Travis Homer Jersey

Seahawks rookie running back Travis Homer on the field for the second day of rookie minicamp Saturday at the VMAC in Renton. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

One scouting report on Seahawks sixth-round draft choice Travis Homer’s receiving ability ahead of the NFL draft stated: “Caught 37 passes over the last two seasons, rarely dropping the football. Has impressive reps on tape where he makes outstanding adjustments to the football and snatches it outside his frame. Deserved more opportunities.’’

Figure him to get those “more opportunities’’ if he makes Seattle’s roster, which he will be given every chance to do at a position that looms as one of the team’s more intriguing heading into the 2019 season.

Barring injury or something unforeseen, Seattle looks to have a stable combo at the top of its tailback depth chart in 2019 with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.

Each will catch their share of passes — Carson had one of the best catch percentages on the team last year with 20 receptions in 24 targets.

But in keeping with the way the Seahawks have configured their offense throughout the Pete Carroll era, each also is ticketed to primarily play on early downs, with the Seahawks having always had a separate role for a running back who enters the game primarily on third downs and then in two-minute situations, when a good receiving back is more of a necessity.

That role now is wide open after Mike Davis’ departure to the Bears in free agency.

Davis was Seattle’s third-leading receiver last year in terms of receptions with 34, good for 214 yards and a touchdown.

Seattle currently lists only three other running backs on its roster aside from Carson, Penny and Homer: C.J. Prosise, Bo Scarbrough and undrafted free agent Adam Choice of Clemson. J.D. McKissic, who has played running back for Seattle the past two years, currently is listed as a return specialist.

Scarbrough, who signed late last season, projects mostly as an early-down back, as does Choice, who caught just 22 passes in four years at Clemson, and as a UDFA would have to beat long odds to get into the mix anyway.

McKissic might well factor into the third-down battle.

But logically, the two leading contenders appear to be Homer and Prosise, the latter of whom has one shot left to make something of what has been a mercurial and largely disappointing three-year Seahawks career.

Drafted in the third round in 2016, Prosise briefly looked like the team’s back of the future when he sparked a 31-24 victory at New England with 66 yards rushing and 87 receiving, and then the next week ripped off a 72-yard touchdown run against the Eagles in the opening minutes.

But he suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter against the Eagles, setting off a frustrating ordeal of aches and pains that has limited him to just 16 out of a possible 48 regular-season games in three years while also missing all three postseason games.

Ben Burr-Kirven Jersey

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The Seahawks added another “lunch pail player” in linebacker Ben Burr-kirven. These are guys that “just play ball”, but BBK is much more than that.

With the fourth pick of round five in the 2019 draft, the Seahawks added a player that many draft experts saw as a seventh-round pick. Some even projected the former Husky linebacker to go undrafted. Those that did like him saw him as another of those classic lunch pail players. You know, the guys who never take a play off, who give their team all they’ve got every game. Ben Burr-kirven is definitely all that, but he’s so much more as well.

BBK is 6’0″, 230 pounds and clocked a 4.56 in the combine. His relative small size and lack of true burner speed pushed him far down most draft boards, if not completely off. Size and speed are important measuring sticks, no doubt; if they weren’t, no one would list them. But the best measure of a football player should be how well he plays the game. And very few linebackers played the game better than BBK in 2018.

As a senior for the University of Washington Huskies (nice to finally be able to type that), BBK had two sacks, two interceptions, six pass defenses and five and a half tackles for a loss. Nothing amazing there, until I add that those 5.5 tackles were just part of his 176 total tackles on the season. Huskies fans already know this, but Burr-kirven’s motor is always on. Those 176 tackles led the nation, by the way. BBK also forced four fumbles and recovered three. We all know how Pete Carroll loves to force turnovers, so there should be no surprise he wanted this guy.

Undersized, too slow? I give you former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zachary Michael Thomas. Thomas was 5’11” and 228 pounds. Thomas was also a fifth-round selection, another guy who was too small for the NFL, but balled out every play. All he did was play 13 years, play in seven Pro Bowls, and rank fifth all-time in career combined tackles. Now I don’t expect Ben Burr-kirven will have a career like Thomas. But I bet BBK does, and that’s all that matters.

Ugochukwu Amadi Jersey

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The Seahawks made their second addition to the secondary in the 2019 NFL Draft by selecting Oregon safety Ugochukwu “Ugo” Amadi with their final pick of the fourth round Saturday.

Check out Ugo Amadi’s prospect profile here

The 5-feet-10, 201-pound Amadi was a durable player in college, having appeared in every game over four seasons with the Ducks. Amadi had 55 tackles, eight passes defended and three interceptions in 2018, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He finished his college career with 165 tackles, three sacks, 25 passes defended and nine interceptions.

Amadi told reporters versatility is a strength, and said the Seahawks talked about using him at multiple spots.

“They want me to do everything – nickel corner, safety, special teams, everything – Swiss army knife,” Amadi said.

The Seahawks had earlier in the draft added depth at safety by selecting Utah’s Marquise Blair 47th overall.

Phil Haynes Jersey

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Growing up in Raleigh, NC, Phil Haynes never could have imagined eventually being drafted to the NFL.

In fact, Haynes didn’t even start playing football until his senior year of high school after transferring to the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA. Prior to that point, he’d starred on the hardwood as an AAU basketball star, and if not for a rule enforced by his new school, he likely never would’ve put on a helmet and shoulder pads.

“I transferred to a small boarding school in Virginia and they told us that we had to play a sport every season.” Haynes told reporters during a conference call. “I chose football over cross country.”

The decision to give football a try wound up paying off for Haynes and then some, as one season playing defensive end at the Virginia Episcopal School turned into a full scholarship offer from Wake Forest. After redshirting his first year with the Demon Deacons and switching to offensive line, he served as a four-year starter for the cleverly coined “Beef Boys,” beginning his career at right tackle before sliding inside to guard for his last three seasons.

Haynes closed out his collegiate career with back-to-back All-ACC selections, moving up to Second-Team recognition as a senior, quite the feat for a player who exchanged his sneakers for football cleats only five years earlier.

“It was a whirlwind, honestly. I’m in Raleigh now and it just takes me back to that time and honestly, it’s been crazy because I had to gain a bunch of weight. I had to develop more of a toughness attitude because basketball is more of a finesse sport. It’s kind of nice to be able to hit people so that was probably the biggest thing.”

Once viewed as a pipedream at best when he started playing college ball in 2014, the Seahawks selected Haynes with the No. 124 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“It was amazing. I was hoping that Seattle would take me with that pick and it was a dream come true to get that phone call.”

The Seahawks have always been enamored by competitive multi-sport athletes and their interest in a former basketball standout like Haynes shouldn’t be surprising on numerous fronts.

Only a few short years ago, Seattle signed former Western Kentucky basketball star George Fant as an undrafted free agent. Though Fant had played only one year of college football and didn’t have any experience playing offensive line, he started 10 games as a rookie and served a valuable role as a sixth lineman for the team in 2018.

With Mike Solari now entering his second season as Seattle’s line coach, the team has also transitioned towards preferring big-bodied maulers such as D.J. Fluker and Mike Iupati at the guard positions. Now weighing 322 pounds with a 6-foot-4 frame capable of carrying more mass, the Seahawks view the physical Haynes as the perfect fit to develop into an eventual starter in the interior.

“Phil is a guy that we targeted early because of his makeup and his style of play.” Carroll said following the conclusion of the draft. “He’s going to be 340 pounds. He’s a really strong, really physical guy. He likes to finish blocks and knock guys down. He’s got an attitude about him.”

Carroll and general manager John Schneider identified the hulking Haynes as a player they wanted early in the pre-draft process, inviting him to Seattle for one of their top-30 visits. It became apparent to Haynes during this meeting that landing with the Seahawks would be an ideal fit for both parties.

“Competition is a big deal for them. I love competition as you can imagine playing basketball and football. I think that’s a big part of who I am. But I know they also love to run the ball and I love doing that too.”

While Fant was forced to jump into the water feet first with no experience, Haynes holds a distinct advantage heading into his NFL career with Seattle, as he blocked some of the best defensive linemen in the country in the highly-competitive ACC. Most notably, he played several games against defending national champion Clemson, holding his own in the trenches against 2019 first round picks Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence.

Now that he’s officially a member of the Seahawks as he hoped for, Haynes will have his work cut out for him carving out a role up front in the short-term. Seattle has four of its five starters from last year’s playoff team returning and Iupati was signed as a reliable veteran replacement for J.R. Sweezy, leaving the ex-hardwood star fighting for a reserve job from the outset barring injuries.

But given his size, intelligence, and physical style of play that the Seahawks covet in the trenches, Haynes should be well-positioned to develop under Solari’s tutelage during his rookie campaign and eventually ascend into the starting lineup at either guard spot in the near future.

Gary Jennings Jersey

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The Seahawks picked West Virginia receiver Gary Jennings in the

fourth round of the 2019 draft, the second receiver Seattle has

drafted this week along with Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf, a second-

round pick.

And in a strange twist of fate, Jennings will catch passes in the NFL

from a quarterback who once coached his YMCA basketball team.

When Russell Wilson was a star athlete at Collegiate School in

Richmond, Virginia, he helped his father coach a YMCA basketball

team, and one of the grade-school age players on that team was a

young Gary Jennings. Fast forward more than a decade when

Jennings heard his name called in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL

Draft, and he’ll come to Seattle to be teammates with Wilson,

whose younger sister Anna—now a guard at Stanford—also played

in the same youth basketball program.

“I went to Collegiate K-8, and he was in high school at the time,”

Jennings said on a conference call. “It was a K-12 school. Growing

up in that school, I used to see him play quarterback. He was an

amazing quarterback back in the day, too. I saw him run back and

forth across the field, and someone was always wide open. They

won state basically every year he was there. I also played youth

basketball with his sister as well, Anna Wilson.”

Jennings, who is 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, ranks sixth in Mountaineers

history with 2,294 career receiving yards and seventh with 168

receptions. Last season he had 54 catches for 917 yards and 13

touchdowns. As a junior, Jennings had 97 catches for 1,096

receiving yards and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

Jennings also served as West Virginia’s punt returner as a

freshman and sophomore.

The Seahawks picked West Virginia receiver Gary Jennings in the

fourth round of the 2019 draft, the second receiver Seattle has

drafted this week along with Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf, a second-

round pick.

And in a strange twist of fate, Jennings will catch passes in the NFL

from a quarterback who once coached his YMCA basketball team.

When Russell Wilson was a star athlete at Collegiate School in

Richmond, Virginia, he helped his father coach a YMCA basketball

team, and one of the grade-school age players on that team was a

young Gary Jennings. Fast forward more than a decade when

Jennings heard his name called in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL

Draft, and he’ll come to Seattle to be teammates with Wilson,

whose younger sister Anna—now a guard at Stanford—also played

in the same youth basketball program.

“I went to Collegiate K-8, and he was in high school at the time,”

Jennings said on a conference call. “It was a K-12 school. Growing

up in that school, I used to see him play quarterback. He was an

amazing quarterback back in the day, too. I saw him run back and

forth across the field, and someone was always wide open. They

won state basically every year he was there. I also played youth

basketball with his sister as well, Anna Wilson.”

Jennings, who is 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, ranks sixth in Mountaineers

history with 2,294 career receiving yards and seventh with 168

receptions. Last season he had 54 catches for 917 yards and 13

touchdowns. As a junior, Jennings had 97 catches for 1,096

receiving yards and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

Jennings also served as West Virginia’s punt returner as a

freshman and sophomore.

Cody Barton Jersey

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A few days after the Seahawks selected Cody Barton in the third round of the 2019 draft, the linebacker received a tablet with Seattle’s playbook installed on it and immediately began studying, knowing that as a middle linebacker, he had better know his stuff when he arrived for rookie minicamp.

“I take pride in being a good communicator, an intelligent football player,” Barton said after the second day of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp. “So coming in and being able to take over the defense and learning it as best as I could in the days prior to camp was big for me.”

Barton, as well as University of Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, put in enough hard work prior to minicamp that, despite playing with unfamiliar teammates in a new defense, they have been able to effectively run the defense as the middle and weakside linebackers, respectively.

“(Burr-Kirven) and Cody were really impressive throughout the first day to have so much command of what we were doing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after Friday’s practice. “The communications and their awareness and changing the fronts and doing the things they had to do. They were really good at it today. It’s hard to imagine with even as simple as the installation is, it’s still a lot, and the offense is doing enough formationally that that challenges them. But I kind of tie those guys together, that they’re impressive just they’re going to be able to learn the whole thing. So that means that both Cody, who has played a bunch of spots, and we’ve seen BBK play in and out of the box, both of those guys are going to have great versatility in time.”

Barton and Burr-Kirven were familiar with each other from their days as Pac-12 rivals, and they got to know each other a bit at the NFL Scouting Combine, and now as teammates they’re discovering they make a good on-field pair.

“Playing with him is good,” Barton said. “We both take pride in being intelligent players, so working with him, we kind of put our heads together—just a lot of talking, a lot of communicating on the field and just trying to kind of take over the defense being that gel between the D-line and the DBs.”

Both players were middle linebackers in college, but for now at least Burr-Kirven, last year’s Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, is playing weakside linebacker.

“It’s pretty different, honestly,” he said. “I was playing Mike at UW, I was playing the true middle spot. I’m playing the Will here, which is a little bit different. So I’m doing a little bit more stuff outside of the box, getting out on receivers, that kind of stuff. So there’s definitely difference. In terms of scheme, it’s not all that different, I’m just doing a different role in it.

“It’s just playing in space more. Mike you’re really in the box, you’re sifting through traffic more, and at the Will you’re more in space, playing out on running backs in the flat, covering receivers a little bit more. So it’s just a little more a space-driven game.”

When it comes to staying in Seattle, Burr-Kirven said, “I couldn’t really have dreamed for anything better than this.” And while he’s the only Washington player on the Seahawks defense, he’s far from being the only one in the NFL, because in the last three drafts alone, the Huskies have had 12 defensive players selected in the draft.

“It’s just a testament to the program at UW,” Burr-Kirven said. “Coach (Chris) Petersen and the whole staff take a lot of pride not only in being a good college football team, but we’re playing at a level a lot of football teams aren’t doing. We’re running complex schemes, we’re trying to make guys ready for the NFL. That’s something you maybe don’t hear about as much, but we want to send guys to the NFL out of UW. That’s something we don’t tell people in the media that much, but it’s a big deal. You want to come out and show that this program is developing guys. A lot of the guys who have come out these last couple of years are guys who weren’t big recruits or anything like that, but when coach Pete gets his hands on players, the way he changes players and grows them, it’s a testament to what they’re doing at UW, and I got real lucky to be a part of it.”

Now that he’s in the NFL, Burr-Kirven will not just learn from Carroll, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and linebacker coach John Glenn, he and Barton will work under two of the league’s best linebackers in Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

“Obviously those are two of the best linebackers in the NFL today, if not the best, so those are guys you can learn a lot from about not only how to play football, but also about how to conduct yourself as a profession, how to handle the rigors of doing this sport as a profession,” Burr-Kirven said. “I can’t wait for those guys to get in the building and just try to learn everything I can from them.”

Now that he’s in the NFL, Burr-Kirven will not just learn from Carroll, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and linebacker coach John Glenn, he and Barton will work under two of the league’s best linebackers in Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

“Obviously those are two of the best linebackers in the NFL today, if not the best, so those are guys you can learn a lot from about not only how to play football, but also about how to conduct yourself as a profession, how to handle the rigors of doing this sport as a profession,” Burr-Kirven said. “I can’t wait for those guys to get in the building and just try to learn everything I can from them.”