O’Neil: What we learned from the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp
The Seahawks on Sunday concluded their three-day rookie minicamp, which was more like a new employee orientation than an actual audition. That makes it a good time to take a look at those things we learned before specifying what we’re still trying to figure out, which we’ll do Tuesday.
Three things we learned:
You can see why Malik McDowell was projected as a top-10 pick last August.
The guys looks (and moves) like an NBA power forward. That’s a compliment, not a criticism. This is not some thick-bodied run-stuffer on the defensive line. This is a guy who’s going to be among the quickest defensive linemen while also being one of the tallest at 6 feet 6 with the flexibility to be a handful for any offensive lineman. You can see why ESPN’s Todd McShay regarded McDowell as a top-10 pick before he began what was a disappointing junior season. Seattle is playing McDowell at the defensive end spot that was manned so ably by Red Bryant for Pete Carroll’s first three years in Seattle. Not that McDowell is ever going to be mistaken for Bryant. “He’s a different looking athlete than we’ve had,” Carroll said of McDowell. “He’s just taller, longer than guys we’ve been able to coach. He’s really quick.” McDowell played nose tackle at Michigan State. He’s going to play defensive end on first and second down for the Seahawks, sliding in to play defensive tackle in passing situations.
Tom Cable wants his offensive linemen to be in a new position.
If you’re a tackle – like last year’s first-round pick, Germain Ifedi – he wants you to start out playing guard. If you’re a versatile linemen – like Ethan Pocic, this year’s second-round pick – he wants you playing the position you have the least experience at. In Pocic’s case, that’s tackle. Cable has said he wants his players uncomfortable, and it’s evident that he believes that a guy learns new techniques better when he’s in a spot where he doesn’t necessarily have old habits. That also explains Cable’s affinity for converting defensive linemen to the offensive side of the ball, or more recently, taking a converted basketball player in George Fant and planting him at left tackle.
Shaquill Griffin is going to play sooner rather than later.
Not sure he’ll be starting at right cornerback opposite Richard Sherman in Seattle’s season-opener. Jeremy Lane has experience not to mention a chip on his shoulder, but Griffin showed in three days of workouts that he’s built to play the style of press coverage that Seattle demands of its cornerbacks. “He’s really fast,” Carroll said. “He can fly.” For all the success that Seattle has had in developing cornerbacks, it’s worth remembering that as a third-round selection, Griffin is the highest pick the Seahawks have used on a cornerback during John Schneider’s tenure as general manager.