It took a while, but the Seattle Seahawks finally decided to tap into its local talent pool, and agreed to terms with undrafted free agent, Jermaine Kearse, Senior Wide Receiver from the University of Washington. This past Saturday, Kearse joined 9 other rookie free agents in the team’s roster.
Despite being one of Jake Locker’s favorite targets during his time in the University of Washington, Kearse had been projected to go in one of the latter rounds, or to remain undrafted for the duration of the 2012 NFL Draft. No surprises here! The Lakewood, WA, native started his college career in 2008 as a true freshman. After being named second-team All-Pac-10 both his sophomore and junior years, Kearse finished his Husky career by ranking second all-time in receptions for the Huskies. He was also named a team captain and received an honorable mention to the All-Pac-12 team.
Jermaine Kearse did not perform to his full potential at the NFL Combine, but was able to improve his performance during Washington’s pro day in March. The Seahawks scouts were able to observe him closely, and selected Kearse, along with undrafted free agents Phil Bates (Ohio) and Lavasier Tuinei (Oregon), as the only three receivers taken by the team.
Kearse is an athletic receiver at 6’1 and 209 lbs. Some of his assets include clean route running and the ability to use corners’ bodies to create separation on the field. Despite being slow off the ball, Kearse is not afraid to get hit, and understands ball protection. Some of his liabilities include less than great hands and lack of involvement in the blocking for the running game. Over the years, Jermaine Kearse did benefit from multiple receptions in a West Coast type of offense. He was often used as a go-to receiver waiting in different zones for the quarterback to go through his progressions.
Some say that the odds are stacked against Kearse making the team. However, others argue that his experience in the West Coast offense would be a good fit for Seattle. Kearse can hope to follow in the footsteps of Doug Baldwin (Stanford) who made last year’s team as an undrafted rookie. Jermaine Kearse is, perhaps, not the flashy receiver that the Seattle fan base was hoping for. However, he can be a receiver who stretches the field and is a difference maker in the end zone. Jermaine Kearse’s best bet is to take a page or two from Doug Baldwin play-book on how to make a team’s roster as an undrafted rookie. Lesson Number 1: Show up hungry and willing to play, work on being seen as added depth to the receivers in the team, hope to become a starter some time down the road.