Seahawks Draft Picks Signing in Droves

With less than three weeks until the July 28 start of Seattle's 2007 training camp, and with rookies reporting two days earlier, the Seahawks have signed four (perhaps five) of their eight draft picks. It's time to discuss contract details, and look at what each of these players can bring to the team.

As we wait for news of the Josh Wilson, Brandon Mebane and Baraka Atkins signings, the final five Seattle draftees of 2007 are in the fold.

Georgia Tech’s Mansfield Wrotto, drafted in the fourth round (124th overall) with the pick that the Seahawks received from the 49ers in the Darrell Jackson trade, is a big (6’3”, 317) prospect who played defensive and offensive tackle in college and will move to the guard position at the NFL level. Wrotto played in the defensive side of the ball for his first three seasons with the Yellowjackets, though he was seriously considered for a move to left guard before the 2005 campaign. Only injuries to the defensive line prevented that move. He’s practiced at guard and tackle since the spring of 2005, and his final conversion occurred before the 2006 season. In his first year at right offensive tackle, Wrotto started all fourteen games in which he played. He’s not going to challenge for any playing time right away, as he’s still learning the fundamentals of guard play. However, the Seahawks chose Wrotto over more polished guards like Boston College’s Josh Beekman because of his enormous athletic potential.

Wrotto’s rookie contract is a four-year deal with base salaries of $285,000 (2007), $370,000 (2008), $460,000 (2009), and $550,000 (2010) and a signing bonus of $417,000*.

Fifth-round linebacker (161st overall) Will Herring from Auburn is an intriguing player, to say the least. According to NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang (who spoke to Seahawks.NET right after the draft), the Seahawks see Herring as a linebacker – not a safety, though he measured in at 6’3” and 229 pounds at the Combine and played free safety his first three years before switching to outside linebacker in his senior season. Herring set the Auburn record with 49 starts, and led the Tigers in tackles in both his junior and senior seasons at different positions. Herring will most likely find a place on special teams, but it’s difficult to know how he’d fit in at a depth position in Seattle’s linebacker corps. If he fills out a bit, and brings his consistency and intensity to work every day, he could provide value on the fringe.

Herring received a four-year deal with base salaries of $285,000 (2007), $370,000 (2008), $460,000 (2009), and $550,000 (2010). He’ll also receive a signing bonus of approximately $163,000.

The first of two sixth-round receivers taken by the Seahawks, Auburn’s Courtney Taylor (197th overall) provides a potentially good fit in Seattle’s offense. Taylor bounced back from an injury-plagued 2005 (high ankle sprain) to lead the Tigers in receptions (54) and receiving yards (704). He’s got good size at 6’2” and 204 pounds, and he’s known for his skill with the underneath routes, as well as his ability to catch in traffic. Deep speed is not something that he possesses. There have been issues with drops and injuries in the past, but Taylor could be a surprise factor in the preseason.

Taylor’s four-year contract features base salaries of $285,000 (2007), $370,000 (2008), $460,000 (2009), and $550,000 (2010 – are these numbers starting to look familiar?) and a $90,000 signing bonus.

Unlike Taylor, Oregon’s Jordan Kent wasn’t drafted for his ability to do the little things – he was selected by the Seahawks in the sixth round (210th overall) because he lettered in football, basketball and track in the same year, because he can run with great speed and agility, and because he's a low-pick investment in ridiculous athletic prowess mixed with a demonstrated ability to learn and progress quickly (he’s a coach’s son) despite only playing football for two years at the collegiate level. Kent joined the Oregon football team shortly before the 2005 season opener, and had amassed All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention status by the end of the 2006 season with 491 yards and 4 touchdowns on 44 catches. Kent has run 40-yard dashes in the mid 4-4s at 6’4” and 217 pounds. He has potential as a special teams force like Alex Bannister in his prime. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit for Kent. If his athletic potential ever meets real NFL seasoning, watch out. At worst, he’ll provide training camp article fodder and some preseason thrills.

Kent’s four-year deal matches Taylor’s in the base salaries, but his signing bonus is $73,000.

Seventh-round pick (232nd overall) Steve Vallos of Wake Forest will fight for a roster spot with the same intensity and emotion that marked his collegiate career. Vallos started 48 straight games, and played every position on the offensive line but center. He’s rated as a “tweener”, in that he’s built like a guard (6/3”, 305), but he has lacked the pulling skill of the elite at that position. He’s got ability in pass-blocking, and he could be a keeper for a team needing a great deal of offensive line depth. Unfortunately, the Seahawks have a lot of depth at the guard and tackle positions, and Vallos may have to make his mark elsewhere if he can’t fight through the traffic. The 2006 All-ACC selection will get a chance somewhere.

Vallos’ base salaries are thought to be in line with the others mentioned here. However, a signing bonus is unknown at this time, because Vallus may not have signed his contract as this article goes to publication.


*All salary data provided by Adam Caplan, with many thanks in return.

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET and a staff writer for Football Outsiders. He wrote the NFC West chapters for the Pro Football Prospectus 2007 book, which will be available just about everywhere on July 23. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.

 


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