What to Watch in Seattle Seahawks 2024 Mandatory Minicamp

Though practices will remain limited without contact, competitions along the offensive line, at linebacker, and in the secondary should keep heating up for the Seahawks.
May 23, 2022; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Charles Cross (67) participates in an OTA workout at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2022; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Charles Cross (67) participates in an OTA workout at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Aiming to put a bow on a successful first offseason program under new coach Mike Macdonald, the Seattle Seahawks will open their annual mandatory minicamp on Tuesday with another opportunity to take a positive step forward towards the 2024 season.

Entering the last step before the start of training camp in late July, here are five key storylines that bear watching as Seattle hits the practice field for the three-day minicamp at the VMAC:

1. Which receivers put their best foot forward in a crowded competition behind Seattle's big three?

With DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba all returning after making franchise history by each finishing with over 600 receiving yards last season, the Seahawks don't have any questions atop the depth chart at receiver. But the competition for reserve spots behind them will be fierce following the arrival of Laviska Shenault in free agency and the decision to bring back Dee Eskridge, as those two veterans will be vying to make the roster battling against returning veterans Jake Bobo and Dareke Young for reps.

Jul 30, 2023; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jake Bobo (19) prior to training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2023; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jake Bobo (19) prior to training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

After surprising as an undrafted free agent and catching 19 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns last season, Bobo would seem to have an inside track to a roster spot. But the ex-UCLA standout will have to win over a new coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who may prefer more athletic, versatile players such as Shenault, Eskridge, and Young, who all have prior experience playing in the slot as well as the backfield to go with special teams talent.

How snaps on offense are split up during minicamp could provide an indication on where things stand, and taking advantage of those opportunities will be critical with only two or three receiver spots likely up for grabs in a crowded position group. All four players will be aiming to impress, especially a player like Eskridge who has been dogged by injuries and hopes to get off to a strong start in front of a new staff as he hits the reset button.

2. Will the first and second-team offensive lines mirror the groups from OTAs?

While Seattle has been healthy at receiver to this point, the same can't be said for the offensive line, which has been missing two projected starters throughout OTAs. Guard Anthony Bradford tweaked his ankle in the first practice and hasn't participated since, while tackle Abraham Lucas continues a long road back from offseason knee surgery and isn't expected to return until at least the start of training camp.

Without Lucas or Bradford, the Seahawks have been rolling out a first-team offensive line with veteran George Fant at right tackle and second-year blocker McClendon Curtis at right guard, surprisingly relegating third-round pick Christian Haynes to the second team. Depending on whether or not Bradford can return to action for minicamp, it will be interesting to see whether coach Scott Huff sticks with status quo during the three days keeping Curtis with the ones or switch things up giving Haynes his first crack at playing with the starters.

Additionally, eyes should be kept on Seattle's second line from a roster battle perspective, as rookies Sataoa Laumea and Mike Jerrell have been rotating in at left guard and right tackle respectively with somewhat limited reps, sharing snaps with Tremayne Anchrum and Garret Greenfield. Huff may choose to continue using the same platoons in an OTA-style minicamp practice, and yet, this may also be the week where he gives the rooks a bit more of a chance to show what they can do.

3. How does a fluid situation at linebacker shake out without Jerome Baker or Tyrel Dodson healthy?

Speaking of injuries, at least Huff has had a chance to see 60 percent of his projected starting offensive line with Charles Cross, Laken Tomlinson, and Olu Oluwatimi participating throughout OTAs over the past month. Macdonald, however, has had to start installing his defense with a linebacker corps held together by duct tape and discount store super glue while missing his two expected starters in the middle tabbed as replacements for Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks.

With Baker recovering from offseason wrist surgery and Dodson being limited by an undisclosed injury, the Seahawks have had Jon Rhattigan and Patrick O'Connell taking all of the first-team reps. Behind Rhattigan and McConnell, who have played fewer than 25 combined regular season defensive snaps in the league, Seattle has a pair of rookies in fourth-round pick Tyrice Knight and undrafted signee Easton Gibbs who are still trying to find their footing in their first NFL offseason.

Considering Rhattigan and O'Connell's lack of experience on their own accord, could this be the week where the Seahawks see what Knight can do getting some reps at weakside linebacker with the first-team defense? As he continues to get more comfortable in a new defense, at some point, Macdonald will want to give him a more extended look with Baker and/or Dodson sidelined, and it wouldn't be surprising at all if that ends up happening this week at minicamp.

4. Who emerges as the favorite to start as Seattle's third cornerback and "big" nickel safety?

There may not be a more compelling positional group to watch in regards to playing time than the secondary for the Seahawks, who have defined starters at several spots while also having plenty of question marks left to be decided in situational sub-package roles. At cornerback, Macdonald has to figure out who will be the team's second boundary defender when Devon Witherspoon slides inside to the slot, while three-safety sets will also be a staple with several players vying for a nickel safety role in certain packages.

To this point, Tre Brown has seen the majority of snaps across from Riq Woolen with Witherspoon in the slot during OTAs. But Mike Jackson, who started 21 games over the past two seasons, should be in the hunt to regain a starting spot, while veteran Artie Burns and fifth-round pick Nehemiah Pritchett will also be jockeying for opportunities. Even in the slot behind Witherspoon, sixth-round pick D.J. James and Burns could be in the midst of a competitive fight for a roster spot and defensive reps in dime situations.

At safety, the absence of Jerrick Reed II as he recovers from a torn ACL has removed one potential contender for a nickel role from the equation for Seattle, at least for now. But free agent signee K'Von Wallace and converted corner Coby Bryant look to be in a tight battle early on to see snaps on defense alongside starters Rayshawn Jenkins and Julian Love, while second-year defenders Ty Okada and Jonathan Sutherland have seen quite a bit of action thus far and could be in the mix as minicamp gets underway.

5. Which undrafted rookies will continue building momentum heading towards training camp?

Without pads coming on yet, it's way too early to know which undrafted rookies will look to add their name to a long line of success stories during the John Schneider era in Seattle. But at the same time, several incoming rookies have helped their cause this time of year in the past, including Bobo tearing it up during OTAs and minicamp last season and building chemistry with Geno Smith along the way.

Since Seattle opened phase three of the offseason in early May, receiver Hayden Hatten and tight end Jack Westover have been the earliest candidates to seize their opportunities. Hatten, who posted 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons at Idaho, has made several impressive grabs, including high-pointing a deep ball from Sam Howell in the first open OTA session. As for Westover, he has seen quite a bit of work with the first-team offense and seems to have a rapport building with Smith, who has leaned on the rookie's expertise playing in Grubb's offense at Washington.

Away from Hatten and Westover, Gibbs may have as good of a chance as any undrafted rookie in front of him due to the aforementioned injuries and lack of depth at linebacker. Racking up over 300 tackles the past three seasons at Wyoming, he has excellent change of direction skills and a nose for the football, and if he picks up Macdonald's defense quickly, he could be a dark horse to watch vying for a roster spot at a position with substantial question marks.


Published |Modified
Corbin K. Smith

CORBIN K. SMITH

Graduating from Manchester College in 2012, Smith began his professional career as a high school Economics teacher in Indianapolis and launched his own NFL website covering the Seahawks as a hobby. After teaching and coaching high school football for five years, he transitioned to a full-time sports reporter in 2017, writing for USA Today's Seahawks Wire while continuing to produce the Legion of 12 podcast. He joined the Arena Group in August 2018 and also currently hosts the daily Locked On Seahawks podcast with Rob Rang and Nick Lee. Away from his coverage of the Seahawks and the NFL, Smith dabbles in standup comedy, is a heavy metal enthusiast and previously performed as lead vocalist for a metal band, and enjoys distance running and weight lifting. A habitual commuter, he resides with his wife Natalia in Colorado and spends extensive time reporting from his second residence in the Pacific Northwest.