RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Jake Bobo came into training camp with something to prove.
Now, a spot on the Seattle Seahawks 53-man roster seems to be within his grasp.
Bobo felt “disappointed” and “disrespected” after not being picked in the 2023 NFL draft. Despite a strong showing in his one season at UCLA, Bobo’s draft stock plummeted after he ran a lackluster 4.99 in the 40-yard dash at the Bruins pro day.
Just a few months later, Bobo is on the cusp of making the Seahawks roster as an undrafted free agent after an impressive preseason. His teammates and many Seahawks fans are rooting for Bobo to make the squad. He even has his own hashtag — #moreBobo — on social media.
“It means a ton,” Bobo said. “I’m not sure what I’ve done to kind of garner that kind of support, but it’s much appreciated for sure. It definitely drives me to continue to get better … and make a push to try to make the squad.”
If he does survive final cuts, Bobo will be the latest in a line of undrafted free agents to make the roster during Pete Carroll's tenure, including the likes of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Poona Ford.
“I think before coming up here, I didn’t really grasp (with) this organization how they view undrafted guys,” Bobo said. “Obviously, I’ve come to feel that a little bit. Just being able to kind of be talked about in the same breath as those guys I’m honored. But at the end of the day we’ve got work to do.”
Bobo spent his first four college seasons at Duke where he was a two-time All-ACC selection. He transferred to UCLA for his final year and had 57 catches for 817 yards and seven TDs.
While he may not be the fastest receiver on the field, Bobo has shown an ability to get open and use his 6-foot-4 frame to get in position to make plays. Bobo leads the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards on five catches through the first two preseason games.
“Jake’s flying pretty high right now,” Carroll said. “He’s done great. He hasn’t just done well on a few plays in the games, he’s done well in practice throughout. So he’s been really steady. It’s not a surprise to see him play like that in games. We’re thrilled to see what would happen because he’s been making plays out here.”
Special teams is another important factor for Bobo in his quest for a roster spot. He hasn’t played much on special teams since early in his college career, but says that he is “getting the hang of it.”
“That, for me, is the most important aspect of this whole thing,” Bobo said. “If I want to make the 53 and hang around like I want to do, I’m going to have to go down and cover kicks and I’m going to have to block in the return game."
With Dee Eskridge suspended for the first six games of the season, and Seahawks dealing with injuries at wide receivers to Dareke Young, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Cody Thompson, and Matt Landers, Bobo seems to have a path to a spot on the Week 1 roster.
“He looks like he’s part of the flow to me, and I don’t see any reason why we would think differently,” Carroll said. “He’s consistent, he’s tough, he’s really, really smart and savvy. He’s just, he’s been a real factor.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Shane Lantz, The Associated Press