By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The first receiver the Seahawks chose in this year’s draft – Paul Richardson – caught 83 passes in his final college season. The second receiver Seattle picked – Kevin Norwood – caught 81 in his four-year college career.
A gaudy receiving total isn’t the reason the Seahawks chose Norwood with the second of their three fourth-round picks, however.
Kevin Norwood | WR | Alabama
|• Height/Weight: 6-2, 195||• Drafted: Round 4, No. 123 overall||• Hometown: D’Iberville, Miss.||• Quotable: “I’ve had some experience scouting players that have been through (Hurricane) Katrina,” said Jim Nagy, a southeast area scout for the Seahwaks, “and they really have a lot of substance. It shows they are really mentally tough. They have overcome a lot.”|
The rationale: He’s a physical, stout receiver who demonstrated his blocking ability while at Alabama. Of the 81 passes he caught at Alabama, 12 were for touchdowns, but the most amazing thing isn’t what he did in college, but how he got there, a story chronicled by Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network.
His father, with whom he never had much contact, died when Norwood was 10. His family was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and Norwood lived with a high-school teammate’s family. Not only has he graduated, but he’ll earn his Master’s Degree, and while none of that will ensure that he earns a roster spot in a suddenly crowded receiver room, it gives you an idea of how focused of a competitor he is.
The risk: Seattle is adding another player to a position that is now overflowing with bodies even with the free-agent departure of Golden Tate. Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse figure to be at the nucleus of the group, then Sidney Rice was re-signed and don’t forget about Ricardo Lockette, who emerged as a special-teams threat last season. Bryan Walters and Phil Bates are also back, and now, add Richardson and Norwood not to mention the signings of Chris Matthews from the Canadian Football League and Taylor Price in free agency. That might make receiver the training-camp hot spot in terms of competition.
Norwood is the third receiver the Seahawks have chosen in the fourth round under general manager John Schneider. Kris Durham was drafted in 2011 and lasted one season with the Seahawks before he was released prior to the 2012 season. Chris Harper, who was drafted out of Kansas State a year ago, didn’t make the regular-season roster.