Seahawks' Pinkins shifts from defensive back to linebacker
May. 10, 2015
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Eric Pinkins was drafted a year ago with the idea that he could become the next tall cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks.
When the Seahawks wrapped up rookie minicamp Sunday, Pinkins completed his first weekend of making the transition from defensive back to outside linebacker.
"It's a faster chance for me to get on the field. That's what everybody wants to do growing up — they to play in the NFL and they want to get on the field," Pinkins said.
While that might appear to be a simple explanation, the decision Seattle is making with the sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State is more than just getting him on the field. He is 6-foot-3 and more than 220 pounds. He brings speed to the position and has experience playing near the line of scrimmage in college.
And Seattle could use an additional body at linebacker after Malcolm Smith signed with Oakland during free agency.
"We are trying him at outside linebacker to use his speed and see if he can't be a really special addition to that spot. You know, he's real fast," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Pinkins was going to be a project one way or another with Seattle. He had played safety at San Diego State, but fit the body profile Seattle craves in its cornerbacks — tall with strength to handle bigger wide receivers.
That initial transition plan was thrown off when Pinkins didn't show in the best shape for offseason workouts last year. The cornerback plan was shelved and Seattle started working him at safety.
Then Pinkins had a serious foot injury before training camp last summer. He spent the entire season on the non-football injury list rehabilitating his foot.
"It was very frustrating just seeing my teammates going out there and having a good time, but it was also a blessing to sit back and watch the veterans and actually see what a championship team looks like," Pinkins said.
During his recovery, Pinkins put on weight and started to look more like a linebacker than a safety. Pinkins said he was "starving myself a little bit," to get down near 220 pounds as a defensive back. By moving to linebacker, he can eat more naturally.
At San Diego State he played in a 3-3-5 defensive alignment. Pinkins said he was regularly the defensive back brought closer to the line to defend slot wide receivers and help in run support.
"It's very similar to how we play our strong safeties so there is a lot of carry over when they're in their aggressive modes at the line of scrimmage," Carroll said. "He was able to do that stuff. ... This camp was great for him."
Notes: Carroll was impressed by second-round pick DE Frank Clark's versatility as Seattle tried him at three positions along the defensive line during minicamp. "He gets off the ball really well and that's exciting for pass rushing," Carroll said. ... Along with sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli making the transition from defensive line to center, there was another lineman in camp making a position switch. Kona Schwenke was a defensive tackle cut earlier this week by Oakland, but Seattle brought him to minicamp and tried him at offensive guard. "He kind of showed up," offensive line coach Tom Cable said.