Seahawks made John Ursua nervous during draft, but now he’s in WR mix
There was a moment when rookie Seahawks wide receiver John Ursua didn’t think he would be here.
As the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was underway, Ursua started to consider the idea that he may go undrafted. The Seahawks had shown some interest in him, but as far as he knew they didn’t have any picks left.
“Yeah, I was really nervous as soon as that sixth round ended,” Ursua told John Clayton show producer Maura Dooley in an interview that will air Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle. “I just kind of said to myself, OK, I’m not sure if this is going to happen. I did take a 30 visit [NFL teams are allowed a private visit with a maximum of 30 draft prospects] out here about a month before and so I knew there was some interest, but I knew going into the seventh they didn’t have a seventh-round pick.”
The Seahawks may not have have had a seventh-round pick at the time, but they went out of their way to get one – and take Ursua with it.
“I was quite nervous, but as soon as I got the call I was just beyond happy,” Ursua said. “I was full of joy. I was there with my family. It was just a memory I’ll never forget.”
Now that he’s competing for a spot with the Seahawks, the former University of Hawaii standout wants to soak up everything he can from working with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Man, just to experience his greatness and just to be able to call him a teammate is such a blessing and an honor because you’re just in the presence of greatness every day you step out onto the field. It’s beautiful because I get to learn from him and he’s one of the best in the league.”
Learning from Wilson became a more intimate experience this offseason when Seattle’s quarterback hosted his own “summer camp” in San Diego for his teammates. Ursua was one of the receivers that participated and said it was huge for the rookies on the offense.
“That was the whole point of it you know, for him to get us out there and to bond, to build that camaraderie amongst each other. To be able to go out there and do that and to be welcomed to his house and everything, it was just a huge builder for all of us,” he said. “I couldn’t pass that up. That was just a time of my life. … Being able to meet him and Ciara and everything, that was all cool, so it was fun.”
It wasn’t just football that Ursua bonded with Wilson over. Ursua grew up playing basketball and apparently he and Russell made quite the tandem, as you can see on Russell’s Summer Camp video series on YouTube.
When asked about their dominance on the court, Ursua doesn’t hesitate to confirm.
“Oh yeah, we were 14-0 until… we were going to stop at 15, so we’re like hey, if we get 15 we’re done. We went 14-0 and then DK (Metcalf) and Keenan Reynolds beat us that 15th game, but we were unstoppable. We gave everybody a chance to have fun and play but they couldn’t beat us.”
Ursua is also not shy about saying that others on the offense need to stick to football but would not name names.
“Yeah, there were some guys that could not shoot to save their lives, and every time somehow they’d get through to the next round and they’d still win and it’s just unbelievable. But it’s great for us to watch because it’s just humorous. These guys, they’re grown and they can’t even shoot a hoop. So it’s kind of funny but we had a good time in there.”
Moving back to football, Ursua freely admits that learning the Seahawks playbook was a bit overwhelming at first.
“Oh, it’s become a lot more comfortable. You know OTAs were a struggle for me, I’m not going to lie. I came out almost every day and I got nervous every time I had to go in there and just hear the play call. Now that it’s becoming a lot more comfortable and I’m in the room studying and at the hotel, it’s just become so much more natural and I get to have more fun while I’m out there. So it’s just been fun learning.”
So what can Ursua bring to Seattle’s offense?
“I think I have a dynamic explosiveness, as far as yards after the catch or where I can get open on quick release routes and find open spaces. I did that all throughout college and I think I’m going to bring those same attributes into the NFL.”
That dynamic explosiveness led to 1,343 receiving yards (fifth in the FBS) at Hawaii last year, catching the eye of Seahawks GM John Schneider. After the draft, Schneider told the media: “John has been honestly one of our favorite players throughout the whole process. He had an awesome visit with us, led the nation with 16 touchdowns. He is going to come in and compete for that slot spot.”
Ursua will get a chance to compete for that spot Thursday night in the Seahawks preseason opener against the Denver Broncos, but is he properly prepared for the 12s?
“I have no idea. I heard… when I came for my 30 visit, they said this is the loudest stadium you’ll ever play at and I just got the chills,” Ursua said. “So I can’t even imagine because like when these guys decide to cheer at practice it’s loud so I can’t even imagine what it’s like in the stadium. I’m just excited to play amongst a crowd like that, a fan base who really loves us and is supportive of us, so that’s going to be a new thing, a new challenge for me. But I always tend to block that out and just try to focus on the game.”
You can hear the full interview with Ursua in this podcast of Thursday’s edition of John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle.