RENTON — It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams are roommates during the Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp.
Out of all the rookies participating this weekend, Williams and Hill have potentially the best chance of making the greatest impact for the Seahawks right away thanks to a unique set of skills each possess.
“We just want to find a spot, both of us together,” Hill said. “To go in and hopefully help this team win games. At the beginning that’s all that you want to do is come in and contribute in any way that you can.”
They both play defensive tackle and adding reinforcements along the defensive line of scrimmage was a priority for the Seahawks for much of the offseason. Hill was selected in the third round out of Penn State. Williams was taken in the fifth round out of Alabama. Hill’s forte is his ability to put pressure on the quarterback from the inside. Williams’ strength is his ability to eat up space and stop the run.
While their skills may contrast, they’re both areas of need on the Seahawks defensive line. The ability to find an interior pass rush was one of the elements coach Pete Carroll felt was missing last season. The Seahawks hoped Jason Jones would be the guy, but he struggled with injuries. Seattle signed Michael Bennett in free agency in the hopes he can be an interior pass rusher, but added some depth by drafting Hill in the third round.
Williams need could be even greater. Seattle signed Tony McDaniel in free agency after seeing Alan Branch leave for Buffalo. But who teams with Brandon Mebane along the line to stuff the run will be one of the questions through the summer and into the start of training camp.
Seattle felt landing Williams in the fifth-round was a steal. The Seahawks said Williams was rated far higher on their draft board and watched him continue to slip in the draft because of reported knee problems.
“Probably the guy who could make a big impact for us, loading up in our running game, where Alan Branch takes off, it gives us a chance to have a real big guy,” Carroll said. “He played good football now and was very tough. He was at Alabama for two years. The whole thing about coming to Alabama from junior college and Australia and all that, he’s got a lot of promise for us in an exciting spot.”
Hill and Williams played against each other during the 2011 season but didn’t get to know each other until the NFL combine in February. It was by chance they were talking at the combine and another stroke of luck they were both selected by the Seahawks.
“He’s a good guy. We’re kind of bouncing off each other, trying to learn the stuff. We play different positions but they sort of complement each other so we try to help each other out,” Williams said. “I played against him in 2011 as well and I don’t think he wants me to bring that up - we won. But he’s a good guy and I look forward to working with him.”
Their first weekend with the Seahawks for the pair has been a crash course in nuisances. While both Hill and Williams played in 4-3 defenses in college, they’re now being instructed on specific hand placements, tilts, alignments that the Seahawks want to use. It’s a flood of information to try and digest.
“I’m a guy that likes challenges, so it’s always, `Keep me on my toes.’ I like that. It keeps you thinking and it’s something that I enjoy,” Hill said.