Rookies get to test motors at Seahawks minicamp

It’s a chance for draft choices, free agents and others to show their stuff

Staff writerMay 10, 2013 

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gets his first glimpse at Seattle’s 11 draft picks when his team opens a three-day rookie minicamp this afternoon.

Along with Seattle’s draft haul, nine undrafted rookie free agents and 45 other players with NFL aspirations will compete at the team’s Renton headquarters this weekend.

Players such as second-round draft pick Christine Michael and third-round selection Jordan Hill will get their chance to show Carroll what they can do.

So what does Carroll expect to see from his new pupils?

“Always work ethic – the guys that come in to compete really hard, and that will put their best effort out there first,” Carroll said. “They’re not going to know what to do. They’re not going to know what’s going on, but we need guys to kind of run through the china shop and kind of knock everything down.

“We have chosen a bunch of guys that love to play the game. It’s really important to them, or they wouldn’t be on our board, or we wouldn’t be calling them in.”

Carroll said that observing how fast players learn an NFL playbook and execute those concepts on the field also will be something he and his coaching staff will evaluate.

One player who needs to hit the ground running is Hill. The 6-foot-1, 300-pound defensive tackle out of Penn State is expected to help jump-start a Seattle pass rush that finished tied for 18th in the league with 36 sacks last season.

The Seahawks already signed free-agent pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, but because second-year pro Greg

Scruggs likely will miss the upcoming season because of surgery Thursday on his right knee, Hill will be counted on to contribute sooner rather than later.

“Because he’s different, he’ll be right in the rotation to see how it fits,” Carroll said after the draft. “We like the fact that he brings something that is a little bit different from the guys that we have.

“We’ve been trying to get more activity inside for pass rush and all of that, and this is a guy that we thought was one of the best in the draft in creating space for himself in pass rush, so we’re going to crank it up.”

Hill finished with a career-high 64 tackles his senior year at Penn State, earning second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors. A co-captain for the Nittany Lions, Hill also posted 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss.

“I’m a versatile player,” Hill said. “I’m not only a guy that can pass rush, but I also can stop the run. I’m a guy that plays with a high motor – just want to get after it each and every play. I just love playing football, and I love to compete.”

Another player getting an opportunity is quarterback Jerrod Johnson, a free agent who signed with Seattle after an impressive workout just before the NFL draft in April.

The Texas A&M product has been to training camps with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh the past two seasons. But because he did not stick with either team, Johnson technically still is a rookie, which allows him to compete in this weekend’s minicamp. The 6-5, 251-pounder has been working in the team’s offseason training program with fellow quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Brady Quinn and Josh Portis but will work as Seattle’s No. 1 quarterback this weekend.

“He’s just competing,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “He’s going to go out there in this camp, and if he throws the ball around the way he did the other day for us, he should be pretty impressive.”

SCRUGGS HAS SURGERY

Defensive end Greg Scruggs had arthroscopic knee surgery to reconstruct his right ACL at Seattle Surgery Center on Thursday, likely ending his 2013 campaign before it began. He injured the knee right before the April draft.

“One thing is guaranteed that I’m going to bust my butt to get back to full strength and contribute next year,” Scruggs said via Twitter.

The surgery was performed by team doctor Ed Khalfayan. A seventh-round selection in the 2012 draft out of Louisville, Scruggs was a surprise during his rookie season, finishing with two sacks in 11 regular-season games and two playoff games.

Scruggs was inactive for five games because of hamstring, wrist and oblique injuries.

If Scruggs is out for the season, the Seahawks have eight healthy defensive tackles on the 90-man roster – Brandon Mebane, Bennett, Tony McDaniel, Clinton McDonald, Jaye Howard, Hill, Jesse Williams and Myles Wade.

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

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