Seahawks rookie Jordan Hill relishes chance to challenge starters

Staff writerAugust 6, 2013 

SEAHAWKS PRACTICE

Seahawks rookie defensive lineman Jordan Hill, center, is adjusting to the pace of the NFL. “Once I get comfortable, I’ll be ready to go,” the third-round pick says.

LUI KIT WONG — Staff photographer Buy Photo

Jordan Hill noticed an immediate difference from college to the NFL during his first day with full pads last week when All-Pro center Max Unger and left guard Paul McQuistan crashed down on him during a run-blocking drill.

“When it’s a double team, pass or run, you’ve got to put on your big-boy pads and be ready to go,” Hill said, smiling. “I like going against the first team because I know I’ve got to bring it each and every play.”

At Penn State, the 6-foot-1, 303-pound defensive tackle was a man amongst boys, using his quickness, strength and leverage to overpower his opponents.

“The movement is the thing that we saw on college tape,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. “As a 3-technique inside pass rusher, he’s very active, and that’s one of things I noticed right away.”

A first team all-Big 10 performer his senior season at Penn State, Hill finished with a career-high 64 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 12 games.

But Hill, a third-round selection for the Seahawks in this year’s draft, faces a steep learning curve. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said the team drafted Hill for his ability to rush the passer from the interior of the defense.

“It’s similar to what I did at Penn State,” Hill said. “I like playing both inside positions. I’ve just got to get comfortable. Once I get comfortable, I’ll be ready to go.”

Hill, 22, is third on the depth chart at nose tackle behind starter Brandon Mebane and backup Clinton McDonald, but will be given an opportunity to earn time as part of Seattle’s third down pass-rush package.

“We’d like to see him really compete to be on the nickel group, and rushing the passer,” Carroll said. “He’s got nice quickness. He’s got a good style about his pass rush. We’ll see if that fits in. Right now, he’s making some good impressions in that regard so that would be a great role for him to fill.”

Hill is one of a handful of young players on the defensive line who will get a chance to show what they can do in the exhibition opener against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday. Carroll also has had high praise for fifth-round draft choice Jesse Williams, who has been working at defensive tackle on early downs,

and might be the front-runner to replace departed free agent Alan Branch as the team’s run-stuffing defensive tackle.

Second-year pro Jaye Howard, a fourth-round selection last season, also continues to make plays in practice and will see time at strongside defensive end behind Red Bryant. And third-year pro Mike Morgan is slated to start at “Leo” defensive end with Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril injured.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth in him in the past two weeks,” Mebane said about Hill. “He’s getting better. He’s getting a lot of reps, like we’ve all done as rookies. So I’m happy to see him develop.”

Father’s footsteps

For the first time in his NFL career, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gets a chance to play in the same stadium his late father played his home games in during his short tenure with the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium (formerly Jack Murphy Stadium).

Harrison Wilson III graduated from Dartmouth, where he played football and baseball.

He later attended law school at the University of Virginia, but after receiving his law degree, Harrison Wilson III was invited to the San Diego Chargers training camp in 1980 as a wide receiver. Called “The Professor” by his teammates because of his Ivy League background, Harrison Wilson III bunked with star tight end Kellen Winslow Sr., and was one of the last roster cuts for the Chargers in 1980.

Wilson’s father died in 2010 after a long battle with diabetes.

Russell Wilson said he’d like to play the entire game, but will have to be content with getting a few series in Seattle’s exhibition opener Thursday.

“I’m excited to get back out on the field,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to go to San Diego. That’s where my dad played at one point. So just to be able to go back there and think about those memories and stuff – he didn’t play there for very long, but still it means a lot to me.”

INJURY UPDATE

After leaving midway through practice Monday, offensive lineman James Carpenter did not practice Tuesday. Carroll did not talk to the media after practice, but is scheduled to do so Wednesday.

A first-round pick for Seattle in the 2011 draft, Carpenter began training camp after missing most of the team’s offseason program to rehab from arthroscopic knee surgery on his already surgically repaired knee. Carpenter reportedly has a foot injury, and the Seahawks likely are taking a conservative approach with him to make sure he doesn’t suffer any setbacks.

Along with Carpenter, defensive tackle Tony McDaniel has a groin issue and left midway through practice Tuesday. Running back Christine Michael left the field midway through practice and did not return.

Offensive lineman Mike Person sat out, wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

Others who remain out for Seattle include defensive end Bruce Irvin (groin), defensive end Avril (hamstring), running back Robert Turbin (foot), cornerback Ron Parker (hamstring), tight end Darren Fells (hamstring), receiver Early Doucet (undisclosed), receiver Bryan Walters (undisclosed) and center Unger (undisclosed).

Defensive tackle Williams (knee), defensive lineman Michael Bennett (leg) and receiver Stephen Williams (neck) returned to practice Tuesday. Stephen Williams wore a red jersey, signaling he was not allowed to have contact.

Clemons, Zach Miller, Tharold Simon, Percy Harvin and Greg Scruggs remain on the physically unable to perform list. Korey Toomer remains on the non-football injury list.

EXTRA POINTS

The Seahawks released tight end Michael Palmer. With the vacant roster spot, Seattle signed defensive tackle Martin Parker. Parker signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the New York Giants in 2011 and spent the Giants’ Super Bowl-winning season on injured reserve. Parker did not play in a game last season and New York released him Feb. 6. Palmer signed with Seattle on July 23. The Seahawks now have seven tight ends on the 90-man roster, and eight players capable of playing defensive tackle.

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

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service