|National Football League|
Seattle's Baldwin hoping to build off breakout '11
By TIM BOOTH
RENTON, Wash. (AP) At this time a year ago, Doug Baldwin was an undrafted, unsigned rookie waiting for the NFL lockout to end and with no clue what his football future might hold.
Now, coming off a rookie season where Baldwin was the Seattle Seahawks' leading receiver, he's already being told how his second season is about avoiding the "sophomore slump."
"One of my biggest things right now is to be perfect every day," Baldwin said after the Seahawks offseason workout Thursday. "Right now I'm working on my third perfect day with no drops and no missed assignments. So no, not at all. I think I have so much more to prove and so much more that I'm capable of."
Baldwin was one of the most surprising players during the Seahawks' 7-9 season a year ago. Undrafted out of Stanford, Baldwin ended up with 51 receptions for 788 yards and four touchdowns and was regularly QB Tarvaris Jackson's favored target.
Baldwin simply took advantage of his opportunity. With Sidney Rice slowed by injuries in his first season with the Seahawks and Mike Williams unable to match his production from 2010, Baldwin quickly became Seattle's most reliable option.
It was a surprising and rapid rise for Baldwin, who a year ago this time was working out with in Palo Alto, Calif., wondering just where his NFL path was going. He became the first undrafted rookie to lead his team in receiving since the AFL-NFL merger.
One of Baldwin's goals during offseason workouts is building a relationship with whoever ends up being the Seahawks' starting quarterback. Jackson is the incumbent who earned locker room respect last season by playing through a painful pectoral injury. Seattle signed free agent Matt Flynn to a three-year deal but didn't throw major NFL starter money at a QB with just two career starts.
Then head coach Pete Carroll and John Schneider decided to add a new element to the QB mix by drafting Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin in the third round of the NFL draft. Wilson was impressive during the Seahawks rookie minicamp last weekend to the point that Carroll announced Wilson would be in the mix for the starting job as the summer progressed.
Baldwin was an observer during rookie workouts.
"It's a philosophy that coach Carroll preaches about - competition, bringing guys in that are going to be competing for a position," Baldwin said. "Obviously, we've got three great quarterbacks. Two that we know of and one that's just coming in that's showing great potential, obviously with Pete saying what he did. So it's going to be exciting times in camp."
The Seahawks felt they were deep enough at wide receiver that they didn't address the position during the draft.
Rice was back on the field during Thursday's workout, wearing a red jersey that put him off-limits to contact. He had surgery on both shoulders during the offseason.
Williams was out there as a spectator as he continues to recover from a fractured left leg suffered near the end of last season.
By the end of last year, Baldwin, Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu were Seattle's main receiving trio. That threesome, along with Rice, Williams, Kris Durham and speedster Ricardo Lockette, will be the main components of the receiving corps.
"I have the same mindset, the same mentality," Baldwin said. "I'm still a rookie because they brought undrafted guys in that are competing for a job to take my spot ... so you've got to have that same mentality and that same hunger to go out there and win your spot every day."
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Updated May 17, 2012