Clayton: First impressions from Seahawks rookie minicamp
The three-day Seahawks minicamp had a few surprises and left me with some interesting impressions of the 2018 draft class.
Changes in the coaching staff were noticeable. Brian Schottenheimer is the clear voice for the offense. He’s involved; constantly directing the quarterback and working with the offensive players. Ken Norton Jr. was vocal as the defensive coordinator.
Let’s look at 10 observations from minicamp.
1. Seventh-round pick QB Alex McGough was one of the stars of the camp. His strong arm and accuracy even caught Pete Carroll by surprise. For three days, McGough was completing just about everything. Where the initial thought was he could be cut and re-signed to the practice squad, McGough is a clear candidate to be the backup quarterback. Two years ago, Trevone Boykin won the backup job in training camp as an undrafted free agent. McGough looks better and has a great chance of making the roster. He will battle Austin Davis.
2. First-round pick RB Rashaad Penny put on a show in the passing game. He’s a natural pass-catcher out of the backfield. He caught a couple of back-shoulder throws. His running style is smooth and natural. It’s easy to see why general manager John Schneider favored him as a first-round pick.
3. Penny’s timing for value couldn’t be better. The proposed changes in the kickoff rules should get him on the field as a returner. Under the rules proposed by the Competition Committee, the return team can only have three players back near the goalline to block or return. One thought by special teams coaches is to put two or three players back as returners instead of having just one returner back. That means Tyler Lockett and Penny could be back fielding kicks.
4. Michael Dickson is the real deal as a punter. He can boom the ball 60 yards with great hangtime. He can drop kick 50 yards. His Australian style also puts in position to possibly create turnovers with his kicks. His kicks come down with a twist that creates problems for the returner.
5. Shaquem Griffin shows great mobility and range with his role as a weakside linebacker. As he learns, he could be good in coverage. Because of the limited contact in minicamp, he couldn’t show any of his tackling ability.
6. Tre Flowers looked encouraging lining up at cornerback. The former college safety has the perfect body to fit the Seahawks coverage scheme. He’s 6-3 and looks imposing at the line of scrimmage. He seems to be a quick learner in picking up the footwork and the kick-step.
7. One of the most interesting undrafted signings is defensive tackle Poona Ford. He has the potential to be a decent run-stopper. He’s 5-11, 312 pounds and looks like a shorter version of Brandon Mebane.
8. Tryout wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow showed decent play-making ability in the passing game. There is a decent chance the Seahawks could sign him. Running back De’Shawn Jones also could get a contract.
9. Defensive-end-linebacker Jacob Martin showed good movement and could get involved a little bit this season. He’s getting looks at the Leo position on the defensive line and as strong side linebacker.
10. Don’t count out the chances of tight end Tyrone Swoopes pushing for a roster spot. Even though the team is pretty well set at tight end with Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett and Will Dissly, Swoopes can catch the ball and get downfield. Though this won’t play into anything on the field, Swoopes, a former quarterback, has a strong arm. After a Dickson punt, Swoopes fired the ball back to him with a 50-yard toss.