Jonny Nation has arrived in the NFL.
Jon Rhattigan made a strong impression with Pete Carroll on the first day of Seahawks’ rookie mini-camp Friday. Rhattigan, who signed with Seattle as a free agent earlier this month after a breakout senior season for Army, is getting a look at both inside linebacker positions this weekend.
“He seems like a really cool kid,” Carroll said during his media briefing. “I’m anxious to see the chip on his shoulder being from West Point.”
Rhattigan, who is wearing No. 59, picked up Army first-year coordinator Nate Woody’s defensive scheme seamlessly to become one of college football’s top first-time starters in 2020. He tied for the team lead with 78 tackles and intercepted two passes including a Pick Six in the Black Knights’ season opener. Now, Rhattigan, a USA Today second-team all-American, will learn Seattle’s 3-4 formation run by Ken Norton Jr. Rhattigan is one of 13 undrafted free agents in camp.
Ross Tucker, CBS Sports color analyst for Army football and a former NFL offensive lineman, said on the Black Knight Nation podcast that he thinks Rhattigan has a legitimate chance to stick with the Seahawks.
“He’s so natural in coverage and has such a good background on special teams that I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it,” Tucker said. “I wouldn’t at all. He’s a guy who is smart enough that he’ll be able to back up every spot. He’ll be able to play on special teams and play effectively because he’s got experience on special teams. A lot of these guys, they were stars in college. They don’t have experience on special teams. Jon really wasn’t so he does. At a minimum, I think he’s a great candidate for a practice squad.”
Carroll addressed Rhattigan’s status with the Seahawks during the post-practice press conference. He was asked if Rhattigan needed a waiver to defer his military service time after graduating from West Point next Saturday. Rhattigan is the fifth West Point graduate on NFL roster, joining Ali Villanueva of the Ravens, Cole Christiansen of the Chargers and Elijah Riley and Brett Toth of the Eagles.
“All I know is that it’s been seamless,” Carroll said. “There’s been no issues. He’s here with us just like everybody else now. I don’t know if it’s an exemption or how they do this. He has the time and the freedom to be here with us.
I would imagine that he has some reserve responsibilities out of season. I don’t know the particulars other than he’s with us and he’s all in.”