During each show until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is counting down the 20 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. The countdown continued with rookie wide receiver Amara Darboh. The segment on Darboh is embedded above. Brady Henderson’s thoughts are below.
The Seahawks have an eye for draft prospects who have persevered through adverse personal circumstances. So when they were scouting receivers in this year’s draft, Amara Darboh’s backstory stood out. How’s this for adversity: Darboh was born in the West African nation of Sierra Leone during a civil war in which both of his parents were killed. He emigrated to the United States when he was 7 and was eventually taken in by a family in Iowa. “We like those stories,” coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle chose Darboh in the third round, “that background that makes these kids who they are.” The Seahawks liked plenty about Darboh’s game as well, like his route-running, ball skills, willingness to block and special-teams ability. He’s a safe bet to make Seattle’s roster, but, as is the case with many rookie receivers, it won’t be easy for him to make a significant impact on offense right away.
By the numbers
33. Consecutive games at Michigan in which Darboh caught at least one pass, which was the fourth-longest streak in school history. It’s one stat that helps illustrate his productivity in college. He started 28 games and caught 151 passes over his final three seasons. His numbers as a senior: 57 catches, 862 yards and seven touchdowns.
12.5. Percentage of offensive snaps (132 out of 1,059) played last season by Tanner McEvoy, who was Seattle’s No. 5 receiver. Paul Richardson, the team’s fourth receiver, played just under 32 percent (338 snaps), according to Pro Football Reference. Roles in Seattle’s receiver corps this year aren’t easy to predict because of some unknowns, like how Tyler Lockett will come back from his broken leg and how Jermaine Kearse will perform after a down season, but that could be a range for how much playing time Darboh is in line for in 2017. He should push Kearse for snaps.
6-2, 219. Darboh’s height and weight, which makes him one of the bigger members of a receiver corps full of smaller, speedier players. Some of the weight differences are negligible, but of the 11 other receivers on Seattle’s offseason roster, only McEvoy (6-6) and Rodney Smith (6-5) are taller. McEvoy could sneak back onto Seattle’s roster while Smith is a longshot. David Moore, a seventh-round pick who will be competing for a roster spot, is listed at 6-2, 219 as well. Darboh ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, which means he has pretty good speed for his size.
Something working in Darboh’s favor is that he comes from a pro-style offense at Michigan. That should help ease what tends to be a particularly tough transition for wide receivers from the college game to the pros, especially for those who played in spread systems. It did for Doug Baldwin. Before he improbably led the Seahawks in receiving as an undrafted rookie in 2011, Baldwin played in a pro-style offense at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh, who was Darboh’s coach at Michigan.
“If you come from a pro-style offense, the concepts, the play-calls, the verbiage, all of that you’ve heard it before, so it’s easier for you to transition from college to the pros,” Baldwin said recently. “I can speak from personal experience coming from Jim Harbaugh and his pro-style offense. When I came to Seattle, the verbiage was almost the same, so my transition was seamless. So I think it’s a great advantage for any player that’s coming from the college ranks and been experienced and exposed to the pro-style offense.”
Seahawks general manager John Schneider after drafting Darboh: “He’s young in football and looks like a professional wide receiver. That’s probably the most amazing thing about his story. We see him as a blue-grit kid that has overcome a ton in his life. … He’s really a good route-runner, he’s got really good ball skills, he’ll block, he’ll play on teams. He’s one of those kids that just checks off all those boxes and there’s still a lot out there in front of him. He’s a very respectful, very articulate kid who has been through a ton.”
Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 20, WR Jermaine Kearse; No. 19, K Blair Walsh; No. 18, S Bradley McDougald; No. 17, RB Thomas Rawls; No. 16, DT Jarran Reed; No. 15, DE Frank Clark; No. 14, WR/KR Tyler Lockett.