Seahawks fans have already said goodbye to a lot of popular players this offseason. Now they’re starting to get acquainted with the rookies recently drafted by the team. And one of those rookies may oust another veteran player from the roster.
KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about some of the more noteworthy picks.
Linebacker Shaquem Griffin
"There’s one that stands out, I think, for the entire nation and that is the draft of Shaquem Griffin, the linebacker from Central Florida who is playing without a left hand," Thiel said.
"It’s a remarkable level of achievement with his disability."
"His twin brother Shaquill Griffin is already on the Seahawks. (He) was a starting cornerback last year. And the two of them together create such an energy about them and such enthusiasm."
"I think a lot of people who saw Shaquill really enjoyed him as a personality and really were impressed by his talent."
"And his brother is an even more remarkable story. He is fast. He’s strong. He’s going to be able to run down the ball carrier, whether it’s a passer or a rusher."
Running Back Rashaad Penny
"I think he’s interesting because he came in as a slightly lower-profile guy. If you can be lower-profile when you lead the NCAA in rushing!" Thiel joked.
"He did that at San Diego State - kind of a smaller school in a smaller conference, the Mountain West. But he does fit the bill physically."
"It’s an investment in the running game that coach Pete Carroll promised they were gonna do before the draft. Because they had not done anything with the running back position since they traded for Marshawn Lynch."
Punter Michael Dickson - Ryan Out?
"Michael Dickson of the University of Texas (was) the nation’s best collegiate punter last year," Thiel continued. "Not only in terms of the distance but he also was able to hang punts. He was also able to direct punts."
"He played Australian-rules football in his homeland. He has got a skill set that is so different than the standard punter that I think the job of the incumbent, a very popular guy, Jon Ryan, is in jeopardy."
"Jon has been with the team since 2008. He preceded Pete Carroll. One of the team’s most popular players but this is the kind of churn that happens with every team."
"Jon is a very wise guy when it comes to football and his place in the firmament. He’s also getting paid a lot and that’s another liability at this time of year. The Seahawks are looking to save money under the salary cap."
"I do trust that Jon is going to make a very successful transition to whatever he wants in life."
Thiel noted there will be a competition for starting punter at training camp, unless Ryan decides to retire.
"But I think this new, young kid is going to interject an opportunity to win games in the small margins of field position. And I think he could be a real asset and a big surprise to a lot of Seahawks fans."