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Hopeful Hawks Living In An Undrafted Paradise

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Undrafted free agent John Lotulelei aims to make the 53-man roster after the preseason is over. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.
Undrafted free agent John Lotulelei aims to make the 53-man roster after the preseason is over. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.

Since Pete Carroll and John Schneider joined the Seahawks in 2010, major changes were made in dealing with undrafted rookies. Each individual, regardless of where he’s from or years of experience, has a chance of making the 53-man roster. The same trust philosophy that led to the emergence of Russell Wilson on the NFL main stage is taking place with some of the players who weren’t selected in this year’s draft. 

The Seahawks signed 10 undrafted rookies to participate in the offseason camp: tackle Alvin Bailey (Arkansas); linebackers John Lotulelei (UNLV), Benson Mayowa (Idaho), Ramon Buchanan (Miami), Craig Wilkins (Old Dominion); defensive end Kenneth Boatright (S. Illinois); guard Jordon Roussos (Bowling Green); wide receiver Matt Austin (Utah St.); safety Ray Polk (Colorado) and running back Dominique Whaley (Oklahoma). 

As stacked as the Seahawks are in every department, it is unlikely that most of them will make the cut. Some have impressed more than others in camp, and some even have a chance to make the first team. Atop that list stand John Lotulelei, Alvin Bailey and Benson Mayowa. The three defensive players certainly didn’t have any expectations coming into training camp, but little did they know about the undrafted free agent history in Seattle. A common outlook in the Seattle locker room is striving through adversity and demonstrating that many of those undrafted free agents deserved a spot high in the draft ranking. It's an almost spiteful feeling that compels these players to show they are worth more than what people think.

Pete Carroll is a long-term believer. Players like Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Sean Mc Grath were all were picked up via free agency after going undrafted. They managed to make the roster and are proving to be important assets for the team development. 

Lotulelei has exploded this offseason and has the best shot at making the roster. The long-haired Hawaiian linebacker has shown an insatiable desire to rush the passer; he always seems to be in the middle of the action and continuously improves the defense when he is on the field. His impact this season may be limited to a few snaps because of the elite talent ahead of him. Letting him develop for a year or two might just prove to be a good move looking forward.

“I came in with the mentality of working hard and not losing the opportunity to make plays," Lotulelei said recently. "Being a UDFA was fine with me. I knew I still had a chance to make any team. That’s the goal.”

Lotulelei and the other undrafted rookies that are going to make the roster have to stay cautiously optimistic. They might not be given too many chances this year, but failure to stay in ready-to-go shape will result in their dismissal.

The third preseason game — Friday against the Green Bay Packers — will serve as a further important test to verify the effectiveness of some players against an impressive Packers offense.