National Football League
New Seahawks RB Alex Collins dancing his way to Seattle
National Football League

New Seahawks RB Alex Collins dancing his way to Seattle

Published Apr. 30, 2016 9:23 p.m. ET

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Alex Collins already stands out among his new Seattle Seahawks teammates - for his unusual hobby if nothing else.

Irish dancing isn't usually high on the list of interests for potential NFL running backs.

''I'm always on my toes and my lower body, my calf muscles and what not,'' Collins said. ''It's a lot of fun working with them and learning something new, especially since I didn't think I could do it.''

Collins was selected with the second of Seattle's fifth-round picks during the final day of the draft on Saturday as the Seahawks continued to address depth in the offensive backfield after the retirement of Marshawn Lynch and with incumbent Thomas Rawls still recovering from a broken ankle suffered last December.


But along with three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Arkansas and 20 touchdowns rushing last season for the Razorbacks, Collins brings with him a unique interest that he believes helps with his footwork on the football field.

Collins was first introduced to Irish dance by the daughter of his high school football coach. They debated whether it was a sport and she challenged Collins to give it a try.

Not only did he like it, he even has an Irish dance alias: Mitchell Findley, a take on Irish dance star Michael Flatley.

''When I got into it, I wanted to watch the best and learn from him,'' Collins said. ''I watched ''Lord of the Dance'' on YouTube a few times, and kind of got it from there.''

But Seattle didn't draft Collins for his dancing - unless it comes in the end zone. He was the second running back taken by Seattle along with Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise. While Prosise projects as a third-down back after having formerly been a wide receiver, the Seahawks view Collins as a potential option in early downs behind Rawls.

''We talk about how we characterize our run game, being big, physical, runners that run violent, he fits all those,'' Seattle scout Aaron Hineline said.

Before taking Collins, the Seahawks selected Maryland defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson earlier in the fifth round and then took TCU center Joey Hunt in the sixth round.

Seattle continued to buck previous trends by trading up in the fifth round to draft Jefferson, giving up a fourth-round pick in 2017 and a seventh-round pick this year in the trade with New England. It was the first time in seven drafts under general manager John Schneider that the Seahawks have twice traded up. Seattle moved up in the second round on Friday to take Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed.

Jefferson was an all-Big Ten honorable mention selection but projects as a versatile defensive line option for Seattle, especially in passing situations. Jefferson had 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks during his junior year at Maryland and said he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle.

The 22-year-old Jefferson already has three kids- a 5-year-old daughter and twin 21-month-old daughters - but said the plans for leaving after his junior year at Maryland and entering the draft were put in place before last season started.

''I think I am very disruptive inside, with the run and the pass. I feel like I can really get after it on third downs, kick inside on sub packages and rush the passer,'' Jefferson said. ''That's a premium in this league right now.''



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