They traded for tight end Jimmy Graham, moved up in the draft to take wide receiver/return maestro Tyler Lockett, drafted three offensive linemen, added defensive linemen Ahtyba Rubin and Frank Clark, and reinforced the secondary with Cary Williams, Will Blackmon, Tye Smith and Ryan Murphy.
One of the few positions where they made no moves was linebacker, a group that seemed kind of thin behind Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Mike Morgan, Brock Coyle and Kevin Pierre-Louis.
But the Hawks apparently have plans to improve their depth and prepare for the likely departure of Irvin next offseason — 2014 draft picks Cassius Marsh and Eric Pinkins both are working at linebacker.
Pinkins’ move from safety was reported earlier this offseason, but Marsh’s move from defensive line was revealed this week.
“Yeah, if you looked today real carefully, you could see that Cassius is playing some outside ‘backer spot for us,” Pete Carroll said. “He’s in that same makeup — 250 pounds, he runs well, he’s got good length to him and all that. He can be a SAM ‘backer as well as a LEO.”
Carroll basically hinted that Marsh could end up being Irvin’s replacement: “We’ve seen Bruce do the same thing over time. That’s just for flexibility for the future and trying to see how well (Marsh) adapts to that, and this was really his first day of working at it. He’s been studying it for some time but did a nice job today. He’s got a learning curve, but he did a nice job today.”
As we have said, Pierre-Louis figures to start at linebacker next year, and Clark seems likely to take over Irvin’s pass-rushing role. But, if Marsh can learn linebacker as Irvin has, he would be solid two-for-one depth.
Meanwhile, Carroll called Pinkston “probably the most improved guy on the football field.”
“Pink has given us an extraordinary athlete at the spot and he’s learned a ton,” Carroll said. “Probably the most improved guy on the football field would be Pink from where he started. So we’ll see what happens when we get to camp and line them up and give them a chance to go at it. You can’t find a guy much faster playing outside ‘backer in the league, so we’ll see how he does.”
MORE MINICAMP NOTES
**Carroll said Drew Nowak played center with the starting unit in OTAs and minicamp because the coaches “wanted to learn a lot about Drew because he was a guy that changed from defense to offense from college. We loved his competitiveness and his toughness and we just want to see how far he can take it. He seems to be handling himself very well in the competition.”
Carroll said he is not worried about how long it takes to determine a starting center from the quartet of Nowak, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Patrick Lewis and Kristjan Sokoli. “We’ll go to camp and we’ll have a plan on how to rep those guys because you can have too many guys in the competition. But right now Tom (Cable) has been moving guys around to add to their ability to adapt to other spots, which helps us. So we’ll just see it through and see what happens.”
**Hard-luck DT Jesse Williams apparently had a kidney removed, and Carroll said, “The process now is to get him back in shape. … He has to just go through the rehab and fully recover and put himself in a position where he can have a chance to make the team. We’re rooting for him every bit of the way. … I would think if a guy could come back from it, he will do that, so we’re giving him every opportunity.”
**Carroll has been impressed by Lockett’s learning ability: “He’s got a lot of responsibilities. He goes after this return job, he’s inside playing in the slot in the receiver position, and he’s been outside. We’ve just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it. He studies really hard. You don’t really know until you get these guys how dedicated they really will be when they’re in our setting and he’s been an exciting addition to the team.”
**Thomas Rawls appears to be a threat to knock out Christine Michael as the No. 3 tailback. Carroll said, “I’ve studied Thomas a lot. I love his style of running. He’s really a head knocker. He really goes after guys; and, when you guys get to see him put the pads on, you’ll see how physical of a runner he is. He had play after play in college of just smacking people and running and breaking tackles and all that. He showed very good feet. He caught the ball well. He’s going to be a very willing blocker. He was a real bright spot. I thought he really jumped out at us and he was very consistent, worked throughout the whole thing knowing that his best, maybe most exciting, dimension hasn’t even been seen yet. He had a great camp for us. It’ll be really fun to see him when we start playing ball.”
**Husky fans love the signing of WR Kasen Williams, and Carroll was happy to add to the excitement: “I’ve known this kid for a long time and watched him grow up in football here at the U and all and had a lot of regard for his just natural football ability. … In (rookie) minicamp he did well, so we had to wait for (UW graduation to sign him). But he caught three balls or something today and looked pretty good out there for the first time out. We want to see how special he is when he mixes in with our group. I know him to be a really productive, aggressive football player at the receiver spot, so I’m excited to see how he fits in.”
**Tarvaris Jackson’s one-year contract is worth $1.5 million, meaning he is scheduled to make less than Russell Wilson (by $40,000) for the first time in their three years together. Carroll said of Jackson, “He’s a steadying force for us. He’s been around. He’s a great guy; players really respond to him. Tough as nails. He knows our system beautifully and supports Russell and his efforts very well.”