MISSOULA — Former Montana Grizzlies linebacker and Kalispell product Patrick O'Connell on Saturday signed a rookie free agent contract with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
O'Connell, a Glacier High School alum, did not hear his name called during the NFL Draft, which wrapped up Saturday afternoon, but joined former Montana State safety Ty Okada and ex-MSU defensive back James Campbell in signing undrafted rookie deals with Seattle.
"It's pretty crazy, honestly, because I grew up my whole life being a Seahawks fan, and now it all comes full circle," O'Connell stated in a UM press release. "Obviously, I would have liked to hear my name called, but I got my foot in the door now, and I'm excited to get to work. That's what I like to do is put in the work necessary, and that's what I'm going to do in Seattle."
The Kalispell native is staying in the PNW!— Montana Griz Football (@MontanaGrizFB) April 30, 2023
CONGRATS to @PattyC233 for signing with the @Seahawks! #GoGriz #NextLevelGriz #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/TGNCSQ5CZC
O'Connell participated in the Grizzlies' Pro Day on April 4 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, during which he leaped 38½ inches in the vertical jump, which would've ranked in a tie for first among linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine. O'Connell's pro shuttle time of 4.28 seconds and L-drill mark of 6.97 seconds both would've ranked second among linebackers at the combine as well.
Along with UM's Pro Day, O'Connell also got the chance to showcase his skills at the Hula Bowl back in January alongside ex-Griz corner Justin Ford. O'Connell had a team-high four solo tackles in that all-star game.
A two-time first team All-Big Sky pick and All-American for the Grizzlies, O'Connell finished his UM career with 28.5 sacks, sixth most in school history.
O'Connell finished his senior season with 73 total tackles, 14 for loss, eight sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. He suffered an ankle injury against Weber State and missed games against Cal Poly and Eastern Washington before playing in the final three games of the season, though he was limited in UM's finale against North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs.
A walk-on transfer from Division II University of Mary in 2018, O'Connell was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award — given to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision — in 2021. At Mary, O'Connell was a two-sport athlete in football and baseball.