Minicamp Movers Breed Cautious Optimism

Several young Seahawk players made strong impressions during the June minicamp. But as coach Mike Holmgren pointed out, they always do. "I want to caution everyone, including my coaches, that minicamps -- compared to regular practices with pads on, and the actual games -- are quite different," he said.

"We have all been excited about players running around in shorts. And then we get in to where it is for real and things change."

It's an obvious matter of motivation, Holmgren explained. For rookies and free agents, these camps provide the first chance to make an impression. Veterans, meanwhile, tend to be less enthused with minicamp competitions. So, while Holmgren was pleased with the effort of the newcomers, he was cautious about predicting major immediate impact.

"Our young players, our draft choices, I don't think there are any surprises there," Holmgren said. "I was pleased with how they practiced and I am hopeful that we have some contributors in that group this year. I think that is a possibility. It is harder when your team is a little bit better and you draft these young guys. It's harder to come in right away and make a big difference. I think there are a couple guys that we are counting on to do that."

The Seahawks' first pick in the draft, cornerback Josh Wilson of Maryland, taken in the second round, was fooled by some veteran receivers, but also showed good physical skills. He mostly worked as the third cornerback behind starters Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings.

"He has great movement," Holmgren said of Wilson. "I like his attitude; he loves to play and he could really help us ... maybe as a return guy, too."

When asked if any of the lower-profile players had jumped to his attention, Holmgren pointed out free-agent rookie receivers Joe Fernandez and Logan Payne, along with sixth-round draft pick Jordan Kent.
Fernandez, from Fresno State, is the son of former Raider Mervyn Fernandez. Payne is out of Minnesota, where he had a strong showing against quality defenders in a game against Michigan (six catches, two touchdowns and 104 receiving yards).

On draft weekend, offensive coordinator Gil Haskell raved about the selection of Kent, a former basketball player and track man from Oregon. The son of basketball coach Ernie Kent, he is tall (6-4) and athletic (25-foot long jumper), but has been slowed somewhat as he recovers from foot surgery.

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