News Tribune beat writer Gregg Bell and columnist Dave Boling offer their first impressions of the Seahawks' top three draft picks – defensive tackle Malik McDowell, offensive lineman Ethan Pocic and cornerback Shaquill Griffin – on the first day of a three-day rookie minicamp in Renton. Gregg Bell and Drew Perine dperine@thenewstribune.com
News Tribune beat writer Gregg Bell and columnist Dave Boling offer their first impressions of the Seahawks' top three draft picks – defensive tackle Malik McDowell, offensive lineman Ethan Pocic and cornerback Shaquill Griffin – on the first day of a three-day rookie minicamp in Renton. Gregg Bell and Drew Perine dperine@thenewstribune.com

Dave Boling

Dave Boling: Seahawks rookies at first glance? Raw, but punctual

By Dave Boling

dave.boling@thenewstribune.com

May 12, 2017 9:19 PM

RENTON

During these rookie minicamps, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sometimes gets flashbacks to his college coaching days.

It looks so familiar, that field full of young guys, all energy and eagerness to please.

First impressions are important in any job, but especially when such high-profile careers are at stake.

And Carroll loves it.

“They’re just so bright-eyed,” Carroll said, having acknowledged that the coaches also were all energized by having the chance to start shaping all the new raw material.

When Carroll told them the first shuttle to the headquarters would leave the hotel at 6 a.m. Friday, he had to warn them to not all be on the first bus. There just wouldn’t be enough room for everybody to the first player in the building.

“We came out to practice today and everybody was on the field about 20 minutes early, just raring to go, and filling up the meeting room early, too,” Carroll said. “So, obviously, they understand Rule 3 in the program.”

Rule 3 for Carroll is the mandate to be on-time.

The first takeaway from the 90-minute workout? These guys are so young, and most are so far from being ready for the NFL.

All of that is to be expected for the first day of a non-contact minicamp in May, with the majority of participants being longshots to make the team.

How young?

Their highest draft pick, defensive lineman Malik McDowell from Michigan State, was born in 1996. He won’t be 21 until late June. And he may still be growing.

At 6-6, 299 pounds, McDowell could be well into the 300s by the start of the season.

Rookie CB Shaquill Griffin all smiles after first day with Seahawks

Griffin said he has already gotten to know Seahawks' veteran DBs: "Those are some mean jokers, man."

Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com

And that could be frightening. Right now, he’s all levers and angles. And with a quick get-off at the snap, he seems to have a knack for penetrating gaps and disrupting offenses.

According to published reports, the blemish on his reputation is inconsistent effort. That certainly wasn’t in evidence the first day.

And it likely won’t be considering the company he will have to keep along the defensive line once training camp starts, with the energetic likes of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Ahtyba Rubin, etc.

Their other second-round pick, Ethan Pocic, is a versatile offensive lineman getting started at right tackle. He’s an extremely fit 6-6, 317-pounder and has the look of a promising young NFL tackle. Obviously well-schooled in line play at LSU, Pocic seemed comfortable with his duties.

Third-round cornerback Shaq Griffin very much carries the look and attitude of a Seahawks’ cornerback, except perhaps for being faster than they’re used to seeing (he runs a 4.37-second 40). He’s smooth and fluid, and in his interview after practice, he was as affable and quippy as the young Richard Sherman.

Griffin was seeing action at right cornerback. With last year’s starter DeShawn Shead recovering from knee surgery, Griffin may be the rookie with the best chance to earn a starting spot.

As Carroll pointed out, all four of the drafted secondary players looked ready for a quick assimilation.

Pete Carroll says "instantly, almost, you can see how comfortable" Seahawks top pick Malik McDowell is

Coach Pete Carroll says every player in Seahawks rookie minicamp was on field 20 mins before practice. "That's a little unusual."

Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com

The young receivers are bigger and more physical than recent draftees, with seventh-rounder David Moore showing his productivity downfield in traffic in Friday’s workout.

A guy who jumped out at me with his effort was undrafted free agent guard Jordan Roos.

Roos, from Purdue, has a long beard sticking out from under his facemask. Time after time, when passes were thrown downfield, Roos would sprint toward the play, looking like an angry lumberjack trying to find somebody to clobber.

In offensive-line parlance, that qualifies as a man “looking for work.” And those are the kind who end up being employed in the NFL.

The Seahawks’ rookies and invited tryout players go at it through Sunday.

There is so much for them to learn.

Rule 3 will only get them so far.

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