Clayton: 10 things we learned about Seahawks on Day 1 of the NFL combine
After many years of no change, the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis readjusted its week-long schedule.
Normally, coaches and general managers are scheduled for 15-minute interviews throughout the week. It’s the same for potential draft choices. To accommodate moving the workouts and 40-yard dashes on prime-time television starting Thursday, all but three of the coaches and general managers did their interviews on Tuesday. Quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers also did their media interviews on Tuesday.
It was a very busy day, and it gave us a chance to catch up with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. We also had a chance to talk to Washington quarterback Jacob Eason and Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon.
Let’s get you up to date with the 10 things we learned Tuesday at the combine.
• 1. Signing tight end Greg Olsen was a no-brainer for the Seahawks. Carroll loves how Russell Wilson had such a good relationship with Olsen that Wilson went into full blown recruiting mode. Wilson wants the Seahawks add stars. Olsen might be an aging star, but he’s a good offensive weapon and he buys time for Will Dissly to come back from his torn Achilles. Depth is now strong at tight end. In addition to Dissly, who is projected to be ready for the start of the regular season, and Olsen, the Seahawks have Jacob Hollister and Ed Dickson. Dickson could be a cap casualty.
• 2. Carroll didn’t rule out the chance that running back Rashaad Penny might have to be placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of the season. His torn ACL came so late in the season (Week 14) it might be a push to get him ready for Week 1. Carroll and Schneider said Penny is doing well with his rehab. Things are also going well for Chris Carson, who didn’t need hip surgery for his own season-ending injury. Carson can’t do much now because the hip needs to heal. Coaches and staff have a concern with Carson that because he is such a hard worker, he may try to do too much too early to get his body ready for football.
• 3. Schneider couldn’t be happier with his scouting staff. He added Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith as consultants, both of whom are great evaluators. Hall of Famer Steve Hutchinson has also been helping out as a consultant to review offensive linemen. This staff might be Schneider’s best, reminding NFL people of the staff Schneider was on when he worked for Ron Wolf with the Green Bay Packers.
• 4. Schneider and Carroll both acknowledged that the pass rush needs to be better. The Seahawks had only 28 sacks and the defense ranked 26th in yards allowed. Five defensive linemen are unrestricted free agents, a list that is headed by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks will meet with Clowney’s agent this week in Indy. He might end up as the highest-paid defensive player in free agency, which might force the Seahawks to look for other options along the defensive line.
• 5. Carroll expects good things from defensive ends Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier next season. Both are more 5-technique defensive ends similar to the role Michael Bennett had when he was in Seattle. The 5-technique is a bigger defensive end with pass-rush and run-stopping skills. The 5-technique can also move into a defensive tackle on pass-rush situation. If the Seahawks can get a good player from the 5-technique, they can look for a quicker pass-rusher at the LEO position, which occupies the end on the opposite side of the line.
• 6. The Seahawks know they need to add depth in the backfield with Penny, Carson and C.J. Prosise all coming back from injuries. Prosise is an unrestricted free agent.
• 7. Carroll had positive things to say about offensive lineman Jamarco Jones. He loves the versatility of Jones, who will be a candidate to start at right tackle or at guard. Carroll noted that Jones had offseason shoulder surgery but should be fine.
• 8. Schneider and all scouts are amazed at the depth at wide receiver in this year’s draft. There are between 20 and 25 wide receivers with third-round grades or better. Schneider said each year the receivers keep getting bigger and faster. The Seahawks hit it big last year with DK Metcalf, who was both big and fast.
• 9. Neither Carroll nor Schneider ruled out the possibility of bringing Marshawn Lynch back next season. Former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson thinks he could be a good short-yardage back and that Lynch might still want to play. Carroll did laugh at the thought Lynch might want to show up early to be a Seahawk next season, however. Lynch isn’t big on OTAs, mini-camp or early training camp practices.
• 10. The scouting report on Olsen is he runs exceptional routes against zone coverage. Carroll said if Dissly is ready early in the season, he will be on the field with Olsen. If there is a zone, Olsen could be a main candidate for the ball.