Seattle Seahawks: Who is Benson Mayowa? That Kid from Idaho

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The Seattle Seahawks seem to have made a habit of finding talent in unorthodox places since Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s arrival in 2010. For example, wide receiver Doug Baldwin has made an incredible impact for Seattle’s offense in a relatively short amount of time since being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford. Plus, Seahawks fans can’t forget about their 6’4” starting cornerback Brandon Browner, who went undrafted out of Oregon State before taking the CFL by storm. After becoming an All-Star north of the border, Browner got another shot in the NFL and has become one of the most physically imposing corners in the league. So it should come as no surprise that the Seahawks appear to have hit yet again on a gem from the depths of nowhere. More specifically, Nowhere, Idaho.

Benson Mayowa went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. He attended the University of Idaho throughout his collegiate career, playing alongside Seahawks 2012 fifth-round draft pick Korey Toomer. Unlike Toomer though, Mayowa is a 6’3” 252 lb. pass-rushing specialist. He doesn’t have the size to play as a 4-3 defensive end and he doesn’t quite have the characteristics of a traditional outside linebacker, which puts him into the dreaded ‘tweener category. Lucky for him, Seattle seems to love players with unique attributes that don’t seem to fit anywhere else in the league. The organization expects these players to play with a chip-on-their-shoulder mentality because of it and Mayowa looks like the poster-child for players with a chip-on-their-shoulder this preseason.

With 2.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries in two preseason games, Mayowa has gone from “that kid from Idaho,” as Pete Carroll affectionately called him earlier this preseason, to a potential regular season contributor in less than a month. Obviously there are still many aspects of his game that are raw and in need of refinement, but Mayowa has at the very least displayed enough ability to get some additional looks this preseason.

He received mixed results against Denver playing with the Seahawks’ starting defensive unit in place of injured defensive ends Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril. Mayowa appeared overmatched at times against the Broncos’ No. 1 offensive line, but displayed great pursuit and an everlasting motor. Afterwards, Mayowa admitted that his nerves may have gotten the best of him early on in the game as he was overly excited for a chance to prove himself. Nonetheless, his performance became more consistent as the game went on.

The future is still uncertain for this rookie free agent from the University of Idaho. Seattle has managed to acquire a great deal of talent along their defensive line recently including: Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, and O’Brien Schofield, all of which are capable of playing defensive end and providing a pass rush. Therefore, Mayowa will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to earn a spot amongst all of these playmakers. He is sure to have two more preseason games with the Seahawks but beyond that, it’s hard to know what will happen to Mayowa. Yet regardless of where or how much he plays in 2013, that kid from Idaho has proven he belongs somewhere in the NFL. If he continues on this trajectory over the next couple of weeks, that place may just be in the Pacific Northwest.