Friday, May 1, 2009
10 observations from Seahawks' first practice
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
RENTON, Wash. -- Ten things I saw during the Seahawks' first minicamp practice since the draft:
- Third-round choice Deon Butler diving to catch a 50-yard touchdown pass after outrunning cornerback Kevin Hobbs. Butler definitely has speed. Bonus note on receivers: Nate Burleson, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery last season, is practicing.
- Tight end John Carlson controlling defensive end Lawrence Jackson off the line, then turning Jackson and driving him to the ground.
- Former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom chatting with current CEO Tod Leiweke while watching practice as a guest of the team.
- Receiver Deion Branch and newly signed fullback Justin Griffith hopping up a hill while rehabbing injuries. Branch recently underwent a cleanup operation on his knee.
- Newly signed cornerback Ken Lucas picking off a pass in his first practice with the Seahawks since the 2004 season. Lucas appears very trim, as usual, but he said he wasn't in practice shape just yet. OK, a confession: I did not see the Lucas pick. But coach Jim Mora credited him with one, and it's possible I was watching another portion of practice when it happened. I did see Marquis Floyd pick off a pass.
- Undrafted free agent Michael Bennett lifting and tossing tackle William Robinson, easily the most impressive feat of the always entertaining pass-rush drills.
- Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threading a ball over the middle in rhythm to receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Expect to see that combination a few more times.
- Seventh-round draft choice Nick Reed, at 247 pounds, hustling around the field, but still looking too small to play defensive end in the NFL.
- Linebacker Leroy Hill harboring no apparent animosity after the Seahawks withdrew the franchise-player designation from him.
- Brian Russell running with the first team at safety, same as last season. Some Seattle fans have asked whether Jamar Adams might be a candidate to take Russell's job.
That was 10 things. One more: According to Hasselbeck, Butler also held up well when offensive coordinator Greg Knapp called on the rookie repeatedly during meetings. Also according to Hasselbeck, former Seahawks teammate Bobby Engram and Engram's wife put in a good word for Butler. Engram and Butler both played at Penn State, although years apart.
Finally: First-round choice Aaron Curry worked with the starters, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. He definitely looks the part, but it's early.