RENTON, Wash. – There are two big men who could have a big influence on the upcoming Seahawks season, and they seem to be connected to one another.
Defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams first met at the NFL combine in February when they started chatting at 4 a.m. one day. They were then drafted one day apart, with Hill going in the third round and Williams in the fifth.
The two made their first appearance together as teammates during the first day of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp Friday along with 65 other hopefuls.
Hill, a defensive tackle from Penn State, and Williams, a defensive tackle from Alabama, are both fighting for playing time this upcoming season along a crowded defensive line. But they made a good first impression, often powering through the offensive line and collapsing the pocket by the end of the two-hour practice.
“We just want to find a spot, both of us together,” Hill said.
General manager John Schneider called defensive tackle a hole during the NFL draft, and he responded by picking Hill and Williams to bolster the position. The Seahawks return starter Brandon Mebane at defensive tackle and signed free agent Tony McDaniel in the offseason, but they also must replace run-stuffer Alan Branch.
Michael Bennett, another free-agent addition this offseason, is listed as a defensive end, but he will likely slide inside in passing situations.
Hill and Williams each bring something a little different to the position. Hill is noted more for his ability to get up the field and create pressure. Williams, 2 inches taller and 22 pounds heavier than Hill, is more as a run-stopper.
Making sweeping assessments based on rookie camps, especially after the first day, is premature. But Hill and Williams stood out by generating a consistent push against the offensive line, which mostly consisted of late-round draft picks or players here for a tryout.
“I felt that we played good today,” Hill said. “We complement each other, we feel like. When we did it on the first day, it feels pretty good. But it’s a learning curve. You have to keep going. They’re going to throw more stuff at us, so we have to catch on.”
Hill said he played a 4-3 defensive scheme in college, but he now has to learn new techniques and alignments with the Seahawks.
“It’s not the same thing you were doing in college,” he said. “It’s all new. There’s always going to be a learning curve, especially the first day. But they expect me to catch on fast.”
Coach Pete Carroll said he didn’t get a chance to watch the defensive tackles much, but he did say he was pleased with Hill and Williams when he watched them during individual drills early in the practice.