BY Art Thiel 07:30PM 05/03/2019

Thiel: Metcalf makes rookie camp worthwhile

All eyes at Seahawks’ rookie camp were on D.K. Metcalf, and he didn’t disappoint. He has a long way to go, but he’s already closer to the sun than the rest of us.

Rookies, far as the eye can see, 68 total. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest

In terms of substantive football developments, a three-day NFL rookie camp in May is a Hostess Twinkie. Fluff, empty calories, probably slightly toxic. Then you look over both shoulders to make sure no one is there, and wolf it down.

Friday at Seahawks headquarters, the football/sugar compulsion analogy played out when when WR D.K. Metcalf high-pointed an out-route pass two-handed, with a leap that appeared to have most of his abdomen above the heads of of the closing defenders.

Granted, this was a padless 11-on-11 drill among players most of whom will never stride upon an NFL game sideline. No tackling. No challenge from defenders on the receiver. Still . . .

It must have been like the initial summer-league basketball game when Shawn Kemp threw down his first pro windmill dunk. Lots of giggling, pointing and summoning of deities.

“He’s a monster,” said fellow a fellow rookie, CB Ugo Amadi. “Guy’s a freak.”

Amadi, the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick from Oregon, had a little more familiarity with Metcalf than the awe-struck reporters spread around field’s edge. Amadi was a star high school defensive back from Nashville and a likely commit to Mississippi when he encountered Metcalf at an invitation-only summer camp in Alabama.

“He was that big in high school, and I was still my size,” said he 5-foot-9 Amadi of the 6-4 Metcalf. “It’s easy: Throw it up to him, it’s a touchdown. The defense just had to get a stop to win the game.

“No DB is going to be his size or his speed to contest the ball.”

Amadi, a senior, was trying to convince junior Metcalf to join him at Ole Miss, which figured to be easy since the school was in Metcalf’s home town of Oxford. Metcalf indeed stayed home for three seasons, but Amadi changed his mind and became a Duck for four seasons.

Now they are teammates along the shores of Lake Washington.

“Great weather, good vibes, great water,” said the loquacious Amadi, beaming. “A good day overall.”

Also beaming was Carroll, who saw to it that the Seahawks traded up in the draft one week ago to take Metcalf with the final pick of the second round.

“Maybe he’s even more unique than we thought coming in,” said Carroll. We’ll indulge his grammatical over-exuberance — nothing can be “more” unique, right, coach?  — because potential game-wreckers on offensive haven’t often come the Seahawks’ way.

“Well, it’s almost like, what doesn’t (he do well), you know?” he went on. “He’s big and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet. His catching range was exhibited today. Sometimes with bigger guys, the feet just don’t move as quick. His feet were really, really lightning quick. It showed it out here.

“So that means that the potential is there to make him an excellent releaser. He’s already going to be really strong in using his hands. To have that combination, when we get a chance to tie it all together, it should be a really good package.”

With his 4.33-second 40-yard dash time and 40-inch vertical leap, the 230-pound Metcalf was a sensation at the scouting combine in March. No player over 225 pounds has ever run that fast since the 2003 recording of all measurables.

“There’s never been a guy that ran any faster that was that big and strong,” Carroll said. “Now he’s got to go fight and figure out how to play football.”

Metcalf will be given every chance. The potential retirement of No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin — Carroll repeated Friday that he “has a lot to overcome” — means that after Tyler Lockett, the unit is wide open. Returnees David Moore and Jaron Brown figure to get more action, and the Seahawks also drafted two more wideouts — fourth-rounder Gary Jennings and seventh-rounder John Ursua, both of whom are missing the camp with sore hamstrings.

Discerning football fans know that May performances are rich with mirages. Metcalf is just 21, has had some problems with drops, and missed time with injuries to a foot and his neck. And he’s never taken a full-speed hit from Earl Thomas, which may be his privilege when the Baltimore Ravens come to town this fall.

But there was no disputing Friday how much closer he was to the sun than the rest of us.

Seahawks decline fifth-year option on Ifedi

Carroll claimed that the Seahawks still want Germain Ifedi, and he will be starting at right tackle this fall. But the club declined this week his fifth-year option for 2020, which would have cost the Seahawks a salary of $10.3 million, compared to the $8.2 million he made combined over his first four years.

The one-year raise was too steep.

“We are in the midst of trying to continue to fit the roster together,” Carroll said. “Sometimes we can jump on it, sometimes we can’t. We love Germain. He has grown with us. He’s become a solid football player and started a ton of games. We’d love to have him.

“This is not an indication of anything. We like the guy and hope he’ll be with us for a long time.”

The Seahawks under Carroll have no history with re-upping fifth-year players, a status new with the 2011 collective bargaining agreement for first-round picks only. Ifedi was taken 31st in 2016.

The Seahawks declined options on 2011 first-rounder RT James Carpenter, as they did with 2012’s DE Bruce Irvin. They didn’t have first round picks in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

After the season, the Seahawks could still sign a long-term deal with Ifedi, who has started 44 of 48 regular-season games, but if he plays well, he’ll likely make more in free agency than the Seahawks can afford.

Behind him at right tackle is George Fant, whom the Seahawks like. So the decision to move on after this season already may have been made.


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YourThoughts

  • coug73

    Apparently, Mr. Metcalf passes the look test.

    • art thiel

      Yes. Then again, so did Brandon Marshall last year.

  • Scott McBride

    You really need to cut back on those Twinkies, Art.

  • Alan Harrison

    Fun, smiles, outrageousness, and all the teams are tied for first. I love minicamps.

    • art thiel

      I have a preference for pads and tackling, but that’s me.

  • Husky73

    LJ and DK seem OK.

    • art thiel

      Unlike some previous top picks, these guys aren’t DOA, IMHO.

      • Husky73

        SMH RONTFLMAO

  • Bruce McDermott

    DK can sink his hips on the break more naturally than I had expected, from the camp clips I’ve seen…

    • art thiel

      His ability to cut and explode are better than the coaches expected.