Seahawks add competition, depth in final four rounds

With an already impressive roster, Seahawks add more competition with intriguing picks in the final 4 rounds

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comApril 28, 2013 

The Seattle Seahawks rounded out the final day of the 2013 NFL draft by selecting nine players, including a hard-hitting running back, a physical receiver and versatile linemen on both sides of the ball.

But the key question for Seattle’s latest additions will be: Can they crack the lineup on a team that has been rated as one of the best rosters in the NFL?

“It’s going to be an extremely competitive camp,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Every step of the way, including the Phase 2 element that we’re in now, OTAs (organized team activities) – everything that we go through is competitive for these kids to figure out how they can best position themselves to make this club.

“It’s very, very exciting in that regard.”

The most notable pick for Seattle on Day 3 was 6-foot-31/2, 323-pound Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams. Projected to go in the first two rounds, Williams fell all the way to the fifth, where Seattle gobbled him up with the team’s No. 137 overall selection, trading up for the first time in general manager John Schneider’s tenure in Seattle with Detroit.

The Seahawks gave up picks in the fifth (pick No. 165 overall) and sixth (199) rounds – which they got in a trade with Baltimore on Friday – to make the move.

Williams, a Brisbane, Australia, native, had a feeling he might fall down the draft board, but is grateful to be headed to Seattle.

“I had high hopes, but I was also being realistic,” Williams said. “Like I said, I’m happy to wait as long as I needed to get to a good team, and somewhere I can

contribute and help out right away.”

Williams will compete for time as an early-down run stuffer, the role Alan Branch held for two years.

“He’s really intense, jumps off the ball and is strong,” Schneider said. “I think he benches 600-something pounds. He’s a guy who will really fill a specific role for us. Just his strength, his movement down the line of scrimmage and his ability to compress the pocket really is an intriguing thing for us.”

With the team’s first pick Saturday, in the fourth round, Seattle selected receiver Chris Harper.

A former quarterback converted to receiver, the 6-01/2 Harper is thick at 233 pounds. He finished with 58 catches for 857 yards in Kansas State’s run-oriented offense last season. Carroll said that Harper will compete for time as an outside receiver behind Golden Tate.

“He’s a very tough, physical kid,” Carroll said about Harper. “We really like that element that he brings that’s different from the rest of our guys.”

Like second-round selection Christine Michael, the Seahawks also picked up a few players who carry with them some off-the-field issues.

LSU cornerback Tharold Simon, picked one spot behind Williams at No. 138, was arrested in his hometown of Eunice, La., on Thursday and charged with public intimidation, resisting arrest and unnecessary noise when he got into an altercation with a police officer who asked him to move his parked car off the road.

“I’m a humble guy,” Simon said. “I’m embarrassed about what happened. It shouldn’t have happened. But like I said, everything happens for a reason. And right now my focus is to get up to Seattle and go compete.”

Simon also was suspended for one game during the 2011 season for a failed drug test.

Simon’s teammate at LSU and Seattle’s sixth-round selection, running back Spencer Ware, also was suspended one game during the 2011 season for a failed drug test.

At 5-10 and 229 pounds, Ware is a bruising runner that the Seahawks will move to fullback to compete for playing time with Michael Robinson.

Seventh-round selection Michael Bowie out of Northeastern State (Okla.) was dismissed from Oklahoma State’s football team before the 2012 season started for violating team rules, according to coach Mike Gundy.

Schneider said those are the risks you have to weigh when selecting players in the latter rounds.

“At a certain level, you have to be willing to accept those risks,” Schneider said. “And we don’t draft guys unless we feel like we’ve kind of laid it on the line with them.”

Along with Williams and Simon, the Seahawks selected Rice tight end Luke Willson in the fifth round. Willson ran a blistering 4.51-second, 40-yard time at his pro day.

Joining Bowie as a seventh-round pick for Seattle were Vanderbilt offensive guard Ryan Seymour, outside linebacker Ty Powell from Division II Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and Nwe Hampshire’s Jared Smith, a defensive tackle who will convert to offensive guard like J.R. Sweezy did last year.

The Seahawks finished with 11 picks overall – the most Carroll and Schneider have selected together in one draft. The duo will get their first look at the new players during a three-day minicamp at the team’s facility from May 10-12.

“The whole idea is to make this roster as competitive as possible,” Carroll said. “And so that means it’s hard for these (new) guys to make it. But also, the quality of guys we were able to draft and attract here in free agency makes it hard for the guys to keep their jobs. And that’s just understood. That’s part of the makeup of being here with the Seahawks.”

EXTRA POINTS

Seattle signed nine undrafted rookie free agents after the draft – WR Matt Austin, Utah State; OT Alvin Bailey, Arkansas; DE Kenneth Boatright, Southern Illinois; LB Ramon Buchanan, Miami; LB John Lotulelei, UNLV; SS Ray Polk, Colorado; OG Jordon Roussos, Bowling Green; RB Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma; LB Craig Wilkins, Old Dominion. ... Carroll said Malcolm Smith will get the first chance to earn the starting outside linebacker job left vacant by Leroy Hill not returning to the team.

MEET THE NEW SEAHAWKS

Chris Harper

Position: Wide receiver

School: Kansas State

Measurements: 6-foot, 1/2 inch, 234 pounds

Age: 23

The skinny: Ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash time at his pro day, and is said to be exceptional at going up and getting the ball in traffic. He started as a quarterback at Oregon before transferring to Kansas State in hopes of staying at that position. Is expected to be a good downfield run blocker and versatile on special teams. Had 58 catches for 857 yards as a senior. He caught eight passes for 71 yards in Fiesta Bowl against Oregon. From Wichita, Kan.

Jesse Williams

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Alabama

Measurements: 6-3, 325

Age: 22

The skinny: Nicknamed “Tha Monstar.” From Brisbane, Australia. Huge, with exceptional leverage. Transferred to Alabama from Arizona Western. He played rugby and basketball as a youth, but also started playing football as a teen. Williams was part of two national title teams at Alabama. He finished with 37 tackles and one sack. He also blocked a field goal.

Tharold Simon

Position: Cornerback

School: LSU

Measurements: 6-2, 202

Age: 22

The skinny: Simon had four interceptions last season to up his LSU career total to seven. He has the size the Seahawks like at corner. He was arrested Thursday on charges of public intimidation. Simon started 13 games and had four interceptions last season. Another tall, physical corner, he clocked a 4.47 in the 40 on his pro day.

Luke Willson

Position: Tight end

School: Rice

Measurements: 6-5, 252

Age: 23

The skinny: Willson is from Ontario, Canada. Spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays’ extended spring training camp before returning to Rice. Dealing with an ankle injury, he had nine catches as a senior after 33 and 29 the previous two seasons. He ran a 4.51 40 on his pro day to attract the Seahawks as a tight end who can also be a deep threat.

Spencer Ware

Position: Running back

School: LSU

Measurements: 5-10, 229

Age: 22

The skinny: Ware is the second running back the Seahawks took after already having Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin on the roster. Like other Seahawks draft pick Tharold Simon, Ware was suspended in 2011 after a positive drug test. Rushed 707 yards in 2011 but just 367 last season.

Ryan Seymour

Position: Guard

School: Vanderbilt

Measurements: 6-4, 301

Age: 23

The skinny: Seymour started all 13 games, playing center, guard and tackle. Opened the year with nine consecutive starts at left guard, then moved to starts at both tackle positions late in the season when injuries affected depth up front. Helped Vanderbilt produce its most explosive offense in more than 50 years. He was twice all-academic in the Southeastern Conference.

Ty Powell

Position: Outside linebacker

School: Harding

Measurements: 6-2, 249

Age: 25

The skinny: From Division II Harding (Searcy, Ark.). Ran a 4.62 40 and is considered a good pass rusher, having produced 8.5 sacks last season. He had a solid 28 bench-press reps of 225 pounds at the scouting combine.

Jared Smith

Position: Guard

College: New Hampshire

Measurements: 6-4, 302

Age: 23

The skinny: Ran a fast 5.08 40 and pumped 225 28 times. Nicknamed “Fat Rabbit” for his speed and size. He’s another convert from the defensive line – like last year’s seventh-rounder, J.R. Sweezy, who started three games at guard for the Hawks in 2012.

Michael Bowie

Position: Tackle

School: Northeastern State

Measurements: 6-4, 332

Age: 22

The skinny: Bowie played left tackle in college, starting at Oklahoma State before violating team rules and being dismissed. Said he looked up to Seahawks tackle Russell Okung when the two were at Oklahoma State.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams dave.boling@ thenewstribune.com

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