The Seahawks inked their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to a contract on Tuesday, signing defensive end L.J. Collier to his rookie deal as the club held its second set of Organized Team Activities at team headquarters.
The 6-foot-3, 291-pound Collier, who the Seahawks chose with the 29th pick in the first round out of TCU, figures to aid Seattle’s pass rush this upcoming season after last year’s top edge rusher Frank Clark was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Collier earned All-Big 12 honors as a senior when he recorded six sacks, 42 tackles (11.5 for loss), and four pass breakups, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has said he sees similarities to former Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett in Collier’s play.
“He has the versatility and the style and the penetration ability, he’s really slippery,” Carroll said. “He has terrific pass-rush makeup.”
With Collier signed, Seattle now has nine of its 11 draft picks from this year under contract. Second-round pick DK Metcalf, a wide receiver out of Ole Miss, and third-round selection Cody Barton, a linebacker from Utah, remain unsigned. Metcalf and Barton, however, are still allowed to participate in the team’s offseason workouts, and following Day 2 of OTAs, Carroll said Collier, Metcalf, Barton and the rest of Seattle’s 2019 rookie class are making an early statement this offseason.
"I’m pumped about this group, man,” Carroll said Tuesday when asked about the rookies getting a chance to go against the veterans during OTAs. "I just have been. Their minds are in the right place. They’re really focused on studying and learning. They feel the responsibility of catching up. You know, they’re asking questions, they’re staying late, they’re coming around and doing everything they can to make sure that they’re doing their part. Plus, there’s some talent out here that’s obvious it’s going to add to the competition of all the different spots. Everybody that’s had the opportunity has made a good statement about where they know they’re going for it. And it’s really exciting for us.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who also spoke with the media following Tuesday’s OTAs, echoed his head coach’s sentiment when it comes to what he's seen so far from Seattle’s newest players.
“I think you help with some of the young guys, but to be honest with you it’s been one of the best rookies classes I think we’ve had in a while in a sense of — nothing against the other classes — but I think the preparation in terms of the guys has been really special,” Wilson said. "You really notice that from the defense side and offensive side. It’s been exciting. I think John (Schneider) and Pete did a great job of picking the guys and making sure that one, they’re very, very talented, but also high character, hard-working guys. It’s across the board. We’re rolling in the meetings and they’ve caught on extremely, extremely well in the language and everything else. It’s a no-problem, no-issue thing for them."
Photos from Day 2 of Seattle Seahawks Organized Team Activities during the team's voluntary offseason workout program on Tuesday, May 21 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.