JOHN CLAYTON

John Clayton’s observations from the Seahawks’ first open OTA practice

May 21, 2019, 11:48 PM | Updated: May 22, 2019, 12:05 pm
Amara Darboh, a third-round choice of the Seahawks in 2017, is back in the WR mix. (AP)...
Amara Darboh, a third-round choice of the Seahawks in 2017, is back in the WR mix. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks held their first OTA of the 2019 offseason that was open to local media Tuesday.

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This was the first time reporters could see both the Seahawks’ rookies and veterans on the field. In the big picture, the competition for playing time and roster spots is the deepest since 2013-14. This is a young team, and a fast team. Plus, the tempo of the practice was excellent.

Let’s get to 10 quick observations.

• Defensive linemen Ziggy Ansah, Nazair Jones, Al Woods and Jarran Reed didn’t practice because of injuries, but the team did a lot of interesting things with the pass rush. Although Rasheem Green and first-round choice L.J. Collier have the big bodies that fit the Michael Bennett five-technique position, there were times they worked both sides at defensive end. They showed quickness and strength.

• Strong-side linebacker Barkevious Mingo not only played at his usual spot but he got in the mix as an edge rusher, putting his hand on the ground to rush the quarterback. Mychal Kendricks also got some work at strong side linebacker and looked good.

• Linebacker Bobby Wagner wasn’t practicing but he was present at practice and tried to coach up a lot of the younger defenders. That is a good sign because it shows his dedication to the team. With him not holding out despite entering a contract year, his presence hints he should eventually sign an extension.

• Running back Chris Carson is out a couple of weeks recovering from a knee procedure. Rashaad Penny worked as the starter and had a couple of nice runs. What really was impressive was the speed and elusiveness from passing-down backs Travis Homer, a sixth-round choice, and J.D. McKissic. That should be a great training camp battle.

• It was weird to see a tall quarterback, but 6-foot-7 Paxton Lynch towered over everyone. With the 5-10 (and 5/8 of an inch) Russell Wilson as the starter, the Seahawks usually bring in shorter quarterbacks to back him up. Lynch looked encouraging, though. Geno Smith, who Seattle signed last week, wasn’t at practice Tuesday but he reportedly had a good throwing day Monday. Lynch versus Smith is the best backup QB battle since Pete Carroll’s first couple of years as head coach.

• Tyler Lockett got some work in the slot but he worked just about every spot at wide receiver. With the retirement of Doug Baldwin, Lockett gave the look of a player ready to be considered a No. 1 receiver.

• Don’t count Amara Darboh out in the battle at wide receiver. He came into OTAs in great shape and had a good day. Seventh-round pick John Ursua, meanwhile, looks very quick getting into his routes from the slot.

• At safety, Delano Hill sat out practice because of injury, and Bradley McDougal wasn’t in attendance because he is recovering from knee surgery. That gave Tedric Thompson time to work at free safety. Second-round pick Marquise Blair wasn’t with the first team, but he looks like a player who can challenge Hill at strong safety.

• Jacob Hollister was a surprising trade acquisition from the New England Patriots, but he showed good things at tight end. He’s considered a good blocker and good special teams player, but he also showed he can run good routes and make catches.

• Sensing he has a chance to challenge to be the No. 2 receiver, David Moore showed he worked hard on his game during the offseason. Another receiver to watch is Jaron Brown. Pete Carroll said Brown did great on touchdown routes, but they should have gotten him more into the offense last season.

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John Clayton’s observations from the Seahawks’ first open OTA practice