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Seahawks Buy or Sell: 3 players Pete Carroll says will ‘be a factor’

New Seahawks DT Robert Nkemdiche hasn't played in the NFL since 2019. (Getty)

With the Seahawks holding minicamp this week, they have reached the “unfettered optimism” portion of the offseason, as 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil put it. And when Pete Carroll is the head coach, you can always expect some nice things being said about a lot of players every June.

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Wednesday on Danny and Gallant, the hosts along with former Seahawks wide receiver Michael Bumpus went through a list of three under-the-radar players Carroll highlighted when he talked to the media on Tuesday, looking to determine whether they were buying or selling what Carroll had to say about them.

Let’s go through the list and how they reacted to Carroll’s comments.

Tight end Colby Parkinson

Who is he: A fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2020, the 6-foot-7 Parkinson was slowed by injury last season and played sparingly in just six games, making two receptions for 12 yards.

What Carroll said: “Colby’s going to be a factor. There’s nothing to keep him from being a factor. At 6-7, he’s got a target that’s just obviously unique, but he’s got great hands, he’s a natural catcher, his catching range is normal – he can use it all. He gets off the ground well too when he has to. He’s a really bright player, he picks stuff up. Because of the time he missed on the field with us, he really dove into the strength program, and he’s just pumped up.”

Bumpus’ reaction: “A factor? How big of a factor? I think we’ll see him on the field. What did he have, two targets last year? I think he’ll get more than two targets. But what do you expect Pete to say? He’s going to point out all the positives about every player, every chance that he gets. I don’t think he’s lying. I think (Parkinson) has great range, I think his hands are good, he can get up, he’s a tall dude, big target. All that stuff seems fair to me. But what (Carroll) is not going to say is, ‘Man, but we got two really good tight ends (Gerald Everett and Will Dissly) in front of him. It’s going to be hard to get him on the field unless we get down in the red zone on the goal line and there’s a package for him there.’ That’s the truth about this whole thing. Yeah, Colby can do all of that stuff, but you have two guys in front that are proven so he’s going to have to wait his turn.”

Verdict: Sell.

Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche

Who is he: A 2016 first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Nkemdiche joined the Seahawks as a free agent this offseason. A knee injury not only ended a strong 2018 campaign with Arizona but resulted in him being waived prior to the next season, and he has not played in the NFL since he was cut by Miami after playing two games with the Dolphins in 2019.

What Carroll said: “Really good spirit about him. He’s upbeat, active. He’s explosive and has really good quickness. He’s over 300 pounds and he moves really well. He’s going to be a really competitive part of this group. He’s a little different than some of the other guys. We see some flexibility where we can play him and move him around. I’m hoping for his sake, because he’d been out of football for a bit, that everything just keeps moving along because he is applying himself. His mentality is like he has a second chance on his football life. … We think he’s going to be a factor.”

Bumpus’ reaction: “If a coach were asked to describe me and the first thing he said was, ‘He’s upbeat, he’s this, he’s that,’ that’s bad for me. Talk about my abilities as a football player. … That’s kind of a red flag for me. Can he help this team? I’m sure he can help in some type of way, but I don’t think they’re dependent on him right now. … I hear, ‘Yes, we like him, but there are other guys who will probably beat him out.'”

Verdict: Sell.

Defensive back Marquise Blair

Who is he: A second-round pick by the Seahawks in 2019, Blair seemed primed to make an impact in 2020 but saw his season ended abruptly in Week 2 by a torn ACL. Drafted as a safety, Blair is in the mix at nickel cornerback for the Seahawks along with fellow 2019 draft selection Ugo Amadi.

What Carroll said: “He should really be able to make a difference. What we saw of him from last year’s camp, we were really fired up about his addition. He was going to play a ton. He’s stronger now than he was a year ago at this time, more physically fit in general. Really a high bar that we’re shooting for with him and really expect him to be a big factor.”

Related: Jake Heaps on why Carroll has set a high bar for Marquise Blair

O’Neil’s reaction: “I don’t know what to make of Marquise Blair, man. I thought he should have played more as a rookie because all he did was knock people’s heads off, and maybe they didn’t trust him. We were hoping for big things from him last year but it was kind of a stretch. He was going to be playing nickel corner, but he’s a safety – he’s always been an in-the-box safety. And then he got hurt and was lost for the year before he really got a chance to get going. I find myself not assuming he’s going to do anything. I’m waiting to be pleasantly surprised. I’m not counting on him this year, though.”

Bumpus’ reaction: “I’m assuming. I really think this dude is going to help this defense just because of what we saw in just a snippet last year. … You felt Marquise Blair on the field. The challenge for him is going to be mental. Can you put your foot in the ground and drive that knee with confidence and break on the ball like you used to and play with that recklessness? That’s what made him special. He’s only a buck-eighty-five. He’s not a big dude. But the way he played the game – aggressive, downhill – it’s what made him special. I’m assuming, man. I believe in this dude, I think he’s mentally tough, I think he’s going to be out there and I think he’s going to be a good player for this defense.”

Bonus – Where he fits: “He’s the first guy off the bench. He’s the sixth man. He’s Jamal Crawford,” Bumpus said. “He’s the guy who’s going to come in and flash for 20, 25 plays. Start him off on special teams, going to make a couple big hits there. I don’t think he’s going to be a guy that you count on every single down, but he’s going to be that change-up every now and then who’s going to make a play. … This is a guy that you need to make about 10 plays every year. A third-down stop, a big hit, maybe a tackle on special teams. I think he’s going to contribute a lot in many different areas, not just at that nickel spot.”

Verdict: Danny says sell, Michael says buy.

You can listen to the full conversation in the second half of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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