McIntyre: A look at the local talent at Seahawks rookie minicamp
A total of 68 players took the field at Seahawks headquarters in Renton for rookie minicamp this weekend, all vying for a coveted roster spot on the Seahawks. Each player, while dominant in their own right in college, is fighting for their dream of playing in the NFL.
With the Seahawks being the only franchise in the Pacific Northwest, the team perhaps had a special eye on the six in camp who lived out their college careers in the state of Washington.
Let’s meet them, shall we?
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, UW Huskies
Granted, you’ve probably been introduced to the hard-hitting linebacker out of Washington by now. But despite being drafted, he’s going through the same process as the other 67 players in rookie minicamp.
Affectionately referred to as “BBK” by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Burr-Kirven was drafted in the fifth round with the 142nd overall pick the previous weekend. He’s quite aware how special it is to stay ‘home.’
“I didn’t think there was that big a chance I’d get to stay – there’s 32 teams and only one can pick you. The way it worked out I got to stay in Seattle,” Burr-Kirven said after practice Saturday. “I knew the coach a little bit better than I probably would’ve any other place. I’m just happy I got to stay in Seattle.”
Jay-Tee Tiuli, DT, Eastern Washington Eagles
The Seattle native signed an undrafted rookie free-agent deal with the Seahawks, meaning for the time being he’ll stay put. Tiuli graduated from Federal Way High School in 2014, where he was named by The Seattle Times as a “White Chip” selection, designated to the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington.
Pursuing his professional career in his home state is all he could have hoped for.
“It’s a blessing to be around, stay home close to family, at the same time play for a great program,” Tiuli said. “I love the style of defense, so it’s just been a blessing.”
He added that he feels his time as an Eagle prepared him well for the opportunity.
“You always got to work to prove yourself,” he said after practice Saturday. “You always got to work to get to be where you want in the eyes of professionals.”
Logan Tago, DE, WSU Cougars
Tago was supposed to walk in his graduation ceremony on Saturday to receive his diploma with a degree in Social Sciences. The American Samoa native, however, couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to be on the field with an NFL team instead.
“I gotta do it in honor of what I love,” he said on Friday. “I love football and I always wanted to be an NFL player.”
Though Tago didn’t grow up in Washington and relishes any opportunity to play in the NFL, he did stress, “It means a lot to come back here.”
The pass rusher has an invite to Tennessee’s rookie minicamp next weekend, too, but says he’s completely focused on the Seahawks right now. Wherever he ultimately lands, he says putting on his first professional jersey in Seattle is a moment that will last a lifetime.
“Man, it was great. It was one of the best moments, especially of my football career,” Tago smiled. “To be able to be out here and perform at my best level, it was one of the best memories ever.”
James Moore, G, Central Washington Wildcats
The 6-foot-3, 301-pound guard from Tacoma has enough athletic accolades to fill out his extremely large frame, but the unfortunate side of playing Division II football is a lack of exposure. He did enough to garner the attention of Seahawks general manager John Schneider and earn an invite to camp, however.
Though listed as a guard on the Seahawks minicamp roster, he spent his college career as a tackle – a very, very good one. Moore’s senior season was the best of his career. He finished his 2018 campaign as one of the best tackles in D-II football, earning America Football Coaches Association All-American First Team honors and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award (not to mention an all-conference first team selection).
Moore didn’t allow a single sack in 2018 and paved the way for two 1,000-yard running backs, boosting CWU’s rushing attack to 10th overall in all of D-II. He’s been preparing for the next level ever since.
“I’m just going to take it to the next level, regarding the work ethic and the workload,” Moore told the Daily Record News upon declaring for the draft. “The whole process is going to change.”
Offensive line is a highly sought-after position throughout the NFL. Whether or not Moore remains in Seattle or continues his future elsewhere is yet to be seen, but he certainly has the talent to make a run at the pros.
Josh Lewis, CB, Eastern Washington Eagle
The Lakewood native definitely has experience against NFL-level talent. Three years defending current Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp in practice at Eastern on a daily basis is quite the prep work for a young defensive back.
Lewis had five interceptions in his senior season and a career-high 62 tackles, but he acknowledged Sunday the steep learning curve.
“It’s tough – I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough,” Lewis said. “The first day, everyone’s getting into the playbook. But yeah, it’s the NFL, so it’s tough. But it’s good – it’s a challenge, and as a competitor I love challenges.”
Being so close to home for his first professional experience has special meaning for Lewis. Inspired by his father, who passed away less than two months ago, he holds faith in the bigger plan.
“I know he’s watching over me,” Lewis said.
The competition is steep, but putting on that jersey was an important step for the young defensive back.
“It felt great – it was a little surreal, but everyone’s out here competing and that’s what I came for. It’s just a blessing to be here.”