WR Kenny Lawler shows off hands at Seahawks’ rookie minicamp
RENTON – Rookie receiver Kenny Lawler will give the Seahawks a great pair of hands as long as he can add a few more pounds.
Center Joey Hunt, on the other hand, is more vertically challenged, though technically sound, and defensive tackle Jarran Reed isn’t all that bad a place kicker. Seriously. He made two field-goal attempts to end Sunday’s practice.
But as important as first impressions were for Seattle’s rookie class, the biggest piece of news from Seattle’s rookie minicamp concerned a veteran: Justin Britt. After starting at right tackle as a rookie in 2014 and moving to left guard last season, Britt practiced at center during the team’s offseason workouts last week, though coach Pete Carroll emphasized that so far this is more of a test drive than an official position change.
“It’s an opportunity for us to mix our guys and see how we can get our best guys on the field,” Carroll said.
Britt’s work at center was first discussed by offensive line coach Tom Cable when he appeared on “The John Clayton Show” on Saturday on 710 ESPN Seattle. On Sunday after the rookie minicamp, Carroll expanded on the rationale behind the move.
“We’re trying to utilize the background that he has as we’re still a young group,” Carroll said. “The guy that knows the most and has the best communication and dialogue with Tom.”
Carroll said that there was some discussion of moving Britt to center last year when the team was trying to figure out its best line configuration. Instead, Britt went to left guard and Drew Nowak started the season at center.
Britt has been a two-year starter for the Seahawks, and Carroll pumped the brakes when asked about the significance of another position switch for Britt.
“We’ll just see what happens,” Carroll said. “We have no helmets on, we’re in phase two and we’re snapping the ball against nobody. Nobody’s out there. It’s just on air. So this is an opportunity to get as much info as possible, and last week he looked good. He looks very comfortable and very much at ease. It shows who he is and how he’s flexible and so we’ll see what we can develop.”
Hunt, the sixth-round pick out of TCU, is another option at center who was featured over the weekend. He stood out for, well, not standing out. Measured at just under 6 feet 2 inches tall at the NFL’s scouting combine, Hunt said his stature has been a cause for concern going back to high school when he was a defensive lineman. As for how it will factor in now that he’s in the NFL?
“It’s no question that it’s a factor that doesn’t help him,” Carroll said, “other than the fact that he always has good leverage. He’s always lower than the guy he’s playing against.”
There’s no doubt about the height of the only receiver Seattle chose among its 10 picks in this year’s draft. And Lawler, the 6-foot-2-inch wideout from California, didn’t take long to show why the Seahawks believed he had the best hands available in this draft.
On Friday, he caught a pass while falling out of bounds. He had another four grabs over the three days of practice that were just as impressive.
“He had a great camp,” Carroll said, “in that he showed us that he’s got a marvelous catching range. We thought he had as good a hands as anyone in the draft and felt very fortunate to get him where we did.”
Lawler is 15 pounds lighter than he was at the scouting combine, according to Carroll, which points to the reality that he does need to get stronger to fill out an extremely slight frame.
There are no doubts about Reed’s frame. The second-round pick was one of only two defensive players drafted by Seattle last weekend, and he played mostly the three-technique defensive tackle though Carroll said the exact alignment between Reed and Ahtyba Rubin has not been determined.
“Jarran can really jump right in and give us the stout play,” Carroll said. “He’s just got great savvy for the running game. He’ll play both spots for sure. Which one we feature him at, we’ll determine that later when we get back to camp.”
On this weekend, though, Reed put the punctuation mark on the rookie workouts making two field-goal attempts to win the impromptu kicking competition against Germain Ifedi, the Seahawks’ first-round pick.