BUMP AND STACY

Seahawks Breakdown: Bump & Stacy’s 4 minicamp takeaways

Jun 11, 2023, 7:34 PM

Seattle Seahawks minicamp Pete Carroll...

Head coach Pete Carroll walks through Seattle Seahawks minicamp on June 8, 2023. (Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

(Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

The Seattle Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp is in the books, and there’s a lot that stood out and worth talking about. On Friday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, they did exactly that.

Video: Best of Seattle Sports’ Seahawks interviews from minicamp

Hosts Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost spent a couple segments going through their four biggest takeaways following the minicamp, with some help from head coach Pete Carroll’s Thursday press conference that wrapped up the week at team headquarters in Renton.

Here’s a breakdown of Bump and Stacy’s takeaways.

No. 1: Seattle Seahawks’ defense has a lot to work with.

That’s especially true at one particular position.

“The secondary is deep,” said Bumpus, a former NFL wide receiver who now serves as a Pac-12 Network analyst and host of the Seahawks Radio Network pregame, halftime and postgame shows. “… I think the secondary is the deepest position on this team, probably. There’s a lot of talent over there, and we’re gonna see everyone touch the field. That’s the best part about that group.”

Bumpus listed off the notable defensive backs Seattle has, including first-round rookie Devon Witherspoon, Pro Bowler Tariq Woolen, and young players Tre Brown and Coby Bryant, and that’s just cornerback alone. Perhaps most notable, though, is the cornerback who Carroll said had the best minicamp of any player.

“Michael Jackson’s had the best camp of anybody,” Carroll said. “He had a great camp, and he’s stepped up for the challenge of it. Had just a really productive, almost a dominant camp for us, and so that was great to see. We need it.”

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A fifth-round pick by the Cowboys in 2019 out of Miami, Jackson has gone under the radar even though he started all 17 games at corner for Seattle last season, his second with the team. With Woolen sidelined while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, the 26-year-old Jackson is picking up the ball and running with it.

“Mike challenged whenever he could. All of the techniques, all of the stuff that we asked him to do, playing on both sides, inside,” Carroll said. “His confidence is really at all-time high for him and I know that when he saw Tariq (Woolen) go down, it was important for him to step so that we felt secure, we’d be OK, that we could carry on. And he just rose to this camp, and really, through all the weeks he’s been great. So he’s ready to play.”

Rost talked about how this is different than other secondaries for Seattle in the post-Legion of Boom era.

“It’s like that monster where you cut off a head and two more grow,” she said. “That’s kind of how I feel about the secondary right now, which feels really good to say because while the secondary was solid last year – they saw an improvement in their total pass defense – this has not been the story throughout the entirety of Pete Carroll’s tenure. There was a time, and we can all think about it, when this team was rolling out names where you were like, ‘Would this guy be a starter on any other team?’ The secondary had some big questions, and now it feels nice to know that those questions are immediately answered.”

No. 2: Olu is right in the middle of the center battle.

It’s not every day that you see a fifth-round rookie starting at center. And that’s not to say that Olu Oluwatimi, who the Seahawks drafted out of Michigan with the 154th overall pick, is going to be the exception. But he’s certainly not out of the race.

“It’s too early to really say anything about the competition of it, but Olu looked really good,” Carroll said. “He did really well. There’s no question that he can handle it. He’s physically fit to do it and smarts-wise, no problems. It’s just going to be a battle and we’ll see what happens, and we’ll just take our time. There’s no rush on that one. He’s getting a ton of work, as is Joey (Hunt). We’ve got a good rotation going with him. He’s played with the ones in and out to make sure that we see that, so we’ll just play it out. But I’m really encouraged by what he’s brought to us.”

Bump’s take on that?

“I hear that he’s in the fight,” Bumpus said of Oluwatimi. “He’s in the rotation, he’s playing with the ones. And I think Pete Carroll and these guys know that they haven’t had a for-sure, rock solid center in a while. Thank you, Austin Blythe – held it down for a while. Justin Britt held it down for a while. Kyle Fuller had his time to hold it down. But you haven’t seen a solid, ‘This is our guy’ center since Max Unger. That’s one of the main spots that’s been missing on this offensive line. So I think that (Carroll) is optimistic, but you hear it in his voice it’s not a for-sure thing. Because you realize at the center spot, you have to know everything that’s going on, you’ve got to be able to communicate with these veterans. There’s no room for error at that center spot. That’s why you have a guy like Evan Brown here just in case, as well.

“I look at the center spot kind of like a QB. You draft a center, you want him to be able to come in and be the guy right now, but in some cases he’s just not ready because there’s so much that you have to learn.”

That’s not stopping both Bump and Stacy from dreaming of what the Seahawks could have brewing on the offensive line after tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas both had strong rookie campaigns in 2022, and with fourth-round guard Anthony Bradford out of LSU now in the mix.

“How beautiful would it be if they found their center for the next five years in Olu? Because that has been a position that’s struggled,” Bumpus said. “… It just hasn’t been as consistent as it was back in the day.”

Added Rost: “If Anthony Bradford could also work out, I love the idea of having an offensive line that is all within two, three years of each other. Think of how long it’s been since you’ve had something like that.”

Listen to Bump and Stacy’s full discussion about their first two Seattle Seahawks minicamp takeaways in the podcast below.

No. 3: Seattle is open to starting a rookie nose tackle.

The Seahawks didn’t make a splash early in the draft at nose tackle, even though that is something many hoped they would do. But even though the nose tackle they did draft, Cameron Young of Mississippi State, is a fourth-rounder, don’t count him out from playing right away.

“It is a spot that guys can play early because there’s only so many things that can happen in there,” Carroll said, referring to Young and his position.  “It’s all hard, down and dirty, nasty and all that, and he’s definitely got all that in his background. He’s played all the hard stuff and so he’ll be fine.”

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Carroll added about nose tackle that the Seahawks are “still competing, you know. We’re looking.” But there’s something to be said for how open he seemed to plugging Young in at the spot.

“There are a few positions in this league where you can expect production right away. One would be the defensive line,” Bumpus said. “… Pete described it perfectly. There’s only so many things you can do at nose tackle. ‘Alright, you’re gonna line up on the right side of the center. The left side of the center.’ … So his job is just to clog the gaps, you know I’m saying? Clog the gaps, get after the quarterback, be stout against the run. So when (a nose tackle) opens up the playbook, it’s not like you are a linebacker or a receiver where you have adjustments, you got to line up in a certain formation. There’s so much to think about once you get outside the perimeter – in the box, as well, especially that linebacker spot – and then I’m not knocking offensive linemen, either. But D-line is where you go, ‘Look, I’m just a good athlete. I’m gonna go forward and I’m gonna apply pressure on this offensive line.'”

No. 4: The Seattle Seahawks have some strong UDFAs.

Carroll said he tries to avoid talking about undrafted free agents this early in the offseason, likely because he doesn’t want to tip off other teams about players the Seahawks may want to eventually sneak onto their practice squad. But he couldn’t help himself when it came to two players: safety Jonathan Sutherland out of Penn State and wide receiver Jake Bobo from UCLA.

“We rarely talk about those guys this time of year, but Jonathan did a really good job. I don’t mind saying that,” Carroll said. “I thought he did an excellent job. He and Jake Bobo were probably the (UDFA) guys that did the best for us. They really stood out, so we’re fortunate to get two or three, maybe four guys out of that group that might have a chance to compete to play. So that’s a big deal.”

Sutherland is part of the aforementioned secondary group that is plenty deep, though, so he and Bobo will both need to show value beyond their regular positions.

“He’s playing in one of the most crowded rooms out there,” Bumpus said of Sutherland. “He’s at safety, but he can make an impact on special teams. Jake Bobo might be a secret weapon that they can use as a fourth or fifth receiver. We’ll see how that works out. He’s just got to be good on special teams, but that’s what you’re looking for.”

You can hear the full discussion of Bump and Stacy’s third and fourth takeaways in the final segment of the podcast below.

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