MIKE SALK

Salk: Seattle Seahawks observations from Week 1 of OTAs

May 26, 2023, 12:41 AM

Seattle Seahawks Devin Bush...

Seahawks LB Devin Bush during an OTA session on May 25, 2023. (Photo by Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

(Photo by Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

All 32 NFL teams have offseason activities at their facilities in May. I can’t imagine any of them have the same weather, views and beauty that the Seattle Seahawks enjoyed this week. Wow. Just a spectacular time to be on the shores of Lake Washington.

Unsurprisingly, the energy was high, the music was loud, and the pace was fairly crisp.

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Here are my top observations from watching the Seahawks OTAs thus far.

The Seattle Seahawks QBs

• Geno Smith is QB1. Yeah, this is obviously true. He took most of the reps and was the first to do everything. But this isn’t about order; it’s about command.

Watching these OTA practices last year, Geno looked like a guy trying to show he was deserving. Watching him this week, he looked like a guy in complete command. His passes had purpose. They had zip. And more often than not, they were caught. He just carried himself like he was in charge, and he threw the ball like you would expect from any starter in the NFL.

• As comfortable as Geno looked, the opposite was true for backup quarterback Drew Lock. He did throw a terrible interception to an underneath linebacker named Jonathan Sutherland that he never saw. That happens. But I was more struck by how the pace of the offense dropped off as soon as he took over. He simply did not have the same command nor presence that Geno displayed, and that unfortunately mirrors what we saw last year at this time.

If Lock wants to show that he is an NFL starter, I would think that path involves cleaning up both issues. Throw fewer picks and develop the command and leadership the position demands.

Defense

• Devin Bush is built like no other linebacker I have ever seen. He’s only 5 foot 11, and while he’s thick enough to play the position, he really looks like a safety. Maybe that is exacerbated by wearing No. 0, but I was shocked. That is until you see his calves. They are 100% linebacker calves and I’m guessing his speed combined with his thickness lets him play the position.

After a disastrous start to his career in Pittsburgh, the energetic Bush seems pretty darn excited to be in a new place where his style could really complement the other linebackers and fit with a coaching staff that is excited to use his speed.

• The outside linebacker competition/rotation is going to be fascinating to watch all year. Uchenna Nwosu is a likely starter, the most experienced and probably the most versatile of the group. But after that, it’s three young players that come in three different sizes.

Darrell Taylor is by far the smallest of this group. He looked noticeably thinner, maybe trying to enhance his speed and pass rush ability. He was also quieter than last year, making me wonder if he received the message of a second straight second-round pick made at his position. After being absent on Monday, I was happy to see him there since he is definitely going to have to compete for time.

Second-year linebacker Boye Mafe is one size up and he was the one starting opposite Nwosu. This will be a huge year for him as well, and it’s a chance for him to show that he is starting to understand the game in addition to his tremendous physical skills.

Finally, there is the XL version in the form of rookie Derick Hall. Simply put, he looks like a monster. Maybe it was seeing the No. 58 on him, but he reminded me a little of old Giants linebacker Carl Banks. He is really big – even bigger than Aaron Curry was when he was drafted – yet watching him drop into the flats during 7-on-7 passing drills, he didn’t look out of place or overly stiff. He should be able to set an edge right away.

Nwosu does it all. Taylor looks fast. Hall looks huge. And Mafe looks bigger than Taylor and faster than Hall. This might be the most intriguing position on the roster.

Pass catchers

• After hearing how wide receiver Dee Eskridge was the star of practice on Monday, I was excited to see if the hype was real. Unfortunately, he wasn’t present. Look, I know I can be an old man in preferring players that show up for voluntary activities, and I’m willing to relent that it isn’t quite as vital for veterans. But for a third-year receiver who has 17 total catches, has spent most of his career injured, and saw the team draft his likely replacement in the first round? If it was me, I would be there.

• One of the most experienced position groups in camp is at tight end, and they have some dudes there. I saw the Pro Football Focus ranking of tight ends that didn’t have any Seahawks in the top 15. Personally, I’d have some of their guys ahead of Gerald Everett, but whatever. They might not have one dude, but I can’t imagine there are too many teams with a better trio than Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson.

Parkinson, by the way, is a creature. Just an enormous presence.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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