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Clayton: What has stood out in camp entering Seahawks’ preseason opener

Thomas Rawls is dealing with an ankle sprain suffered in the Seahawks' first preseason game. (AP)

After more than a week of training camp, plenty of intrigue is starting to develop for the Seahawks.

Pete Carroll vowed this was going to be a competitive camp. The players have followed through and made that happen. With the first preseason game scheduled for Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, let’s look at some of the things that have been noticeable at camp.

• The competition at running back has been better than expected. Thomas Rawls runs as hard as he can with every handoff and follows through by running as far as he can after being stopped. Eddie Lacy is now 3 for 3 in making his weight clauses and he does look big and powerful as a backup. C.J. Prosise is bigger and stronger than last year but it hasn’t slowed his ability to get downfield for deep receptions. Alex Collins looks good. Seventh-round pick Chris Carson and J.D. McKissic are also factors in the backfield.

• It hasn’t been a great camp for Seattle’s backup quarterbacks, but there doesn’t seem to be much concern. Trevone Boykin hasn’t been sharp, but if he plays well in the preseason games, he should win the job. All the Seahawks want from their backup is for him to make plays filling in for Russell Wilson. Maybe Boykin is better in game situations than in practice. Austin Davis is a smart player but doesn’t offer as much as Boykin.

• Tight end Jimmy Graham looks great. Graham detailed this week the struggle he had getting through the 2016 season. He could run but not play at this point of camp last year after spending about every day of the offseason rehabbing from his torn patellar tendon. He admitted it took everything he had just to make it from game to game. He’s healthy and able to concentrate on football this year and should top what he did last season.

• The Malik McDowell ATV accident was the biggest downer of camp. I’d be surprised if he plays this season. The hope the Seahawks had in drafting him was to improve the inside pass-rush on passing downs. I’m sure the team will renegotiate his contract and start planning on the future. If the team gets anything out of him this year it will be a bonus.

• An interesting player to watch is defensive tackle Jarran Reed. The team used him more on running downs as a rookie in 2016, and he did well. This year he’s a little trimmer and being looked at as an inside pass-rusher, and he’s showing some promise. Third-round pick Nazair Jones is fitting in well as a run-stopping defensive tackle.

• While Frank Clark was out both from a sore knee and as a penalty for punching Germain Ifedi in the face, Cassius Marsh looked great in pass-rush situations. You know he’s one of the core group players on special teams, but Marsh could be a factor for Seattle’s pass defense this season.

• Don’t count out Rees Odhiambo for the left guard job. Odhiambo has had an excellent offseason. You know with an $8 million salary that Luke Joeckel will start somewhere on the left side of the line. If Odhiambo keeps doing well, it could be Joeckel over George Fant at left tackle.

• Second-round choice Ethan Pocic had worked exclusively at right tackle up until Wednesday. The fact that he hadn’t done anything at center for so long could be tipping off that he’s in a great battle with Ifedi for the starting right tackle job. It also indicates that the Seahawks could go with Joey Hunt again as the backup center.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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