There is plenty to talk about this week when it comes to the Seattle Seahawks. Doug Baldwin has signed a three year, $13 million deal, Earl Thomas is the frontrunner for returning punts, and then there’s the mystery of which undrafted rookies have the best shot the grab a spot on the final roster for the 2014 campaign. Let’s take these in order, shall we?
I love that Baldwin has been locked up for another three years. Him signing a deal was always a guarantee in my mind, and now the question marks can stop swirling surrounding the man out of Stanford. Baldwin was Russell Wilson’s go-to guy last season, grabbing 50 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season. He shone in the playoffs, particularly the NFC Championship when he caught six balls for 106 yards. Baldwin was always clutch for the Seahawks, and I’m very glad he’ll be a Hawk for years to come.
Next up is the news that Earl Thomas is the top guy on the list to be the punt returner for this season. When I first heard it, I was a little puzzled because my first choice would be Percy Harvin. Sure, Harvin’s a better kick returner, but his agility and acceleration is still ideal for a punt returner. I suppose they want to limit the opportunities for Harvin to get injured because the coaches would rather have Harvin available for the starting offense, but then putting your star safety out there is dangerous. Thomas does have great quickness to replace Golden Tate as the punt returner, but I don’t want Thomas to pick up an injury returning punts. He’s crucial to the Legion of Boom and the defense in general.
Of course, one could argue that he was already involved with special teams, namely on the kickoff team, so putting him at punt returner as well isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a fair point, but I just think it’s a little risky. But hey, if Thomas gives Russell Wilson good field position and doesn’t take a cheap hit that sidelines him, I’ll cheer the decision on with the rest of the 12th Man.
Finally, plenty of undrafted rookies are going to be vying for a spot on this year’s roster. One who I’m sure many Seattle fans will be watching is quarterback Keith Price out of Washington. He sits behind Tarvaris Jackson, B.J. Daniels, and Terrelle Pryor, but he has a very good chance of making the team. In his three years as a starter at Washington, he completed 64 percent of his passes, and threw for 8,921 yards and 75 touchdowns. He was overlooked in the draft, but this 6’1″ quarterback might sneak his way past these other backups and make the team.
I also like the looks of Oklahoma sooner Bronson Irwin, who’s listed as a guard. He finished his college career playing tackle, so he’s got some versatility in him. At 6’4″ and 316 pounds, he’s also got great size. It’ll be tough for him to grab a spot, because Garry Gilliam, a fellow undrafted rookie, is more suited at tackle, which is a position of need for the Seattle Seahawks in the wake of Garrett Scott’s heart condition. Irwin’s a tough and gritty Big 12 lineman, and he could definitely turn some heads this summer.
Finally, linebacker Horace Miller out of UTEP stands out. He boasts great speed for an outside linebacker, running a 4.44 40-yard dash. He also displayed a 37.5 inch vertical, very solid for a 6’0″ guy. He has great burst at the snap and is capable of fighting off offensive tackles. I can see him being a great weak side pass rusher for the Seahawks. Initially, he could be an asset on special teams, but if some linebackers like Malcolm Smith depart at the end of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller rise to the occasion and grab an outside linebacker spot. Check out this highlight video to see what I’m talking about.
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