It might be only two days of Seahawks rookie minicamp, but it is clear this next generation of defensive backs are settling in.
On and off the field.
Much like Friday, coach Pete Carroll took another extended look at his four drafted defensive backs Saturday in the same alignment, this time on the outside field at the VMAC — Shaquill Griffin and Mike Tyson occupying the cornerback spots, and Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson in the safety positions.
And Carroll clearly isn’t bringing them along slowly by having them match up against second-year wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who knows the Seattle offense very well — and should take advantage of any newcomer.
They all made mistakes. But they also showed vast potential, Carroll said.
“They just looked the part and felt very comfortable,” Carroll said.
The one with the clearest path to immediate playing time is Griffin, the third-round pick out of Central Florida. He was the first defensive back selected by Seattle in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Griffin has been camped at right cornerback where Deshawn Shead plays. Shead is expected to be out until the early part of the regular season while he recovers from a serious knee injury suffered in the NFC playoff game against Atlanta.
“This is totally different (than UCF),” Griffin said. “This is more of a press and try and get in someone’s face. … but I feel like I’m catching on just fine.”
On the other side is the guy with perhaps the biggest learning curve — Tyson, the sixth-rounder who mostly played safety at Cincinnati.
In the Seahawks’ base scheme, Tyson has been playing on the outside at left cornerback. When the team goes to nickel coverage, he has shifted inside to defend the slot receiver on either side.
“(Tyson) gave me a little reminder about what Maxie (former Seahawks defensive back Byron Maxwell) looked like the first couple of impressions we got from him,” Carroll said.
If the two safeties — Hill and Thompson — look almost too comfortable next to each other, that’s understandable: They trained in speed work for a couple of months before the NFL Draft at Miami-based Bommarito Performance Systems.
“We hung out together then, and fortunately we came to the same team,” Hill said. “We know each other pretty well, and we’re communicating well.”
Thompson, a fourth-rounder out of Colorado, said he modeled his game at free safety in high school after the guy he is expected to back up — Earl Thomas, who is still recovering from a season-ending leg injury.
“Just to see how he gets from one hash to the other, just to see how he leads his teammates, and the passion he plays with on the field,” Thompson said. “And his effort — you never see him jogging on the field, or lagging (behind).”
The way Hill moves all around the field, high and low, gives this secondary the same type of presence as Kam Chancellor, whose contract is set to expire after the upcoming season.
“I try have an all-around game — tackle well, cover well, blitz well,” Hill said. “Everything.”
These four make up half of Seattle’s first eight draft picks last month. They know it was by design. And they know in a few years, they could be the future faces of this organization.
“We are close. We talk every day, morning until night,” Hill said. “We are with each other all the time, so we have to be comfortable with each other.
“It translates well. Once you are comfortable with somebody, you communicate well. Everyone is on the same page.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442