During this offseason, I'm finding it fun to try and guess who might be the next Hawks' Mike Williams. Everyone knows the story by now; Mike was brought in off his couch for a tryout, made the team, and basically became the Seahawks' most productive receiver. Not bad for a guy NO ONE had thought would even be on the team. Any team.
When the Hawks' futures contracts were revealed last month, one guy in particular strikes me as having a chance to make the 53 man roster: WR Dominique Edison. At 6'2", 205, and blazing 4.34 40 speed, he definitely fits the profile as an outside deep threat in Pete Carroll's system. He is a project guy though, coming out of Steven F. Austin University, a small Division I school in the Southland Conference. At SFAU, Edison had good career numbers, catching 182 passes for 2,697 yrds and 28 touchdowns. Despite his performance there, I would guess that reason he didn't get as many looks in the draft is probably due to him playing at a lower level with lower competition and less fanfare. That being said, he definitely has the physical tools to compete, and he wouldn't be the first small school project to make it big in the NFL (read: Pierre Garcon, Marques Colston).
His NFL Combine analysis page is pretty interesting: I'll quote from there:
Positives: Overmatches lower-level talent with good height and sinewy upper body strength. Separates from most FCS corners with his elite speed. Catches with his hands and is able to go outside his frame to adjust to poorly thrown passes in any direction. Uses his hands or feet on the line to free himself off the jam. Quick into and out of routes. Has good body control, and is able to get his feet down, high-point the ball in traffic and make a quick move after the catch. Typically runs stay-routes on the sideline and posts, but is also used on underneath crossing routes to get him the ball quickly. Sells the outside route fake, and uses his body to shield corners on the post. Covers up and locks onto defensive backs while run blocking.
Negatives: Lanky frame that is thin in the hips and legs. Productive, but at a lower division playing in a spread offense regularly using four- or five-receiver sets. Lacks suddenness off the line and takes a couple of steps to get to full speed. Only average elusiveness in space, lacking wiggle in his hips. Faced lower-level corners, so it may take some time until he's physical enough against NFL veterans on the jam and downfield. Must prove he can handle going over the middle. Could increase his value by returning kicks, but is inexperienced there.
I don't attend Seahawks' practices, I haven't seen him play a lot, and can't offer a lot of insight on Edison as a playmaker. Seahawks' beat reporter Dave Boling, though, does attend practices and OTAs, and stated recently on twitter:
Of Hawks "futures" guys, I thought WR Edison shone in practices. Size (6-2 205) speed (4.34 best 40). Made some plays that made me go "ooh."This offseason, Edison should be working on his ability to get off the line, physically, in order to possibly get a chance to start out "gunning," and working his way onto the field. To be an effective gunner, speed is of primary importance. Dominique has that, easily. But, according to Seahawks special teams coach Brian Schneider, “You have to be able to get off the line of scrimmage, too, because some guys can be really fast, but they struggle getting off the line of scrimmage. So you have to have both those elements."
His strength was questioned pre-draft, so I don't know if he will be strong enough to be the type of guy to get off the line of scrimmage well. Two years of NFL level weight training will be under his belt though at the start of this season, so I am not sure that will be a factor.
He has to have the heart as well. Edison has been on and off of practice squads throughout his short career. He was a long-shot 6th round draft pick to start with. He didn't work out in Tennessee, perhaps because they were trying to work him into the slot position, not the outside, as he played in college. He stated at the time:
It is kind of new to me, and it is a process, but it is coming along. It is different, on the outside you come off the ball real fast, and you have time to get in and out of routes. Playing the slot everything is faster, quicker. I’ve had to learn how to get in and out of breaks better, faster. That has been in the biggest thing. Mainly I’m just trying to stay consistent, trying to learn two or three positions to get the best opportunity to be on the field.This type of attitude can go a long way in the Pete Carroll system. Carroll has proven that he'll give any player a chance if they produce. Ben Obomanu languished on special teams for several years before Pete saw the potential in him and we all saw what happened with him this year. With Obomanu figuring to get significant playing time at WR this upcoming season, his role as a special team gunner could be diminished or phased out altogether. Could Edison be the guy to take his place? His speed and size make him an obvious option, but his strength is questionable. Also, Will Isaiah Stanbeck be in the hunt? Last year, he was in a close competition with Obomanu for the spot. He tore his achilles, and his future remains in doubt. Roy Lewis was a gunner for a while too, but he could see increased time at Safety/Corner this year as well.
The Hawks may well be looking for someone to fill that role. Keep your eye on Dominique Edison.