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Sunday, May 7, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Notebook: Seahawks tap into defensive end's skills

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — Darryl Tapp isn't completely sure of the length of his wingspan — that is, how many inches from the fingertips of his left arm to those of his right arm when both are outstretched horizontally.

But the rookie defensive end knows it is certainly an advantage when he tries to get around the edge in pursuit of the quarterback.

"Since I'm not prototypical size, I have instant leverage coming off the ball," Tapp said. "I also have long arms. I can scratch my kneecaps standing up."

That would be something to see. The Seahawks didn't seem concerned about Tapp's 6-foot-1, 265-pound frame when they took him in the second round out of Virginia Tech last weekend. All they want to see is results, in the form of sacks.

So the team has had Tapp out with the No. 1 defense on several snaps during the first two days of minicamp. Tapp has also taken on left tackle Walter Jones in drills and gotten past him on a couple of occasions.

"He's the best one out there," Tapp said of Jones. "He's the type of player that makes everyone else around him better. So me going against him day in and day out is going to make me better."

Tapp sees himself as part of the equation to help take the Seahawks' defense to a higher level, and will compete for playing time when the season starts.

"Probably the best way for me to learn is to get out there in the fire and see what I'm made of," he said. "I'm feeling very comfortable out there. That's why coach [Mike] Holmgren brought me in. He wouldn't have drafted me to sit on the bench.

"So I'm going out there every day and pushing [starting defensive ends] Grant [Wistrom] and Bryce [Fisher] and the defensive tackles and linebackers to get better."

All about the Benjamin

Ten minutes by car in one direction, and Evan Benjamin can be at his parents' house.

Ten minutes the other way, and Benjamin is at his temporary residence — a hotel where many of the other Seahawks rookies and free agents are staying during the current minicamp.

Either way, Benjamin is home. He grew up in Redmond, played at Washington and is beginning his quest to win a roster spot for the team he cheered for growing up.

Benjamin, a linebacker wearing the No. 59 jersey, is just having fun.

"It's something I've been looking forward to," he said Saturday. "It's been everything I expected, and I'm just trying to get out here and work hard and try to impress the coaches."

Benjamin, listed at 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, wasn't drafted last weekend, but the Seahawks signed him to a free-agent contract. His father, Tony, was a Seahawks fullback from 1977-79 and played in 28 games.

That meant that Evan grew up around many former Seahawks and their offspring, playing in high school against the sons of former Seahawks Dave Brown, Manu Tuiasosopo and Sam McCullum.

Benjamin is one of seven Seahawks on the roster with Puget Sound-area roots. The others are Marcus Trufant (Tacoma), Bryce Fisher (Renton), Nate Burleson (Renton), Jerramy Stevens (Olympia), David Kirtman (Mercer Island) and Skyler Fulton (Olympia). Fulton is now in NFL Europe.

Notes

• WR Darrell Jackson is expecting the birth of his son in June.

• TE Itula Mili sat out of practice Saturday to rest a sore Achilles.

• CB Kelly Herndon took the afternoon practice off to rest his surgically repaired right knee.

• S Shaunard Harts got most of the snaps at No. 1 strong safety Saturday. Mike Green got those snaps Friday.

• FSN Northwest will air a special edition of its "Seahawks All Access" program this afternoon with an insider's look at the Seahawks' 2006 draft. Footage from the team's "war room," and the arrival of CB Kelly Jennings, the team's first-round pick, in Seattle is included. The show airs at 4:30 p.m. and repeats Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and the following Sunday at various times.

Josť Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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