said. "I have a chip on my shoulder. Just come in here and compete every day. Give great effort and go from there."
The Seahawks acquire a seventh round pick from New England and select Kenny Lawler, a wide receiver from Cal Berkley with the 243rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.