Lotulelei signs with Seahawks
Baldwin High School graduate John Lotulelei has agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks after the linebacker out of Nevada-Las Vegas was not selected in last week’s NFL draft.
Lotulelei agreed to the deal after the final four rounds of the draft were completed Saturday.
“I kind of prepared for the worst as the draft got to the end, and I then I tried to look at what teams are a good system for me,” he said Sunday, when the deal was officially announced.
“When it came down to rounds six and seven, some teams’ linebacker coaches were calling me, but they were also saying that they don’t really have any pull, that it’s the GMs who make the decisions.”
Seattle agreed to terms with nine undrafted rookies, the team reported on its website.
“We were very fortunate in getting a couple guys to come on board here after the seventh round was done,” coach Pete Carroll was quoted as saying on seahawks.com. “It’s going to be a really good group again.”
Lotulelei is listed as 5-foot-11 and 233 pounds. He had 120 tackles as a senior at UNLV, earning Mountain West Conference first-team honors.
At the NFL combine in February, Lotulelei’s time of 6.91 seconds in the three-cone drill was the second-best among linebackers, and his vertical leap of 35.5 inches ranked fourth. His 40-yard dash time of 4.84 seconds tied for 21st, however. He also had 25 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press (tied for sixth), a 4.30-second performance in the 20-yard shuttle (seventh-best) and a broad jump of 9 feet, 9 inches (tied for 15th).
The Seahawks took one linebacker in the draft, selecting Ty Powell out of Harding, a Division II school in Arkansas, in the seventh round.
Seattle’s linebackers coach is Ken Norton Jr., who had the same role at Southern California when Baldwin graduate Kaluka Maiava, now a linebacker with the Oakland Raiders, played for the Trojans.
“After the draft, coach Norton was trying to convince me to sign,” Lotulelei said. “He coached Kaluka. He’s had a lot of experience. He’s played linebacker. He has three rings. He’s been to Pro Bowls.”
Norton played in NFL for 13 years, winning two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and another with the San Francisco 49ers, and earning three Pro Bowl trips.
Lotulelei said he also talked with the Chicago Bears, but noted that they have seven-time Pro Bowl pick Lance Briggs, and drafted two linebackers (Jon Bostic out of Florida in the second round and Khaseem Greene out of Rutgers in the fourth).
Lotulelei also spoke with the Washington Redskins, and was intrigued by the idea of learning from three-time Pro Bowler and 15-year NFL veteran London Fletcher, but said he felt the Seahawks ultimately made a better offer, which included a $25,000 signing bonus.
“It was exactly like college recruiting. It was a pressuring experience,” said Lotulelei, who spent two seasons at UNLV after first playing at Merced (Calif.) College. “I’ve never really been recruited like that, though, out of high school or junior college, so it was a nice experience.”