Considered a long shot to make the squad entering training camp, lanky receiver Jordan Kent may have solidified a spot on the Seahawks’ final roster come September with his performance Saturday night.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound University of Oregon product served as Charlie Frye’s security blanket most of the evening. Frye looked for Kent whenever he felt pressure, which was often.
A raw, talented athlete with little football experience, Kent has molded himself into a more polished receiver. Against Chicago Kent created separation against cat-quick cornerbacks on the edge of the defense. And once the ball was in the air, he let his basketball instincts take over, actively going after the ball like a loose rebound.
But the key for Kent has been developing a better understanding of the nuances in Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren’s complex, West Coast offense. With a more firm grasp of the playbook, Kent can go out and let his natural abilities take over, instead of thinking about what he has to do.
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“That’s been the thing that’s really helped me as a player, is finally knowing the system to so well,” Kent said. “Knowing the intricacies where I can go out there and react as opposed to thinking where you kind of got your head on a swivel.
“Today things did kind of slow down for me there, and that’s a big confidence booster.”
Kent scored his first NFL touchdown against Minnesota in Seattle’s first preseason game. And he followed that effort up with another solid performance against the Bears on Saturday night, finishing with four receptions for 50 yards, including a 23-yard catch down the left sideline. Kent also had another 23-yard reception called back because of offensive holding, and was the only receiver to catch a pass in the first half.
“I just felt real comfortable out there,” Kent said. “And that was a big part to help build confidence for me, to go out there and make plays against the No. 1 defense and go across the middle.
“I’ve just got to keep working and never be satisfied. I’m just trying to make it as tough as I can on the coaches when it’s all said and done at the end of camp.”
With Kent shouldering most of the load, Auburn products Ben Obomanu and Courtney Taylor finished with no catches between them. Even worse, Obomanu and Taylor have no catches so far this preseason, which does not bode well for Holmgren, who has the two Auburn receivers penciled in to see significant time with veterans Bobby Engram and Deion Branch injured.
Logan Payne and Michael Bumpus – two other young receivers battling for roster spots – played well during the final stretches of the game. Payne, returning to action after suffering a rib injury in the team’s scrimmage two weeks, finished with 4 catches for 38 yards, while Bumpus hauled in two grabs for 29 yards.