The Seahawks wrapped up their three-day rookie minicamp with an indoor practice thanks to Sunday morning's rain, and at the conclusion of Day 3, head coach Pete Carroll came off the field very excited about what he had seen over the weekend.
"Coming off this camp, gosh, we had a really good three days," Carroll said. "We come out of it really enthused about the guys that we picked in the draft. We saw some great things from Germain (Ifedi) and Jarran (Reed), those guys looked exactly like we hoped they would look. C.J. Prosise looked terrific, we did some things with him, and all the way through the ranks, so it's a really good group. And John (Schneider) put together a bunch of guys we picked up as free agents that we're really happy with, so it was a really good camp for us. We got a lot done."
Here are six things that stood out from Sunday's practice and Carroll's press conference that followed:
1. Carroll is "really excited" about Seattle's running backs.
After watching draft picks C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks practice for three days, Carroll came away excited about the possibilities for that position group, especially after Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael are added to the mix.
"I'm really excited about that spot, complementing what Thomas and Christine can do," Carroll said. "It's going to be a great camp of competition for us."
In particular, Carroll seems really intrigued by what Prosise will bring as a third-down back who is also a capable receiver, having played that position at Notre Dame. Prosise figures to step into the role previously held by Fred Jackson and Robert Turbin, but Prosise's athletic ability and versatility has Carroll and his offensive coaching staff coming up with ways to expand that role.
"He has a tremendous range of ability," Carroll said. "Going into this draft I was hoping we were going to get this guy so that we can do the things that we can do with him. I don't mind saying this because it's not going to take us very long to show it—he is a guy that you can line up out of the backfield as a wide receiver, and he can line up in the backfield and run the football and beat you there too."
2. The Seahawks have decisions to make at quarterback.
There is no mystery as to who will be Seattle's starting quarterback in 2016 (or beyond, for that matter), but right now there is a question as to who will back up Russell Wilson. With Tarvaris Jackson still a free agent, Seattle's current options on the roster are rookie Trevone Boykin, who signed as an undrafted free agent last week, and former Skyline High School standout Jake Heaps, who also signed last week. The Seahawks also had Oregon's Vernon Adams in as a tryout player, and Carroll came away impressed by all three.
"Gosh all three guys did a really good job," Carroll said. "They're really good players. Jake has been with us a little bit more so he has a little more familiarity. He did very well, threw the ball very well, really in command of the position. I thought Boykin did a really good job, and Vernon did a nice job too, so we've got to figure some stuff out, which is great. That's what we hoped for. We hoped for all of these decisions to be difficult whichever way we want to go. But they did a good job.
3. Wherever Jarran Reed lines up, the Seahawks expect him to make an impact.
Carroll referred to Reed, Seattle's second-round pick out of Alabama, as a "crucial pick" for the Seahawks, not just because Reed is a very talented player—the best run-stopper in the draft by their evaluation—but also because he figures to play a prominent role right away. Reed has a very good chance to fill the starting role that came open with Brandon Mebane's departure, but Reed might not necessarily jump into that nose tackle spot. Reed spent time playing both nose tackle and three-technique defensive tackle, and thanks to his and Ahtyba Rubin's flexibility, the Seahawks will go into camp able to look at both players in both spots before deciding who will line up where.
"We worked him more at the three-technique today," Carroll said. "He has played 50-50 so he can do both. He's very comfortable, very natural with it. It gives us a really good flexibility with Rubin. You know, Ahtyba has played both spots as well. So right now, if we didn't know anything else, we'd be able to match guys up according to the people they're playing against. It's just such a crucial pick for us. Jarran can really jump in and give us the stout play. He's just got great savvy for the running game. So wherever we put him in there—he'll play both spots, for sure—which one we feature him at, we'll determine when we get back to camp and as we get into game-planning and all that. It gives us really good flexibility and he's a terrific football player."
The final day of Rookie Minicamp took place in the indoor practice facility where the team practiced on similar turf they could be playing on come August.
4. TE Nick Vannett showed off his versatility this weekend.
The Seahawks drafted Nick Vannett because they were looking for a blocking tight end to complement Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson, but as Carroll noted, Vannett showed plenty of ability as a pass-catcher as well.
"We got a great look at him," Carroll said. "He got a lot of balls thrown to him. He's a really natural catcher. He's got great catching range. He's 6-6 with long arms and the whole thing. He had no trouble on any of the routes, so very comfortable there."
Vannett will get a chance to better show off his blocking ability when the pads come on in training camp.
"It's hard to tell about the blocking," Carroll said. "What he has shown is he's a really good combination blocker, which we do so much of. We move our tight end and he works in conjunction with the offensive tackles. He showed a good flexibility and good ability in that area and he did that in camp. You can't see him coming off the football because we don't get that done here. That's where we'll develop him—his ability to block defensive ends coming off the ball when he has to single them. He did not have to do a lot of that on film at Ohio State so we'll see. But at 6-6 and almost 260 and he's got really good natural feet, I don't see anything but real upside here."
5. WR Kenny Lawler "Had a great camp."
Seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler was held out of most of Sunday's practice with what Carroll described as tightness, but the receiver out of Cal did plenty in the first two days to make the Seahawks feel good about the player they acquired late in the draft.
"He had a great camp," Carroll said. "He showed us that he's got a marvelous catching range. We thought he had as good of hands as anybody in the draft and felt very fortunate to get him where we did, and he had the opportunities and he showed it., He made plays down the field, made plays in traffic, and just gave us the feeling like, 'OK, that's the guy we were hoping he was going to be.'"
Carroll does hope that Lawler can put on more weight working with the Seahawks training staff between now and his rookie season.
"He's a thin kid," Carroll said. "Probably lost maybe 15 pounds since the combine… We think we can build him up and get him a lot stronger, and those hands won't change, so we think we have a nice prospect there."
6. Steven Hauschka's job is probably safe.
Sunday's practice ended on a light note, with Seattle's top two picks, Ifedi and Reed, taking part in a kicking contest. Reed ended up winning the contest for the defense with a low, line-drive kick after Ifedi missed on an even lower, line-drive attempt.
"Jarran was two for two, so nice job by him, he came through with a lot of pressure on him," Carroll said. "A lot riding on that."
Asked about Hauschka's status as the team's kicker, Carroll said, "I think Hauschka is safe to be the No. 1."