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Seahawks WR Jake Bobo Impressing Geno Smith: 'Confidence & Swag!'

As his stock rises with each passing day and he stakes his claim to a roster spot with the Seattle Seahawks, Jake Bobo continues to show there's more to getting open and catching passes in the NFL than speed.

SEATTLE, Wash. - With the game clock rolling under a minute to play in the third quarter of Friday's mock scrimmage, time was running low for Drew Lock and the Seattle Seahawks second-team offense.

Dropping back after taking the snap from center Olu Oluwatimi at the opposing 12-yard line, Lock scanned the field and though two defenders were in the vicinity, he decided to let it rip, firing a dart into traffic. On the receiving end, as he had been throughout the drive with multiple chain-moving receptions, undrafted rookie Jake Bobo reeled in the contested catch in the end zone, bringing the scrimmage to an abrupt end with the score.

Since signing with the Seahawks after the draft following a strong final collegiate season at UCLA, just as he was on Friday night, the 6-4 Bobo has been a surprise show stopper from OTAs and minicamps in the spring into his first NFL training camp. Leading the team with seven receptions for 76 yards while seeing snaps with the first and second-team offense, he drew praise from coach Pete Carroll for his efforts, continuing to impress with his stellar play.

"He’s been very competitive throughout camp," Carroll told reporters. "He had a big day, and I think he had the game-winner at the end. Had a couple third down wins and did a nice job.”

Technically speaking, Bobo's touchdown wasn't a game winner, as the starters still held on for a 20-17 win. But with Carroll happily serving as the commissioner for a day and ready to make his own rules on the fly, he stepped in to declare game over after the rookie wideout's late heroics.

As Carroll noted, throughout Friday's dress rehearsal, Bobo seized every chance to show what he could do. On the first offensive possession, he walled off cornerback Tre Brown and high-pointed a third down pass from Lock with strong hands to secure a new set of downs, immediately making a positive impact. He nearly came up clutch again a few plays later, but cornerback Devon Witherspoon got a piece of Lock's throw and the rookie couldn't handle the pass off the deflection.

As the second-team offense sputtered against Seattle's starting defense, Bobo kept standing out as rare bright spot, stacking catch after catch and picking up the majority of the offense's first down conversions in the process.

Away from Carroll, Bobo has also caught the attention of starting quarterback Geno Smith, who nearly hit the undrafted rookie for a remarkable touchdown to close out the first half. Initially, the pass to the back of the end zone looked to be a throwaway, but the tall receiver managed to leap up and snag the catch. Unfortunately, the throw carried him too far past the end zone to have a chance at getting his feet down inbounds for six points.

Nonetheless, just as Lock did at the end of the game, Smith demonstrated the confidence to go to Bobo in a critical situation in the red zone with the clock winding down towards triple zeroes. Having watched him closely since OTAs started in May, he has been excited by what he has seen from the rookie dating back to spring practices.

“Bobo has been doing a great job," Smith said. "Ever since minicamp and OTAs, he was a guy that was showing up on tape and making plays consistently. He’s a guy that knows his assignment and has a lot of confidence and swag. Everyone around here loves Bobo. We’re happy to see him make those plays because he can be a really good player.”

Before arriving in Seattle, Bobo earned Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 honors in his lone season at UCLA. After transferring from Duke, where he caught 74 passes as a senior in 2021, he led the Bruins with 57 catches for 817 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 14.7 yards per catch and turning nearly 80 percent of his receptions into first downs, proving to be a fantastic security blanket for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Despite his on-field success and great size for the position, however, Bobo struggled through a difficult pro day workout. Running a 4.99-second 40-yard dash that clocked in slower than some offensive tackles at the NFL combine, he received a 2.61 Relative Athletic Score on a 10.0 scale, ranking 203rd out of 310 receivers in the site's database for the 2023 draft class.

In the aftermath of that underwhelming performance, Bobo didn't hear his name called in April's draft. But the Seahawks loved what they saw from him as a route runner on film, quickly swooping him up as a priority undrafted free agent to compete in a talented receiving corps headlined by DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Given the immense amount of talent Seattle has at the position, Bobo entered the team's offseason program viewed as a long shot to push for a roster spot. But three months later, all he has done is rack up catches in bunches and demonstrate his football acumen by always finding soft spots in coverage to provide a big target for his quarterback, impressing everyone in the building and putting his name on the radar.

With the preseason set to begin next Thursday against the Vikings, after jumping out as one of the biggest stars in Friday's mock game, Bobo has now entered dark horse territory as a potential wild card to make the final 53 for the Seahawks. Further helping his cause, receiver Dee Eskridge's six-game suspension levied by the NFL last week for violating the personal conduct policy now opens up a spot while Dareke Young has a hip/groin injury that could shelve him for several weeks.

If his outstanding play from practice at the VMAC and Friday's audition translates against other teams in exhibition play, Bobo has a prime opportunity to not only sneak onto Seattle's opening day roster, but carve out a meaningful role as a big-bodied, soft-handed slot target that the offense hasn't had in recent years. Continuing to exceed expectations, he's proving speed isn't everything and with each successive catch he reels in, his odds of sticking around keep rising.

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