3 under-the-radar players to keep an eye on in Seahawks training camp

  • Keep an eye on Matt Landers
  • Oluwatimi could be an anchor on Seahawks' offensive line
  • Tyreke Smith has an incredible motor
Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are back in training camp and that means the excitement of seeing the team's stars and bright young players are going to give fans plenty to talk about. With two first-round picks joining a team with a loaded offense and improving defense, this is a year to be optimistic about the Seahawks' chances.

Training camp, however, is also about unearthing a few surprises here and there. Roster battles can often give way to emerging players who seize the opportunity in front of them with drills, practices, and exhibitions.

Here are a few players who are likely flying under the radar for fans as the team returns to training camp once again.

Matt Landers, WR

Given that NFL scouts love to take chances on freak athletic talents or players whose measurables are off the charts, it feels weird that wide receiver Matt Landers wasn't one of the 250 or so college prospects selected at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Landers signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, and a team with an abundance of riches at the top of the depth chart with the trio of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Tyler Lockett, and D.K. Metcalf will also welcome the upside play of a significant talent like Landers.

There are good reasons for Landers being passed over, considering he could never quite put it all together consistently at the collegiate level—whether at Georgia or Toledo or Arkansas—but he did break out with a nice 901-yard effort last year for the Razorbacks on only 41 catches. His pre-draft season was a real hit with an incredible 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds—incredible for a guy who is 6'4", 200 lbs.

Basically, there's a lot to coach up here, but what you cannot learn is length and speed and Landers has the tools if a staff can help him with his release and sharpen his routes.

Olu Oluwatimi, OL

The Seahawks know they have a pretty significant need along the offensive interior at both center and right guard, so it was not surprising to see them go with back-to-back picks to try to address some concerns there in the 2023 NFL Draft. In the fourth round, they grabbed Anthony Bradford from LSU and followed that up with the selection of Olu Oluwatimi from Michigan in the fifth.

Bradford is expected to compete for reps at right guard while Oluwatimi tries his best to make the leap from a high level of success at Michigan to a starting NFL role in front of Geno Smith.

Last year, Oluwatimi didn't allow a single sack for the Wolverines in nearly 1,000 snaps, and as a four-year starter, he comes pro-ready to help in some capacity for the Seahawks up front. His primary competition will be Evan Brown, who was brought in as a free agent after two seasons as the primary starter for the Detroit Lions. That said, Brown is more of a stopgap starter and if Oluwatimi can learn the mental side in short order, he stands a decent chance of earning the starting role sooner than later.

Watch for Oluwatimi to be a quick study who was well-coached in the college ranks. He should earn the majority of starts at center by season's end and at least provide a higher ceiling than what the Seahawks have had inside for a couple of years.

Tyreke Smith, DE

One Seahawks player being potentially overlooked on the defensive side is an edge who was actually forced to redshirt his rookie season. Thus it makes sense why some fans might have forgotten about Tyreke Smith.

One year ago, the Seahawks invested a fifth-round pick in Smith, a defensive end out of Ohio State who was always overshadowed by more productive pass rushers. Smith had a solid history of pressuring the quarterback but with only seven career sacks, Smith's name was hardly mentioned alongside other Buckeye greats.

Still, the Seahawks made the investment and were excited to usher him onto the roster with fellow rookie Boye Mafe. Instead, hip injuries kept Smith from ever playing a single snap, rendering last year a redshirt campaign. Now Smith is coming into camp a year older and wiser but with a real need to stand out against brand-new competitors looking to keep him on the outskirts.

Fortunately, Smith is known for a strong work ethic and a non-stop motor and that drive should serve him well as he tries to fight for real playing time. He's got solid length and burst and should be able to provide Clint Hurtt with a situational pass rusher to complement more dependable players like Darrell Taylor and Dre'Mont Jones—if he can stay healthy in 2023.