5 Seahawks undrafted free agents: Mini-origin stories
Pete Carroll is used to finding diamonds in the unlikeliest of places: Seaside Joe 1564
In watching part of an interview with former Seahawks undrafted free agent Jermaine Kearse on Tuesday, I was inspired to keep digging on Seattle’s 2023 UDFA class for this episode of Seaside Joe.
There’s been such a positive reaction from readers on this summer’s deep dive “origin stories” and those will continue as planned. If you want to read all of them and help support the work being done here, consider upgrading to premium for as little as $5 per month, or by going “Super Joes” for an extra bonus article every month. Just click here or enter e-mail below.
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But for today’s free article, the 1,564th day of Seaside Joe in a row, I wanted to do some mini-origin stories on five undrafted free agents. Perhaps they will get a deep dive in the future, this is just a peek at their past.
WR Matt Landers, Arkansas “On the move”
Landers has had an EXTRAORDINARILY difficult time sticking in one place. I am not over-emphasizing “extraordinarily”…Between his freshman year of high school and signing with the Seahawks, Landers has played for seven different football teams. An article posted at The Athletic in 2019 mistakingly assumed that Georgia would put an end to his tumultuous journey.
“You’ve got to be able to listen, and not only listen with your ears but listen with your eyes,” Hearn said, “to know what’s going on with someone.”
Landers has had a lot go on his life. Three high schools in four years. A chance to play at one of college football’s elite programs. And then trouble fitting in and doing what was required. He has always looked the part of a potential star at wide receiver. More potential than anyone Heard has ever coached. The question was when, beyond the obvious physical tools, Landers would put it all together.
It could finally be happening, at just the right time for Landers and the Georgia football team.
That year, Landers caught 10 passes for Georgia in six games. He would play in one game in 2020, then transferred to Toledo in 2021, then transferred to Arkansas in 2022.
Landers broke out last season with 901 yards on 47 catches, scoring eight touchdowns, but going undrafted despite crazy athleticism (6’4, 200 lbs, 4.37 40-yard dash) goes to show how skeptical teams are that everything has finally clicked for him. My comparison, if all goes right, would be Chris Matthews.
He called Georgia “the place to be” when he signed his letter of intent as a three-star prospect in 2017, but it wasn’t to be. Landers waited a long time for his opportunity at Georgia and says he has no regrets about transferring in 2021 despite seeing his former teammates win back-to-back national championships. It was most likely the right decision for him and allowed him to reunite with one of his former coaches after he took over the Arkansas program.
It will be tough for any undrafted free agent receiver to make Seattle’s final roster in 2023. The Seahawks may try to get him onto the practice squad if he is cut, but if Landers does have to move on, at least moving is something he’s accustomed to.