ESPN’s Orlovsky: Seahawks ‘closer’ than it seems thanks to rookie class

Aug 18, 2022, 9:17 AM | Updated: 11:48 am

Seahawks Pete Carroll...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll looks on during a preseason game against the Steelers on Aug. 13. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

While much of the focus of the Seahawks’ offseason has been at quarterback, there’s still plenty of intrigue when it comes to the rest of the roster, especially their nine-man rookie draft class.

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Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback who is now an analyst at ESPN, joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM Wednesday morning and shared his thoughts on the state of the Seahawks’ roster, with much of the focus being on the rookies.

Overall, Orlovsky feels Seattle is a year away from really competing again because he thinks that team has rookies that should be pretty good players. One in particular who caught his eye when he watched Tuesday’s practice was cornerback Tariq Woolen, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick from UTSA. Woolen made a handful of “big plays” at practice, and a lot of his work came in the red zone against star receiver DK Metcalf.

Orlovsky shared an interesting story about Woolen from talking after practice to Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, who was Orlovsky’s teammate on the Detroit Lions a few years ago.

“I was talking with him after practice and we were talking about Tariq and he was like, in practice when they call man coverage, they give Quandre the freedom to go roam and help wherever he kind of wants given what the play is or whatnot,” Orlovsky shared with Mike Salk. “And (Diggs) purposely never helps Tariq when DK is out there or (Tyler Lockett) is out there because he wants him to go and know that, like, ‘You’re by yourself, champ. And if you can handle it by yourself in practice versus those two guys, you can play versus anyone in the league.’ And that was a really impressive thing to hear from him, so I think (Woolen’s) been super impressive.”

Other rookies who have caught Orlovsky’s eye are second-round edge rusher Boye Mafe, first-round tackle Charles Cross and third-round tackle Abraham Lucas.

“I thought Boye Mafe popped on tape. He was impressive yesterday,” he said, later adding, “Abraham Lucas, I think just standing there yesterday watching him, he’s an enormous human being, and Charles Cross at left tackle looks like a really good player … I think their draft class looks really good. So I think they’re closer than I felt before yesterday just watching their young talent.”

Orlovsky thinks Seattle’s Thursday night preseason game against the Chicago Bears is an interesting contrast between the two opponents.

“Chicago, I would sit here and tell you you’ve got to feel pretty darn good about the talent you have a quarterback, but your roster is just so bad,” Orlovsky said of the Bears. “And I think if you’re Seattle, you’re sitting here going, ‘We feel like our roster’s pretty good (with) young talent. We just don’t have a quarterback right now that we know.'”

Speaking of the quarterback, that will look different for the Seahawks as they traded Russell Wilson to Denver this offseason and are now in the midst of a competition between Drew Lock and Geno Smith.

“Pete Carroll said something yesterday (that was) interesting. He said, ‘You get out of whack when the quarterback becomes the whole picture,’ and I think they kind of took a step back and said they want the whole picture to be all 53 (players on the roster),” Orlovsky said. “I don’t want to sit here and say they feel like they got out of whack in regards to that, but they maybe sat and said, ‘OK, Russ feels this way, this is the value we can get for him. Can we recalibrate, so to speak, our roster makeup so the quarterback doesn’t have to burden as much?’ And I think that that’s their viewpoint right now is they want to rebuild it as a complete 53-man team and the quarterback just being one piece.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

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ESPN’s Orlovsky: Seahawks ‘closer’ than it seems thanks to rookie class