Seahawks rookie minicamp: Eric Pinkins plays cornerback and safety
A safety at San Diego State, the Seahawks drafted Eric Pinkins with the idea of turning him into a cornerback. But after two days, he was back at safety on Sunday, the final day of rookie minicamp.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — It’s the kind of week inevitably described as a whirlwind.
Most of the 59 players taking part in the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp Friday-Sunday were, just seven days ago or so, still waiting to learn where football would take them next.
That includes the nine players selected by the Seahawks in this year’s NFL draft. One minute, each figured they could be headed just about anywhere. The next thing they were told they were now members of the defending Super Bowl champs and to please hop on the next plane to Seattle.
For Eric Pinkins, taken in the sixth round by the Seahawks, the blink-of-an-eye life changes didn’t stop there.
A safety at San Diego State, the Seahawks drafted him with the idea of turning him into a cornerback. His 6-3, 220-pound frame, the team thinks, neatly fits the template of the kind of big corners Seattle has used to not only transform its defense but also the way defense is being played around the NFL.
And maybe it was just a coincidence, but it was hard not to notice that the team assigned Pinkins jersey number 39, which the last three years was worn by one of the big cornerbacks who best symbolized that change — Brandon Browner.
Through the first two days of Seattle’s rookie minicamp, though, Pinkins looked like what he was — a rookie trying to learn a new position on the fly. Excuse him if his head seemed to be swimming at times.
“It was definitely an adjustment period,’’ he said. “But I loved it. I really did.”
On Sunday, as minicamp ended, Pinkins was usually back at his more familiar safety position.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, though, said it didn’t mean the team won’t still look at Pinkins at cornerback. Instead, Carroll said they just wanted to make sure they got a good look at Pinkins at both spots to get as much information as possible before the team hits the field again with OTAs later this month and minicamp in June.
Seattle wasn’t alone in thinking Pinkins might be able to make the move to corner. He said the Dolphins also talked to him about it before the draft.
Pinkins last played cornerback at Inderkum High School in Sacramento before becoming a safety at SDSU, where he started the past two seasons.
One of the biggest differences in the two spots is having to defend receivers on the edges of the formation, or what in football parlance is called an island. Seattle’s bump-and-run technique, Pinkins said, is also different from what he has been asked to play before.
That Pinkins’ ultimate position may still be unclear, though, isn’t a big deal, he says. As a sixth-round pick coming to a team with what many say has the best secondary in the NFL, he knows special teams may be his initial entrée onto the field. The rest, he figures, will take care of itself.
“I’m an athlete,” he said. “So I’ll play wherever they want me to play.”
• WR Paul Richardson, the team’s top pick in the second round, sat out the last two days after bumping his shoulder on the final play Friday. But Carroll said it isn’t serious.
• Carroll said a couple of the 29 players who tried out were under consideration for spots on the 90-man camp roster. But he declined, with a smile, to cite any by name. Seattle has a full roster so it would have to make a cut for any player added.
• Sunday’s workout ended with a roughly 23-minute scrimmage. QBs Keith Price and Zach Zulli, a tryout player, each threw a touchdown pass, with Zulli’s team winning 10-7. Price led his team down the field for a possible winning TD in the final seconds. But his pass into the end zone for fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood was batted away by safety Thomas Wolfe, who was among those trying out, into the hands of safety Dion Bailey, a signed, undrafted free agent.
• One of the more intriguing players trying out was defensive end Adham Talaat of Gallaudet, a school for the deaf. Talaat, who is hearing-impaired, had a sack in Sunday’s scrimmage. Said Carroll: “Talaat did a really nice job of showing his toughness, and showing his great effort and all of that. No problems at all, everything was very smooth as far as communicating and working through the installation and all of that.”