By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The final play of Sunday’s practice looked pretty darn familiar, Seattle’s three-day rookie minicamp ending with an interception that was more than a little reminiscent of the conference-clinching play back in January.
“Nice little tipped ball,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Richard Sherman would have thought so if he was there. Same for Malcolm Smith.
But this is rookie minicamp, so it was Thomas Wolfe – a cornerback trying out from Fort Valley State – tipping a pass that undrafted quarterback Keith Price intended for fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood. Wolfe’s tip allowed safety Dion Bailey of USC to intercept the ball, and the practice ended just like the NFC championship game as the defense held on thanks to an interception in the end zone.
And that’s how the NFL equivalent of new employee orientation ended in Seattle. For three days the Seahawks’ first-year players get run of the practice field as the coaches try to sort through all the potential and athleticism that the scouting department reeled in.
And in no particular order, here are some notes from the weekend.
• Wide receiver Paul Richardson is really fast, but we already knew that. He had the single most jaw-dropping play of the minicamp back on Friday when he ran past defensive back Eric Pinkins, another of Seattle’s draft picks, and hauled in a 63-yard score.
Richardson didn’t do much the rest of the weekend, though, sitting out the final two days with a sore shoulder, sustained after an awkward collision at the end of Friday’s practice.
“He’ll be fine,” Carroll said of Richardson. “He should be back in a couple of days.”
• Pinkins is a big cornerback not just because he’s 6-foot-3, but because he’s thick. A safety at San Diego State, Seattle intends to give him a shot at cornerback, but he finished out the three-day minicamp playing safety.
“We wanted to make sure that we could see him at both spots,” Carroll said, “so we could get a little more information.”
Pinkins’ coverage of Richardson on Friday – or the lack thereof – shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation but a learning opportunity. Pinkins’ coverage experience came against slot receivers in college, and playing outside – isolated against someone as speedy as Richardson – is a whole different deal with all that space.
Pinkins’ immediate opportunity is going to come on special teams, though. That’s the starting point for any rookie this year before earning a role in this defense.
More coverage of Seattle’s rookie minicamp:
|• O’Neil: WR Richardson makes quick introduction||• O’Neil: DL Marsh has Bennett-like versatility||• Henderson: QB Price is up for the challenge||• Photos: Day 1
| Day 2
• Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis sat out Sunday’s practice because of a sore groin, but he showed his speed during the minicamp, and not just on the field.
“He seems to be a good learner,” Carroll said.
• Offensive lineman Justin Britt didn’t do anything to change the team’s opinion of his spot on the food chain. That’s a good thing, as it means the team still sees Britt – the second of Seattle’s two second-round picks – as someone who will have a chance to compete for the starting spot at right tackle.
“Real serious, mature kid,” Carroll said. “I think he’ll jump right into the competition exactly as planned.”
Michael Bowie started eight games at that position last year as a rookie, filling in when Breno Giacomini was out with a knee injury. With Giacomini departing in free agency, Bowie and Britt will compete for the starting job.
Seattle also saw a promising left tackle at practice, just not the one you would expect. Garrett Scott was a sixth-round pick out of Marshall, but he hasn’t passed his physical exam and did not practice. Garry Gilliam, an undrafted rookie Seattle signed out of Penn State, did look promising, however.
“Big, solid, well-balanced kid,” Carroll said. “He did very well. He looked very good at the spot.”