By John Boyle Herald Writer
While no player with NFL dreams hopes to go undrafted, there is one advantage for the top players whose names aren’t called over the course of three days and seven rounds.
Those undrafted free agents who are in demand can study the depth charts of the teams hoping to sign them, and rather than just go where the draft dictates, they can pick a place that might give them the best chance to make an NFL roster.
So what the heck is Keith Price thinking?
The former University of Washington quarterback wasted no time Saturday night signing with the Seattle Seahawks despite other teams expressing interest. Price could have looked for the team with the least talent and depth at quarterback, but instead he chose to sign with a team with as much stability at his position as just about any team in the NFL.
Not only is Russell Wilson the team’s present and future at quarterback, but Tarvaris Jackson is one of the league’s better and more accomplished backups, and the Seahawks just traded for Terrelle Pryor, who started nine games for the Oakland Raiders last season. Throw B.J. Daniels into the mix, and Price is fighting an uphill battle to end up on Seattle’s roster, let alone ever finding a path to playing time.
So why immediately sign with Seattle when Pete Carroll called rather than look for a team with more question marks at quarterback?
“I kind of had my eyes set here,” Price said after the first day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp. “I was very familiar with the system, very familiar with the coaches. I love this place, love Seattle, I love being here. There’s great competition at the quarterback spot, and I’m a competitive guy.”
Price had an impressive opening day, showing the accuracy and touch that helped make him a record-setting quarterback at Washington, but impressing at rookie minicamp when you’re one of two quarterbacks is one thing. Getting a chance to do so once the veterans arrive is something entirely different.
Yet Price not only understands the challenge that lies ahead, he embraces it.
This is, after all, the same quarterback who had to follow Jake Locker as Washington’s quarterback — and for that matter, is the guy who had to beat out Joe Montana’s kid to do so. Price also is the quarterback who endured a rough junior season, only to come back strong in his final year at Washington. He likes being challenged and enjoys being the underdog, so maybe Seattle is the right fit for him after all.
“I like to challenge myself,” Price said. “If I can move up in depth here, I’ll be able to move up in depth anywhere. We have tremendous competitors, we’ve got a lot of veterans who have started a lot of games in this league … Those guys are leaders. They know how to prepare.
“I constantly told myself that all I need is a foot in the door, and I’ll take of the rest. I’m studying my playbook relentlessly. I’m doing everything that I can to prepare myself to ultimately become a starter in this league. I know it takes steps. I’m way down there on the totem pole right now, but I’m willing to work myself up like I did throughout my whole playing career, so I appreciate the challenge.”
? Linebacker Korey Toomer, who is heading into his third season, was one of a handful of non-rookies practicing Friday. Players who have not accrued a season of service time can participate in rookie minicamp. Toomer, a former fifth-round pick out of Idaho, had a good day, including a leaping interception that he returned for a touchdown. He missed all of last season with a knee injury, but is a player for whom the Seahawks have high hopes if they can keep him healthy.
“Korey looked good today,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Korey’s had great workouts throughout phase one and phase two. He’s in great shape and he’s very determined. That’s one of the guys it’s really exciting to see have another chance at it. He really didn’t get started last year, he got hurt, so we’re all pulling for him.
? Offensive lineman Garrett Scott, a sixth-round pick, didn’t practice because he has yet to pass his physical, Carroll said. Receiver Chris Matthews, who was signed out of the CFL, was held out with a sore hamstring.
? Defensive end Bruce Irvin watched a bit of practice from a jet ski, taking a play out of Richard Sherman’s playbook from last year’s rookie minicamp.
? The Seahawks announced Friday that they’ve signed three of their nine draft picks: DT Jimmy Staten, CB Eric Pinkins and FB Kiero Small.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.