How Seahawks’ rookie draft class did in preseason opener

Aug 13, 2022, 8:17 PM

Seahawks Boye Mafe...

Kenny Pickett scrambles out of the pocket under pressure from Boye Mafe during a preseason game on August 13, 2022. (Justin Berl/Getty Images)

(Justin Berl/Getty Images)

The Seahawks wrapped up their first preseason game Saturday night in Pittsburgh, falling 32-25 to the Steelers.

Fast Facts: Seahawks fall 32-25 to Steelers as QB battle on display

While all eyes were on the quarterback battle between Geno Smith and Drew Lock, there was also a lot to see from Seattle’s rookie draft class, which many believe was among the best draft classes this year and could be one of the Seahawks’ best draft hauls in years.

The Seahawks drafted nine players in April, and all but one – sixth round pass rusher Tyreke Smith – played in Pittsburgh. And they all played a lot.

So, let’s dive in to how those Seahawks draft picks did Saturday night, as well as see what head coach Pete Carroll had to say about their performance.

OTs Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas

The Seahawks used the No. 9 overall pick to nab left tackle Charles Cross of Mississippi State, then went local in the third round with WSU right tackle Abraham Lucas, who is a local product from Everett.

Cross, who started at left tackle, played all of the first half and a bit more early in the second half, while Lucas played a great deal in the first half and well into the second half.

It can be hard to evaluate offensive linemen, especially in the preseason, but Carroll not only felt that the O-line performed very well for Seattle on Saturday but that both rookies had fine showings, as well.

“The guys up front blocked really well and we protected really well. Both the young tackles did a nice job and got some good stuff done,” Carroll said in his postgame press conference. “I can’t wait to watch them on film. But overall, the coaches were really pleased with what they accomplished today.”

Cross appeared to look the part of a first-round pick with his play while Lucas had one flash where he mauled a Steelers defender on a run play in the first half.

Seattle ran for 159 yards in the preseason opener, which Carroll said shows that the rookies and their fellow linemen “really did a good job.”

DE/OLB Boye Mafe

If any Seahawks rookie flashed on Saturday, it was second-round pass rusher Boye Mafe.

Mafe, the 40th overall pick from Minnesota, had three tackles, two of which were sacks. The other was an open-field tackle on a long punt return.

Both sacks were especially notable as Mafe’s first was a strip sack in the first half, and his second came late in the fourth quarter on fourth down in a tie game, giving the Seahawks the ball back with a chance to win.


“A great stop by Boye Mafe on a beautiful play,” Carroll said. ” … That was a great play by Mafe and gave us a chance to come back and win the football game.”

“I’m really anxious to watch Boye and see how he did because he had a couple big plays – he might have missed one, too,” Carroll added later. “That’s what we were hoping to see from him.”

RB Ken Walker III

Carroll didn’t give any specifics on the play of Ken Walker III, Seattle’s second-round pick out of Michigan State, but Walker started the game at running back with Rashaad Penny out. He ran the ball five times for 19 yards and caught his lone target for 11 yards.

“All the running backs ran well,” Carroll said, later adding, “Every running back ran well. They all had numbers.”

CBs Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen

Saturday was a big day for the future of the Seahawks’ secondary as veteran cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Artie Burns were out due to injury, meaning fourth-round pick Coby Bryant of Cincinnati and fifth-rounder Tariq Woolen of UTSA were set to play a lot in Pittsburgh.

That was exactly what happened, and both had up-and-down outings.

Woolen was targeted early, and on the Steelers’ first drive he made one nice play in coverage, missed a tackle and then appeared to be playing man defense while the rest of his teammates were in zone. That play resulted in an easy Pittsburgh touchdown.

“We made a mistake there,” Carroll said.

As for Bryant, he made a few nice tackles in the open field but also got beat by receiver George Pickens on a deep touchdown that was both a great catch and a great throw by quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Bryant tallied three tackles while Woolen recorded one and was tagged for a defensive hands to the face penalty on a play where Bryant appeared to miss a tackle.

“I thought they got beat around a little bit. They had some plays to make,” Carroll said. “Maybe (there were) some jitters and all that. The first drive, missed tackle from Woolen.”

All that being said, Carroll felt Saturday was a big day for the two cornerbacks, both of whom have been impressing in practices.

“Those guys can make all those plays. Every play that happened to them, they’ve been making (in camp), so they’ll do better,” Carroll said. “It was a great experience from them.”

WRs Bo Melton and Dareke Young

Seattle took a pair of receivers in the seventh round with Rutgers’ Bo Melton and Lenoir-Rhyne’s Dareke Young.

The Seahawks had a number of receivers unavailable Saturday so the two late-round picks got plenty of playing time with both Smith and Lock under center.

For Melton, he caught two of his three targets for 47 yards, with one of the catches going for 39 yards, the longest pass play of the game for both teams. He also dropped one pass from Smith.

As for Young, he led the Seahawks in targets with five and catches with four. He tallied 30 yards and caught a touchdown from Lock in the third quarter.

The Seahawks continue preseason play at 5 p.m. Thursday against the Chicago Bears at Lumen Field. Coverage will be carried on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM, the flagships of the Seahawks Radio Network, beginning with the pregame show at 3 p.m.

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