Earlier in the week Carroll praised tight end Luke Willson (why the extra ‘L’ Luke… why?) for his display. He’s an intriguing guy. There’s not a great deal of tape out there, but any time the team brings an athletic ‘catcher first’ tight end into camp you can’t help but want to see more. Those types of players are changing the NFL as much as anything. Seattle’s offense has lacked a difference making athlete at the tight end position (that’s no slur on Miller or McCoy, I’m a big fan of both). We’ll see if Will.son can be the next out of nowhere field stretching big man.
Perhaps even more interesting, however, were Carroll’s comments about the defensive tackle position. He talked about not putting players into a discomfort zone (yes, I am making up an opposite to ‘comfort zone’). That meant Jordan Hill mostly featuring at the nose or one technique. Yet Jesse Williams featured at the three in mini camp, a position he isn’t that familiar with. He played the five and then the nose at Alabama. So what gives?
Clearly the Seahawks believe in Williams and his ability to start. The fact they’re already trying to get a good look at him at the three might give him an edge in terms of who eventually wins the starting job to replace Alan Branch (even if there’s still a long way to go). Unlike Hill, they’re trying to mould Williams early. They’ve done this in the past with their rookies (see: Russell Wilson taking ALL the snaps in mini-camp last year). Carroll even stated he feels Williams could start on first and second down. They appear to want size early. They want to play tough against the run. They started with Colin Cole at the three, switched to Branch and Williams could be the next man up.
Of course, he still has to prove capable and stay healthy. He’ll need to impress. But it looks like he has a great shot at winning a starting gig. Yet I can’t help but wonder how they see Hill fitting into the equation. Rotational cog for Mebane? Pass rush specialist? After all, he was the third round pick. Not Williams. I figured they might push Hill into the three early to test him there. It may still happen. But this week they kept him at the one and Carroll didn’t tout any eventual change of position in his interview today.
We’ll see how this process plays out. While this won’t be anything like last years quarterback saga going into camp, the ‘who starts at defensive tackle’ debate will at least keep things interesting. Can Williams win the job at the three? And if so, how does the higher draft pick fit in the rotation?