Checking in with draft picks: Seahawks

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks are the deepest team in the NFC West, but their top three choices figure to contribute right away. One of them, tight end John Carlson, has the potential to make a significant impact on the stat sheet as well.

A pick-by-pick look at how the Seahawks' 2008 draft choices are faring as training camps wind down:

  • (1) Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC. Jackson will push for a starting job as a rookie. He appears better suited against the run than starter Darryl Tapp, who is more of a pure pass rusher. Two plays after jumping offside in the exhibition opener at Minnesota, Jackson forced a fumble on a sack. He made three tackles, one of them near the line of scrimmage and another 29 yards downfield.

  • (2) Carlson, TE, Notre Dame. Carlson has been the most impressive rookie in camp. He knows how to get open. He catches the ball consistently. He makes difficult catches. He is smart and seems to be in the right place most of the time. The Seahawks won't be surprised if Carlson catches 40 or 50 passes this season.

  • (4) Red Bryant, DT, Texas A&M. Bryant will rejoin the rotation at defensive tackle once he recovers from a knee injury. The team expects him back as early as next week. Bryant is huge and active. He is also top-heavy, so it's important for him to maintain leverage. Brandon Mebane and Rocky Bernard are entrenched as the starters.

  • (5) Owen Schmitt, FB, West Virginia. Schmitt was surprisingly effective as a blocker in the Minnesota game. He also caught the ball well, gaining 12 and 23 yards on his receptions. Leonard Weaver remains the starter at fullback, and that isn't likely to change unless injuries dictate otherwise. Schmitt should contribute on special teams as a rookie.

  • (6) Tyler Schmitt, LS, San Diego State. Schmitt has very good velocity on his snaps. A back injury has sidelined him recently, leading the team to re-sign Tim Lindsey as a stopgap.

  • (7) Justin Forsett, RB, California. Forsett carried 13 times for 58 yards (4.5-yard average) against the Vikings. He has the quickness to be a change-of-pace runner, but the Seahawks might not have a roster spot for him. The team generally keeps five running backs. Forsett would likely be the sixth.

  • (7) Brandon Coutu, K, Georgia. Coutu is competing with veteran Olindo Mare for the job Josh Brown performed so ably in recent seasons. Coutu handled kickoffs against the Vikings. He'll handle field goals against the Bears on Saturday night at Qwest Field.

The Seahawks have had high hopes for Carlson since draft day. They feel better about him now than they did when they drafted him.

I'm interested in watching Owen Schmitt as the exhibition season progresses. The Seahawks lacked quality depth at fullback for years even though Weaver impressed each summer as a runner. Weaver, though slowed by a hamstring injury lately, finally appears to understand the importance of blocking. Schmitt hadn't shown as much early in camp, but his performance in the exhibition opener was encouraging for Seattle. Let's see if he can build on it.