Seahawks Land Former SEC Starter as Part of 2 Roster Moves

Pete Carroll

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has some tough decisions to make.

The Seattle Seahawks continue to make additional roster moves as the training camp competition heats up with the team signing former Florida Gators defensive tackle Antonio Valentino. Seattle also announced that rookie linebacker Tyreke Smith was activated from the PUP list.

Valentino spent his first four seasons at Penn State before becoming a graduate transfer at Florida. The defender notched 23 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack during his 10 appearances with the Gators, including eight starts. Valentino snagged 51 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks during his four years with the Nittany Lions. Most recently, Valentino signed with the Giants earlier this spring as an undrafted free agent but was later waived by the franchise.

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Smith Was Described as a ‘Developmental Role Player With Starting Potential’

The news of Smith returning to the field is encouraging as the Seahawks have labeled the rookie as an intriguing player to watch. Seattle selected Smith the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft with the No. 158 overall selection. Smith had 26 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks and two pass deflections during his 10 appearances at Ohio State in 2021.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Smith as his No. 24 ranked edge rusher in the draft with a fourth to fifth-round grade on the former Buckeyes defender. Heading into the draft, Brugler described Smith as a “developmental role player with starting potential.”

“He was considered one of the prizes of the 2018 recruiting class by Urban Meyer and led the Buckeyes in quarterback pressures in 2021, but injuries were a common theme all four of his seasons in Columbus,” Brugler said of Smith in his pre-draft guide. “A physically gifted athlete, Smith has the get-off burst, arc quickness and active hands to challenge blockers. However, his inconsistent contact balance and slow recognition give an early advantage to blockers and disrupt his timing/counters.

“Overall, Smith has athletic developmental traits to be an NFL pass rusher, but he must improve his pass rush plan and learn how to string moves together to have more of an impact. He projects as a developmental role player with starting potential if he can stay healthy.”

Hurtt on Seahawks Offense: ‘I Want to Kick Their A** Every Day’

Valentino and Smith are not the only players looking to carve out a role on the new-look defense in Seattle. First-year defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt may want the offense to do well on Sundays, but the assistant coach admitted it is a different story during training camp.

“I don’t want to give the offense anything,” Hurtt explained during a July 30 press conference. “This is our team. I love them, so I want them to do great all the time but from a competitive nature when we get between the white lines, I want to kick their a** every day. But there were some good things that were done. Obviously, we got some some things that we got to continue to clean up and get on the same page, but that’s all in a good day’s work.”

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