Observations From Seahawks Third Training Camp Practice – Sports Illustrated

After holding a walkthrough on Friday, the Seahawks returned to action with their third open training camp practice on Saturday afternoon. While several veterans, including safety Quandre Diggs and guard Gabe Jackson, sat out for rest days, the team welcomed back receiver DK Metcalf with a new contract in tow and there were more offensive fireworks than the first two practices combined.
Recapping everything that transpired in Saturday's session, here are five quick observations from the VMAC:
1. The Geno Smith to Tyler Lockett connection comes to life with a trio of scoring hookups.
In three starts replacing Russell Wilson last season, Smith found most of his success throwing to Metcalf, who returned to the field for his first practice of the season after signing a three-year, $72 million extension on Friday. But while Smith connected with Metcalf a few times, he did the majority of his damage targeting Seattle's other Pro Bowl receiver as the duo lit up Clint Hurtt's defense during two separate red zone sessions.
Putting on a route running clinic, Lockett first beat safety Ryan Neal inside on a quick slant and Smith hit him in stride for an easy six points. On the next offensive drive for the first-team unit, the two struck again with Lockett emulating Metcalf by high-pointing the football at the goal line while being draped by safety Josh Jones, bringing down the pass and drawing roars from the crowd on the berm. Towards the end of practice, Smith executed the hat trick by finding Lockett between the safety and linebacker on a skinny post for their third touchdown of the afternoon. If the two of them can show a rapport like that on a regular basis, Smith may be able to lock up the Week 1 starting job in quick order.
2. Executing well in situational drills, Drew Lock enjoyed his best practice as a Seahawk thus far.
While Smith remains out in front of the quarterback race, Lock put his best foot forward on Saturday, throwing with better accuracy and making better decisions in the passing game. In the first red zone period, the former Missouri standout threw a pair of touchdowns, first connecting with veteran receiver Marquise Goodwin on a perfectly thrown back shoulder dime towards the right back pylon. Moments later, he took advantage of Colby Parkinson's 6-foot-7 frame, lofting a well timed fade to the massive tight end for six points.
While Lock and Smith both threw a bunch of touchdowns in Seattle's red zone periods, the newcomer held the edge in the two-minute drill segment of practice. After Smith got picked off by Jones on a deep ball in the middle of the field, Lock quickly led the offense down the field with a couple of quick completions to rookie Dareke Young and Tyler Mabry. DeeJay Dallas eventually scored on a running play, though coaches wound up calling it back do to no contact rules and the Seahawks were forced to settle for a Jason Myers field goal a few plays later.
3. Showcasing soft hands and elite shiftiness, Ken Walker III puts his well-rounded game on display.
Until the pads come out, running backs will be challenging – if not impossible – to evaluate with defenders unable to tackle or even wrap them up. Watching these initial practices closely, every back looks like Bo Jackson off Tecmo Bowl racing for daylight with minimal resistance provided by the defense. However, if there's an area where backs can impress during the first few weeks of camp, it's in the passing game. 
Coming out of Michigan State, Walker earned the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns. But he didn't contribute much as a receiver, catching only 13 passes for 89 yards in 12 games. That appears to be linked to simply not having many opportunities, however, because the second-round pick has been money snagging the football out of the backfield for the Seahawks so far. In Saturday's practice, he scored a pair of touchdowns as a receiver, first taking a dump off from Smith for six points against broken coverage. Later in the session, Lock lofted a picturesque throw on a wheel route to the rookie, splitting a safety and linebacker for six points.
4. Switching things up on day three, Seahawks leaving no Stone unturned in right tackle battle.
Much like the backs, offensive linemen can't truly be assessed until the padded practices start late next week. With that said, Seattle's defensive linemen have still been flying upfield and playing as physical as they can given contact limitations, providing a chance for the coaching staff to look at footwork, pass sets, and technique. After getting to watch Jake Curhan with the first-team on Wednesday and Thursday, the team gave another competitor a shot at right tackle on Saturday, but it wasn't third-round pick Abraham Lucas.
Instead, second-year tackle Stone Forsythe stepped into the lineup, while Lucas remained with the second-team unit and Curhan slid inside to right guard with Gabe Jackson sitting out practice on a rest day. Similar to Lucas, the former Florida starter offers plus athletic traits and outstanding length and excelled in pass protection against SEC competition. Coach Pete Carroll hinted in June that he would be a legitimate contender for the starting spot and getting first-team reps this early suggests he will indeed factor into the race.
5. Ball-hawking Coby Bryant continues to stake an early case for a starting job in the secondary.
A number of rookies have made strong first impressions out of the gate to kick off camp, but aside from being in coverage on Goodwin's touchdown, Bryant continues to be the shining star of the group thus far and has firmly put himself into the equation for a starting job. Building off an excellent practice on Thursday, the instinctive corner seemed to have football-attracting magnets inside of his gloves in Saturday's practice, producing a trio of impressive pass breakups in coverage.
For a third straight practice, Bryant denied a deep ball tossed by Lock, this time staying on Cody Thompson's hip to force an incompletion in the end zone. Later in team drills, he hung tough with the speedy Goodwin on a go-route, using his body positioning to lead to another incompletion. But no play stood out more than Bryant's impressive coverage work against Parkinson in the red zone. After throwing a touchdown earlier on a fade route to the big tight end, Lock tried to do it again in the back corner of the end zone, but the rookie defender got a piece of the football while jockeying for position on the jump ball and knocked it away, drawing cheers from teammates on the field and sideline.


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