RENTON – The much-anticipated debut of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle Seahawks gear took place on the team’s practice field Friday afternoon.
Wilson passed with flying colors.
The former University of Wisconsin player appeared in command leading Seattle’s offense during the first workout of the rookie minicamp, taking the majority of the snaps during the team portion of practice.
Some might debate Wilson’s ability to effectively play the position in the NFL at 5-foot-11, but they can’t question his fastball.
As advertised, Wilson showed a strong arm, played with great anticipation and was very accurate on most of his throws.
“He was putting the ball on the money,” former University of Washington receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “He was throwing great passes and putting the ball where it’s supposed to be, so how can you not catch it?”
Wilson quickly worked through his progressions and decisively delivered the ball on target most of the time. Not surprisingly, he fumbled a couple snaps. And yes, he had two balls batted down at the line of scrimmage.
But overall, Seattle’s third-round pick in this year’s draft put on an efficient, impressive display that likely puts him in the conversation of Seattle’s quarterback competition.
“It was great today,” Wilson said. “There was so much rhythm out there in practice. The offense did a great job, had great tempo. I felt really comfortable knowing the plays and knowing the terminology and getting in the huddle.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Wilson did everything he expected him to do.
“We wore him out,” Carroll said. “He went all day long, and he probably had like 70-something plays today, and he threw the ball a bunch. I thought he handled it really well – not beyond expectations in terms of handling the terminology at the line of scrimmage and the huddle and all of that, that’s no big deal to him. He seems like a vet in that regard.
“But he threw a lot of really good balls in a lot of tight windows today and did some good stuff. He had a little trouble on the deep ball – the defense played some things well. But all in all, I was really impressed with his first day. I was hoping it would look good, and it did, and he showed us some cool stuff today.”
Seattle’s first-round pick, pass rusher Bruce Irvin, also looked the part Friday, showing a quick initial burst off the line of scrimmage and looking stronger than expected against the running game, defensive line coach Todd Wash said.
“He’s as fast and athletic as we thought he was going to be,” Wash said. “He put a lot of pressure on himself, which first-round picks always do. He comes out and thinks he should have a sack every snap, which ain’t going to happen.
“But we were very impressed. He’s a heck of a lot stronger in the run game than we anticipated. When we get him on the (blocking) sled and get him in some one-on-one drills, he’s very powerful. So that was a great thing for us to see.”
For his part, Irvin said he was focused on staying in his lane.
“I’m not going to come in and try and do too much because that’s when you mess up,” Irvin said. “I’m going to come in and be Bruce, just like at West Virginia. I’m going to get in where I fit in.”
Irvin joked that he probably lost about 7 or 8 pounds during practice, saying practice in the NFL was much faster than in college
“Less water breaks,” Irvin said, laughing. “And Coach Wash, he’s an up-tempo guy. But I’ll get used to it.”
BARRON IN CAMP
Offensive tackle Alex Barron, a 2005 first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams, is participating in the rookie camp as a tryout player.
After four years with the Rams, Barron, 29, spent 2010 in Dallas, and last season on the injured reserve for New Orleans after suffering a torn meniscus in his knee during training camp. Barron was released by the Saints on Oct. 22.
Selected No. 19 overall out of Florida State, Barron recently had a tryout with San Francisco and is looking to catch on with a team.
“We want to see what he’s got,” Carroll said. “He was a highly regarded player a few years back, and he’s been smacked around with injuries and situations and all of that, so we’re going to find out.”
One of Seattle’s sixth-round draft choices, safety Winston Guy, did not practice because he’s recovering from shoulder surgery. Portland State safety DeShawn Shead also did not practice because of an undisclosed injury. Along with the team’s 10 draft picks and 10 undrafted rookie free-agent signees, the Seahawks had 30 tryout players for this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Local players include South Kitsap graduate and Eastern Washington University defensive end Renard Williams, former University of Washington linebacker E.J. Savannah, Montana cornerback Donny Lisowski and Central Washington University fullback Bryson Kelly and receiver Justin Helwege.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8437 blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks Twitter: @eric_d_williams