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Analysis: Reviewing the Seahawks’ rookie draft class as season hits the quarter pole

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 26, 2019

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf makes a catch during warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (Stephen Brashear / AP)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf makes a catch during warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (Stephen Brashear / AP)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – Turns out, the Seahawks never officially waived receiver Gary Jennings on Wednesday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seahawks rescinded a waiver claim on Jennings after having initially decided to waive him to clear out a space for safety Adrian Colbert.

For a few hours Wednesday, though, Jennings appeared to have been waived – Schefter reported that he had been and Jennings was not at Seattle’s practice.

Jennings also seemed to indicate that he had been waived, as the 6-foot-1, 216-pound receiver from West Virginia tweeted “God has never failed me yet” shortly after he was apparently told the news.

Instead, the Seahawks decided to waive defensive lineman Bryan Mone, an undrafted rookie from Michigan, to make room for Colbert.

So, for now, all 11 players drafted by the Seahawks in April remain part of the roster.

Jennings being waived for a brief period Wednesday, though, is somewhat emblematic of a rookie draft class that is still finding its footing in the NFL.

On Sunday, just one of the 11 players taken in the draft figures to be in the starting lineup – receiver DK Metcalf.

Metcalf has been everything advertised and more with nine receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown while playing 180 snaps in three games.

But the other 10 rookies have combined for 44 offense/defensive snaps, via snap counts from ProFootballReference.com, with none of the rest appearing, at the moment, likely to crack into the starting lineup anytime soon unless there are injuries to players ahead of them. (Mone had also played 71 snaps.)

Drafts, though, are best judged a few years down the line – most rookies take a little while to figure things out, and the Seahawks’ roster, while the fourth-youngest team in the NFL in terms of average age, also includes 18 starters who were with the team a year ago.

The expectation is that as some of the veterans inevitably move on in a year or two and that a handful of this year’s rookies will be ready to step into starting roles. Several – such as linebacker Cody Barton, safety Marquise Blair and defensive back Ugo Amadi – have shown early promising signs.

For this year, though, most appear to be settling into depth, developmental and special teams roles as the season hits the quarter pole on Sunday.

Here’s a look at each of Seattle’s draft picks and what they’ve done:

Defensive end L.J. Collier: The first-round pick out of TCU has played 16 snaps in one game without recording a stat and was a healthy inactive last week. That he missed most of training camp with a high ankle sprain undoubtedly stunted his progress.

Safety Marquise Blair: An early preseason standout, the second-rounder battled a few injuries and for the moment, is behind a trio of veterans (Bradley McDougald, Lano Hill, Tedric Thompson) for playing time. The promotion of Colbert also further crowds the field for snaps at safety. Blair has played four snaps on defense but has 40 on special teams.

Receiver DK Metcalf: As noted above, Metcalf is the one big contributor of this group.

Linebacker Cody Barton: Barton, a third-rounder, might be playing if not behind a linebacking trio that may be the best in the NFL. He played one snap last week and has 61 on special teams.

Receiver Gary Jennings: Has yet to appear in a game.

Guard Phil Haynes: An early OTA standout, the fourth-rounder is on the PUP (physically unable to perform list) after having sports hernia surgery. He is eligible to return to practice after the sixth game (Oct. 14).

Defensive back Ugo Amadi: Amadi, a fourth-rounder out of Oregon, started at nickel in the opener, but that job belongs to veteran Jamar Taylor. He’s been solid on special teams. Amadi has played the second-most snaps of any rookie with 21.

Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven: The former Washington star taken in the fifth round has yet to play a defensive snap backing up at the inside linebacking spots. He has 61 special teams snaps.

Running back Travis Homer: Homer, a sixth-rounder, has been active for all three game but has yet to play on offense. He has 28 special teams snaps.

Defensive lineman Demarcus Christmas: The former Florida State star taken in the sixth round is also on the PUP list with a back issue. Like Haynes, he’s eligible to return to practice following the sixth game

Receiver John Ursua: The former Hawaii star and seventh-rounder has been active for one game and has two offensive snaps.

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