Seahawks Death Week 2022: Looking On The Bright Side

I tend to come on here and do a lot of bitching. It’s my outlet. That way, I don’t have to bombard loved ones with my rantings on draft order, mediocre quarterbacks, atrocious defenses, and the like.

But, today, I’m not going to do that. Today I’m taking off my pissy-pants and looking on the brighter side of Seahawks life.

As an astute commenter recently noted, it’s important to remember where our expectations were heading into the season. Mine were at an all-time low (or close to it) for the Seahawks. I estimated anywhere from 3-4 wins, with the Broncos being division winners. So, still getting that top 5 pick (from those Broncos), while having a better-than-anticipated Seahawks roster full of promising prospects getting lots of valuable experience, is a pretty big win! You could argue this is the best-possible (reasonable) season we could’ve gotten. Obviously, the ACTUAL best-possible season would’ve been Denver having the worst record in the NFL, with the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. But, we’re bound by the laws of reality, which is still pretty damn good.

I couldn’t be happier with our 2022 draft class.

Kenneth Walker finished 12th in the league in rushing yards, with 1,050. And that’s with two full missed games, and not really taking over lead rushing duties until week five. He averaged 70 yards per game, which was 9th in the NFL, as well as 4.6 yards per carry, which was 9th as well (minimum 200 attempts). Maybe more importantly, he was the best rookie running back in this class, given his ability and durability. We’ll see how long he’s able to hold that title, but regardless that’s a VERY strong start to a career.

I thought Charles Cross and Abe Lucas acquitted themselves quite well as bookend offensive tackles. It’s not easy to find ONE of those positions in the draft, let alone two in the SAME draft. You never want to unfurl the Mission Accomplished banner after one quality season, but I think it’s reasonable to suspect we’re set at those spots for the next few years at least. Were they perfect? Of course not. But, the mistakes appeared to be minimal (for rookies), and the upside looks like it’s substantial.

On the defensive side of the ball, one of the few bright spots was cornerback Tariq Woolen, who finished with 6 interceptions in his first year. He also made the Pro Bowl, which is awesome! When you consider he was expected to be a rough project at corner, the fact that he started every game and played at such a high level is, frankly, phenomenal. It’s too early to start bandying around LOB comparisons, but if anyone deserves to be lumped into that group, it looks like it might be Woolen.

Guys like slot corner Coby Bryant and edge rusher/linebacker Boye Mafe have flashed at times, but have also looked a little rough. I’ll be cautiously optimistic with them, but that’s more than you could say for a lot of Seahawks draft picks over the last few years.

Other bright spots include our top two receivers. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both surpassed 1,000 yards receiving, which seemed impossible before the season (1,048 for D.K., 1,033 for Tyler). They combined for 15 of our 30 receiving touchdowns; you can’t really ask for much more than that. We only had one other instance of two receivers catching over 1,000 yards in the same season under Russell Wilson’s leadership, and that was 2020 (with the same guys).

Speaking of the passing game, even though I have my reservations going forward, you can’t deny the numbers Geno Smith put up. He set the Seahawks’ single season passing yards record with 4,282. Granted, he needed 17 games to do it (when all others had, at most, 16 games to play in), but a record is a record. He ranked 4th in yards per game, 7th in passer rating, 1st in completion percentage, 7th in touchdowns, and 1st in both attempts and completions among all Seahawks single-season passers. That’s quite a feat after coming off of Russell Wilson, who wanted nothing more than to be the franchise leader in attempts (he’s actually only 3rd on the list with his 2020 season, behind Matt Hasselbeck’s 2007). By most tangible measures, you could argue Geno Smith had the best season of any Seahawks quarterback ever. Which is why there will be a strong push to bring him back on a multi-year extension.

I would also say we got strong seasons from all three of our tight ends, Noah Fant, Will Dissly, and Colby Parkinson. Nothing too flashy, but they were fine outlets when our other receivers were covered.

Defensively, Uchenna Nwosu was our brightest shining star. He finished with 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 12 tackles for loss, and was our best and most consistent source of pressure. He’s one of the rare outside defensive free agents who’s come here and succeeded right away in the last decade.

Darrell Taylor picked up his game significantly late in the year, also finishing with 9.5 sacks. Quinton Jefferson and Bruce Irvin had nice reunions with the team, finishing with a combined 9 sacks. Quandre Diggs also came on a bit late in the season, finishing with 4 interceptions. And Ryan Neal was a sneaky defensive MVP, playing at a high level as our third safety thrust into a starting role early in the season. Also, kudos go to Shelby Harris for his veteran presence along the much-maligned defensive line. And, why not, Mike Jackson had some okay moments in his first year as a starting cornerback (4th year in the league).

There’s a universe where these guys I’ve just referenced are the foundation of the next great Seahawks team. No one is satisfied with a 9-8 record and semi-backing into the playoffs as a 7-seed. But I don’t think there’s any question that a 9-8 team is a lot closer to being at a championship level than a 4 or 5-win team with fundamental problems at multiple important areas. Especially when that 9-8 team has a couple of high selections in the first two rounds of the 2023 draft.

The key will be that draft, though. You can’t just do what we did in 2022 and expect a significant turnaround. It takes multiple consecutive years of nailing drafts and free agent classes to get things right.

But, I will say this: while I have my doubts about the defensive coordinator, I think this coaching staff and front office deserve a ton of credit for keeping this team together and blowing out everyone’s expectations. The organization got it right with Russell Wilson, even if we were a year or two too late in getting rid of him.

You can obviously understand why that trade happened the way it did, when it did. It’s not easy moving on from a franchise quarterback who’s been the best we’ve ever had, while leading us to back-to-back Super Bowls. I think we did the best we could under the circumstances, with Wilson having a no-trade clause and Denver being our only real option.

I would argue given our level of talent and lack of depth (particularly on the defensive side of the ball), it’s a miracle we won as many games as we did! It was also a miracle we stayed as healthy as we did, at our most important positions. I think I read on Twitter that Geno Smith was the only quarterback to take all of his team’s snaps (not counting crazy wildcat plays and whatnot). When you factor in an O-line breaking in two rookies at tackle, and having their issues along the interior, as well as the fact that Geno was tied for the third-most sacks taken, I don’t know how that’s even possible!

So, if you want, feel free to be optimistic about the future. I don’t blame you! I’m naturally skeptical about my Seattle teams, so I’ll be over here pouting in my little corner of the Internet. But, I’ll tell you this much: I’m extremely excited for all the moves the Seahawks end up making this upcoming offseason. I know I won’t agree with all of them, but there should be enough positives to rope me into a Glass Half Full assessment heading into this September. I can’t wait to be wildly disappointed at the conclusion of next season!

Who Do The Seahawks Have On Defense That’s Worth A Damn?

There’s nothing worse in football than a shitty defense. Put me in the minority of football fans: I want a defense that far-and-away outclasses the offense. I’d rather root for a team like the 49ers than I would a team like the Chiefs. Great defenses don’t take weeks off. Great defenses can make great offenses look inept; rarely do you see it go the other way. Rarely do you see a great defense – that isn’t totally decimated by injuries, thereby rendering it not-so-great – get totally obliterated. That’s what I’m looking for in a championship-level football team. That’s what I’m counting on when it comes to the playoffs. Great defense, and a quarterback who can get the job done in a pinch.

It feels like it’s been forever since the Seahawks have had a great defense. You could argue we haven’t had one since 2014 or 2015, which in NFL terms IS forever. The Seahawks haven’t just been mediocre, though. They’ve been downright BAD. What’s worse, they’ve often been bad masquerading as mediocre, which has led to this endless fucking cycle of never really going all-in to improve.

Year after year where we start out as the absolute worst defense in football. Then, through smoke and mirrors (and usually a reduction in the quality of offensive opponents), as the season goes along, they improve JUST enough to fool us into believing they’re not as bad as we thought. An inept coaching staff gets to keep their jobs (for a while), inept players get to stick around (for a while), and it starts all over again.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been THIS bad though. The run defense has been bad in spurts over the last half-decade, but never this consistently atrocious. There’s always been SOMETHING to stem the tide, and maybe that something was Bobby Wagner. Maybe we took him for granted for too long, and now we’re reaping what we sow.

There’s been a chicken or egg thing with this defense this year. Is it a scheme/coaching problem? Or is it a lack of talent among the players problem?

I’m inclined to think the scheme is sound – because we’ve seen the Vic Fangio scheme work all over the league – but the key difference is that usually they have Vic Fangio running it. I’ve had a problem with Clint Hurtt since it was announced he was taking over as defensive coordinator. Here’s a guy who’s done nothing in his coaching career, who led a mediocre-at-best defensive line unit under the previous shitty regime, and you just have to wonder what this guy did to deserve a promotion, as someone who’s never coached at this level before.

That being said, I don’t think there’s any question there’s a lack of talent on this team. Tariq Woolen appears to be the only player worth a damn. Uchenna Nwosu looks good week-in and week-out, but that can be deceiving. Is he just a standout among clods? Or is he actually a talented pass rusher/outside linebacker? I think it’s worth questioning since the Chargers let him go in free agency, and the Seahawks were only willing to sign him to a 2-year deal.

After that? Fuck this defense. As has been belabored, Jordyn Brooks makes a lot of tackles, but rarely are they of any impact. What big plays has he generated to put teams behind the sticks? Quandre Diggs appears to have lost a step, and if he’s going to keep dropping interceptions, then what good is he? We’re all well aware of Jamal Adams’ broken-down body; can’t count on him going forward. Darrell Taylor has had a nightmare season, given where we expected him to be in his development. Even Poona Ford and Bryan Mone have appeared to take steps back in their production, and all those guys are paid to do is stop the run! That’s literally their only fucking job!

The third and fourth best players on this defense are Al Woods and Shelby Harris, two aging vets you could get on the scrap heap in any given offseason.

It really makes you wonder how far away we are from building that elite defense we’ve missed so much. Are we just a few impact players away? Or is a total teardown and rebuild required? I don’t think we’re going to see the latter – at least as long as Pete Carroll and John Schneider are here – so that means we have to hope we’re just a draft away from turning things around.

Heading into next year, we’ve got the aforementioned Woolen and Nwosu. We hope the likes of Coby Bryant and/or Tre Brown can make an impact. Beyond that, man, I dunno. It seems more and more like we’re going to need that first Broncos pick to be an impact defensive lineman. I’m wondering if we’re going to need to use the vast majority of our draft picks to go towards the defense!

It’s extremely discouraging. I don’t like calling this a “lost season” because that makes it sound like a failure, when really it’s not THAT bad. But, any season where you’re not seriously contending for a championship – or at least building towards that – is indeed a lost season. You like to at least hang your hat on some players you can point to and say, “These are the building blocks of a potential championship team.” There are guys up and down that offense where you can say that. But, on defense, the cupboard is fucking BARE.

Fans are impatient. I get that. The Seahawks are 7-7 with three weeks to go. We’d need to win out AND we’d need help if we want to make the playoffs as one of the last two wild card teams. To win out, that means we’d need to somehow defeat the Chiefs this weekend, then turn around and beat the Jets and Rams at home. As a team that couldn’t even beat the Panthers, Raiders, or Bucs, that feels implausible. As such, I just want to get this Seahawks season over with as soon as possible, with as many defeats as possible, to better our draft picks for next year. I want to fast forward to the 2023 draft, I want us to select the best possible players, and I want the next regular season to get going with our bounty of improved talent! It feels insane to say that while there are still relevant regular season games left to play in 2022, but that’s where I’m at.

I can’t watch this defense anymore. It’s infuriating. The offense has been a heartwarming story thus far, but it’s not good enough to overcome the other side of the ball being so helpless. It’s time to seriously overhaul the whole fucking unit, from top to bottom, by any means necessary. All these half measures aren’t going to cut it anymore.

Fun Seahawks Are Fun!

I still don’t know if I totally comprehend what happened yesterday. Though, I’ll admit, there’s a lot about this team that befuddles me.

My brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the concept that the Seahawks are good. But also, ARE the Seahawks good? If we’re good, why did we lose at home to the Falcons and at ALL to the Saints? Is this part of the 7-10 process, where they lure us into a false sense of curiosity and wonderment, before bringing the axe down on our necks?

Or, did the Seahawks used to be mediocre, but now we’ve grown? Now, we’ve figured out how to play defense a little bit. Now, as the younger guys have had an opportunity to gain experience, we’re seeing the fruit starting to blossom.

I can’t think of a better litmus test at this point in the season than a road game against the Chargers. I like the Chargers. I think they’re pretty good. Their coaching is a little suspect at times; I think their play-calling on fourth down leaves A LOT to be desired. But, there’s a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Seahawks just made mincemeat of them, 37-23.

I’ll admit, part of the reason why I’m so jazzed is because I had some fantasy football juice in this game, and after a rocky start – losing D.K. after only a single reception severely hurt my chances – my guys blew up. “My guys” being Austin Ekeler (127 total yards, 12 receptions, and 2 total TDs) and Kenneth Walker III (168 rushing yards on 23 carries and 2 TDs) whose game-sealing 74-yard touchdown almost single-handedly swung two of my games on Sunday.

The good thing for the Seahawks is that all the Chargers had was Ekeler. We pretty much held everyone else in check (though Mike Williams got his – 7 for 86 and a TD – before spraining his ankle late in the game). The defense did a lot of good things in this one. 3 sacks, a fumble recovery, and a timely pick by Ryan Neal. Moreover, Woolen and Bryant both looked outstanding, and Darrell Taylor (he of the strip sack/fumble recovery combo) is starting to come around.

The story of the day has to be the offense, though. Walker looks like the stud of all studs. So, you know, I’m just waiting for his ankle to get rolled up on, which seems to be how it goes whenever the Seahawks find a running back they really like.

Then, there’s The Resurrected Geno Smith, who’s somehow also better than he’s ever been in his life? This isn’t like a so-so quarterback being propped up by an elite team around him. This is a legitimately GOOD quarterback leading a young team to a winning record! 20 of 27 for 210 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT (off of a deflected ball, that was nevertheless ill-advised, since the receiver was so well covered). He had a couple of dimes to Marquise Goodwin for touchdowns, who got to have his breakout game in a Seahawks uniform (4 for 67 and 2 TDs).

The cool thing is, the Seahawks always had an answer in this one. After we went up 17-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers started clawing back, bringing it to 17-14 with plenty of time left in the second quarter. But, we cooly marched down the field and made it 24-14. More importantly, we didn’t let their 2-minute offense go anywhere in keeping that score where it was at the break.

I somehow didn’t notice, but the Seahawks had a 10+ minute drive in the third quarter to go up 27-14. That really shortened things up, but by no means discouraged further scoring. We gave up a safety after the Chargers downed a punt at the one yard line, but we proceeded to force a 3 & Out off of the free kick, then got another field goal to make it 30-14. Then, another stop by our defense led to the Kenneth Walker burst around the right side; 1 play, 74 yards, game-clinching touchdown. We gave up a meaningless garbage time TD to my boy Ekeler, but then we proceeded to run off the final three and a half minutes to end it in Victory Formation.

The obvious downside to this game is the D.K. Metcalf injury. He had his hands on a ball near the goalline, came down awkwardly, and that was it. Seems to be a knee injury. It immediately took him out for the rest of the game, no questionable tag or anything. So that’s ominous. There will be further testing today, and it sounds like he’s optimistic this won’t be a big deal, but I have concerns!

Namely: Dee Eskridge fucking sucks, and it’s ridiculous that he’s getting as much playing time as he’s getting. He had a stupid penalty, he fumbled a toss by taking his eyes off the ball (though they credited it to Geno, which is asinine), he had zero catches on one target, and he had a meaningless fly-sweep run for 4 yards. This is what he’s here for? The stupid fly-sweep play that never works because it’s the NFL and everyone is fast? He’s brittle as fuck, every hit looks like it’s going to end his season, and I can’t shake the feeling that he’s keeping someone else off the field who is more deserving and who has a higher ceiling. All because we threw away the 2021 draft (where we only selected three guys) and he was our top pick that year.

This team will STRUGGLE if we don’t have Metcalf for the rest of the year. I’m just telling you that right now. Tyler Lockett is and has always been a really good #2, but he’s also getting older, and in spite of avoiding contact at practically every turn (smart, in his case; prolong that career!), he still found himself on the injury report and questionable all week. I love Marquise Goodwin, and as long as he’s healthy, he can be an elite #3. But, he hasn’t been able play a full season since 2017. He WILL get hurt, it’s only a matter of time. It was nice having him in this game, with Metcalf out. But, he could go down as early as next week and it wouldn’t shock me.

That leaves Eskridge (again, sucks) and the rookies at receiver. That makes this team much more predictable and easier to handle if it’s left to the running game and tight ends to do all the heavy lifting. Metcalf is the difference-maker. Metcalf forces defenses to spend untold time and resources in an effort to try and stop him. He takes the best cornerback off of Lockett, who is free to get open among lesser opponents. He opens up the tight ends to feast off of linebackers and linemen. He makes Geno Smith better than he is. Sure, Geno was able to weather the storm against the Chargers, but long term? I’d be very nervous. And I’m not just saying that because I have Metcalf in my dynasty league and don’t want to see him miss any time ever.

Now what we’re looking at is a step up in our litmus tests: a home game against the one-loss Giants. They appear to be the exact photo negative of the Chargers: they’re still good, but it has everything to do with the coaching, and less to do with the talent at quarterback, my apologies to Danny Dimes and whatnot.

If you thought I was befuddled by the Seahawks, HOO BOY do I not understand these Giants!

I would say their schedule has a lot to do with their 6-1 record, but I’m not so sure. Of course, they beat up on the Panthers, Bears, and Jaguars. But, they also defeated the Titans, Packers, and Ravens. I know those teams aren’t as spectacular as we all expected heading into the season, but I still believe they’ll all either be in the playoffs this year, or at least in contention to the bitter end.

They play largely mistake-free football. Dimes doesn’t throw a lot, but he’s running pretty well for a quarterback, and only has 2 picks against 6 TDs. They rely largely on their running game, featuring a rejuvenated Saquon Barkley, who has 726 yards and a 5.1 average per carry. He’s also pacing the team in targets with 30 and is second in receiving yards. He hasn’t played a healthy, full season since his rookie year of 2018, but he’s showing why his talent made him the 2nd overall draft pick.

So, you know, easy peasy, right? Stop Saquon Barkley, win the game! Simple! Why haven’t all these other teams thought of that?

The interesting thing is that their defense isn’t all that amazing. They’re middle of the road against the pass, and legitimately bad against the run. Yet, they allow the 6th fewest points in the league, making good on that Bend Don’t Break promise.

For the Seahawks to win, just know that Barkley is probably going to get his. But, you have to make him work for it. You can’t get gashed for huge plays all day long. You also need to put Danny Dimes into 3rd & medium-to-long situations and force him to beat you with his arm. We know how to play against mobile quarterbacks, so I would hope we can apply that wealth of knowledge to this game.

I don’t think there’s any way we get this game in a shootout. I think it’s going to be low-ish scoring and close. One way or the other, the winner will be decided by 3 points or less.

How about this for making a guess: if D.K. Metcalf is healthy and plays this week, the Seahawks will win. If he’s out, the Seahawks will lose. Either way, the score will be 20-17.

The Seahawks Actually Played A Little Defense!

A 19-9 Seahawks victory over the Cardinals is not what I was expecting. Not in the least. I read something on Twitter about an interview with Pete Carroll before the game, and he was talking about how they worked on a few tweaks for the defense that he was expecting to pay immediate dividends, but how many times have you heard that in your life? And how many times has it actually come true?

I wouldn’t say the Cardinals are great, not by a longshot. But, they know how to move the football. Sure, they’re a little banged up, and Hopkins won’t be back until NEXT week, but they’ve put up points in bunches against much better defenses than ours. Yet, in this one, they scored all of three points on offense (the other six were a special teams touchdown on a botched punt).

You’ll forgive me if this was a bit of a hangover game. Not literally, but with the Mariners going 18 innings on Saturday in losing to the Astros, I really wasn’t in the mood to watch the Seahawks on Sunday. Turns out, I didn’t miss a whole lot.

The take-away from this game is just how good this rookie class is for the Seahawks. We haven’t seen rookies produce at this level since You Know When.

For starters, Kenneth Walker III ascended to his rightful spot as this team’s #1 running back. So, everyone who held onto him in fantasy through the first five weeks (including me in two leagues, one of them a dynasty league) got handsomely rewarded. 97 yards on 21 carries with a TD, plus 2 catches for 13 yards. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but apparently he passed the eye test with flying colors. He just LOOKS like what a #1 running back is supposed to look like, which means – if he can stay healthy – he should be good for a long time.

Tariq Woolen is not-so-quietly having a monster season. That’s his 4th interception in his 4th consecutive game for the 5th round pick. We all knew he was super athletic and fast coming out of college, but to be this fundamentally sound and able to make these kinds of plays (as someone mentioned on Twitter, these aren’t cheap INTs off of deflections and whatnot) is truly remarkable! I didn’t know if the Seahawks were capable of coaching up young DBs anymore, given our lack of success since You Know When. But, he looks like a star!

Speaking of coaching up DBs, Coby Bryant is coming along swimmingly. That’s 4 forced fumbles in his last five games for the 4th round pick. It certainly looks like he’s the answer to our nickel corner woes, but I also wouldn’t put it past him to slide over as the other outside corner.

Then, you’ve got the steady excellence of Charles Cross and Abe Lucas on the O-Line, topped off with Boye Mafe being a fine-looking role player on defense who figures to get a longer look as others continue to disappoint on the edge. If we can get either of our 7th round wide receivers into the mix, that’s practically a Yahtzee!

So, the Seahawks were able to get consistent pressure on defense, which has been the biggest bugaboo this year. 6 sacks, 10 tackles for loss. More importantly, the run defense looked much better. Arizona running backs only netted 44 yards on 18 carries. Granted, Kyler Murray had 100 yards on 10 carries, but one of them was a 42-yard scramble. At this point, even that is an improvement over the consistent gashing teams have exposed us to.

I’ll say it, that was an impressive defensive performance! We’ll have to see how well that carries over; we go on the road to play the high-flying Chargers offense next week, so I’m dubious about us fixing all of our problems in one week’s time.

I’m less-thrilled with the Geno Smith performance. 20/31 for 197 yards. We were 4/15 on third/fourth downs. That’s two weeks in a row of subpar work on the most crucial of downs. The Chargers are no slouch on defense – with lots of quality stars on that side of the ball – so consider next week another big test.

I can’t imagine the Seahawks prevail. I think we’re actually in for a pretty big stinker. I’m thinking something like 34-17 Chargers.

Seahawks 53-Man Roster Projection Ready Set Go!

It’s a little early for this, I’ll admit. But, this Friday I’m leaving on a trip and won’t be back until Labor Day, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time until the start of the regular season (plus, will be after the final cut-down day anyway, rendering this whole exercise moo. A cow’s opinion). Really, when you think about it, this isn’t early at all. It’s probably late, if I’m being honest! What am I even talking about?!

I don’t have a lot invested in this team, so I imagine my latest 53-man roster projection is going to be more wrong than normal (when I never really gave a damn anyway). Did I include too many linebackers and not enough offensive linemen? Probably. Anyway, here we go.

Quarterbacks

  • Geno Smith
  • Drew Lock

It’s our worst nightmare, come to fruition. If I had to guess, I’d say Geno gets the nod to start the regular season, but I can’t imagine that will last long (if it happens at all). I still contend the team wants Lock to be the guy, but his fucking up at every turn is holding him back.

Running Backs

  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Travis Homer
  • DeeJay Dallas
  • Nick Bellore

Pretty easy one here. I don’t dare lump Bellore in with the rest of the linebackers, but sure, he’s that too, I guess (in addition to a fullback the team almost never uses). When Walker’s healthy, this figures to be a 2-man backfield, but Homer will still likely see his fair share of reps in the 2-minute offense. And, injuries will likely dictate all of these guys appear at one time or another.

Wide Receivers

  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Freddie Swain
  • Dee Eskridge
  • Penny Hart
  • Dareke Young

I really don’t believe Eskridge has done a damn thing to earn a spot on this roster, other than being our top draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Feels too soon to give up on a 2nd round pick, but then again, he’s CONSTANTLY FUCKING INJURED. I don’t get it. Hart is a hedge against that, plus he’s a special teams whiz. And I feel like if you keep Eskridge, you have to keep a sixth receiver just in case. It seems like Young has the higher upside, whereas Bo Melton is probably likelier to pass through to the practice squad.

Tight Ends

  • Noah Fant
  • Will Dissly
  • Colby Parkinson

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No notes.

Offensive Line

  • Charles Cross
  • Damien Lewis
  • Austin Blythe
  • Gabe Jackson
  • Abe Lucas
  • Phil Haynes
  • Jake Curhan
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Stone Forsythe

Odds are we’ll see a 10th lineman here, but you could conceivably get away with just the 9. It all depends on how bad the Lewis injury is and how long he’ll miss time. But, Curhan can play guard or tackle. Fuller can play center or guard. Forsythe is your traditional tackle backup. There’s enough cross-polination among the backups here to cover your ass in a pinch. That assumes, of course, that Lucas is your starting right tackle, which is the rumor I’m hearing.

Defensive Linemen

  • Shelby Harris
  • Poona Ford
  • Bryan Mone
  • Al Woods
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • L.J. Collier
  • Myles Adams

These are the beefy dudes who should spend little-to-no time dropping back into coverage. That figure could be drastically high; I’m really taking a stab in the dark here. But, I’ve also ranked them in order of likelihood to make the team, so could be a tough break for one or both of Collier & Adams (but, I’ve heard good things about Collier in practice, and I’ve seen good things from Adams in the two games so far).

Pass Rushers/Strong-Side Linebackers

  • Darrell Taylor
  • Boye Mafe
  • Uchenna Nwosu
  • Alton Robinson
  • Tyreke Smith

Again, I’m ranking these by order of likelihood to make the team. But, I think the top four are as close to locks as possible. Smith makes my roster because he’s a draft pick, but I couldn’t tell you if he’s done a damn thing so far in the pre-season.

Linebackers

  • Jordyn Brooks
  • Cody Barton
  • Tanner Muse
  • Vi Jones

I’ll be honest, Muse and Jones are here because they’re names I recognize. I think one or both might be valuable special teamers, maybe? I also think this team could be sifting through cast-offs from other teams, since the position outside of Brooks has been so underwhelming.

Safeties

  • Jamal Adams
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Ryan Neal
  • Marquise Blair

I haven’t seen or heard about Neal, but I’m assuming based on his production for this team of late, he’ll get a crack to be a backup again. Blair, on the other hand, has done nothing but disappoint in the pre-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Blair gets chopped and we go with someone else on our roster or pick up another team’s reject(s).

Cornerbacks

  • Tariq Woolen
  • Coby Bryant
  • Sidney Jones
  • Artie Burns
  • Justin Coleman

I don’t think Coleman deserves to be on this team, but I think he’s going to make it anyway. Odds are it’s Jones and Burns to start – with Bryant being the team’s top nickel guy – but I won’t be surprised to see Woolen out there (especially if Burns or Jones can’t get healthy). I’m also banking on Tre Brown starting out on PUP, or otherwise not joining the roster until later on in the season.

Special Teams

  • Tyler Ott (LS)
  • Michael Dickson (P)
  • Jason Myers (K)

Seems crazy that Myers gets to keep his job based on what we’ve seen, but what are you going to do? He’s going to continue to be aggravating, but he’s going to be far from the most aggravating thing we see on a weekly basis from this team.

OH MY GOD The Seahawks Looked Terrible Against The Bears

Yeah yeah yeah, it’s pre-season and whatnot. The whole point is to rest your stars, give the young guys some experience, and parse through your depth to see who’s worthy of a shot at the 53-man and who’s destined for the XFL or whatever the fuck they’re doing now with spring football.

But this was just a-whole-nother level of sucking that feels more like a harbinger of things to come than fake-football nonsense that can be ignored.

If you were unfortunate-enough to watch from beginning to end, who are you happy with? Who stood out in even a remotely positive light? I’ll tell you who, the fucking long-snapper Tyler Ott. Dude just balls out. Perfect long-snaps, made a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return; he does it all!

Everyone else can go right to hell, as far as I’m concerned. Burn in the fiery pits of Satan’s domain.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

Welp, Drew Lock was announced earlier this week as the Seahawks’ starter for this game. He went through a full practice with the ones and we were off and running with this now-legitimate quarterback competition.

Then, immediately after practice, it was announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be playing this week. Furthermore, we’d find out that he was sick as a dog throughout that practice, and there’s no real guarantee that he’s even going to be ready to play in our third and final pre-season game on Friday, August 26th. Yay.

So, that means Geno Smith got to start his second game, with Jacob Eason playing those meaningless second half reps.

It’s hard to shit on Geno too much, because receivers were dropping balls left and right. That being said, it’s not like those drops were all on the most perfect of passes. Should they have been caught? Yeah, sure. Could they have been thrown more accurately and on time? I think so. I think there’s incompetent people on both sides.

It was a first half of punts, with one missed field goal. That feels true to real life. I think we’re going to see that a lot in the regular season, no matter who’s starting at quarterback. I don’t think D.K. Metcalf & Tyler Lockett will make much of a difference, because we’re also going to be going up against opposing teams’ number 1 defenses, with all of these pass rushers and other studs who’ve been sitting out the pre-season so far.

Jacob Eason led us to all of our 11 points in this 27-11 loss – and it could’ve been more if only we’d played better down the stretch – but don’t let that fool you. Eason stinks. He stunk in Georgia and lost his starting job. He stunk in Washington and ended up being the single worst decision of the Chris Petersen era. And he stinks now, where he’s clinging to a #3 job until the end of the month, when I’m sure he’ll be cut and free to sign with the Alabama Roughriders, the Omaha Roughriders, or even the San Francisco Roughriders of whatever second-rate minor football league is out there.

What does it all mean for the quarterback position heading into the regular season? Your guess is as good as mine. It felt like – by giving Drew Lock this Bears game at Lumen Field – we were setting him up for great success. Give him the home crowd and a soft-ish landing against the Bears and let him win this starting job. Even though all the talk has centered around Geno Smith being the man who deserves to be ahead in the competition – based on his years of experience and prior knowledge of the system – I don’t believe Pete Carroll is happy with the notion of Geno Smith being the starter when the games matter. I think he wants Lock out there, to see if we have a diamond in the rough, or to go down in flames so we can take a shot at a rookie next year.

But, Lock has disappointed at every turn. Critical practice interceptions, that fumble at the end of last week’s game (which could’ve been avoided had he adjusted our protection), and now this COVID diagnosis. He can seemingly do no right, and he’s bumbling his way into a backup job, at least to start the month of September.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

Where to begin? It sucks that Damien Lewis got hurt. But, it’s a relief that it wasn’t an ACL or something too serious.

I thought the O-Line gave us some good pockets early, but struggled at times; they definitely weren’t as clean as last week. Charles Cross had the perfect storm of fuck-ups, with NUMEROUS penalties that killed MULTIPLE drives. Also, after the first couple drives, we really couldn’t even get a run game going to save our lives.

I will say that I thought Travis Homer looked GREAT! For the second week in a row! I’m flabbergasted! Like, if we needed to rely on him for more than pass protection, I think he’d be a real asset. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve seen out of any pre-season, and I’m happy for him. It looks like he put in WORK this off-season; he appears faster, stronger, more agile. It’s a sight to behold.

Lotta drops by the receivers, as I mentioned. LOTTA DROPS. They all looked so fucking shitty. How is it that no one is going to step up and assert themselves? I know we have draft picks galore in this room, not to mention guys who’ve been on the periphery of the program for a few years, but I think the Seahawks need to start looking at everyone we’ve got – even the guys lower on the depth chart – and give them a legit chance. If you’ve got hands, I want you on my team! I know he doesn’t have a chance in hell, but you know who looks like a slot receiver who can catch the ball AND who can stay healthy on the field? Cade Brewer. If he’s someone who’s showing out in practice, I think he deserves a real shot. Not to mention Kevin Kassis, who caught 4 of 5 balls. This is the first I’ve seen or heard about either of these guys, but just by not dropping the ball, they out-performed every other higher-rated guy on this team.

The defense as a whole, again, is on my shitlist. But, two stood out as being particularly terrible. Justin Coleman, for the second week in a row, leads me to wonder why the fuck he’s even on this team. Terrible coverage, and a total brain fart where he could’ve downed a punt at the one yard line, but mindlessly stepped on the endzone line for a touchback. Why is he here?! Why did we trade Ugo Amadi? Why is he playing over Coby Bryant, who is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than him?

The other guy is Marquise Blair, who just isn’t good. We all know him as the guy who can’t stay healthy – in three years, he’s played in 22 games – but he’s also just not good at the game of football. The only thing he wants to do is hit. Instead of using proper tackling techniques, he’s lowering his shoulder and hoping for those home run hits. Except, the guys he’s trying to obliterate are football players too, and they’re fully capable of bouncing off of this skinny twig-man for extra yards. And, when he lowers his shoulders like that, inevitably his helmet is going to get in the way and inadvertently come into contact with the helmet of the player on offense, resulting in a penalty. Just no football common sense whatsoever. It’s his last year, and maybe he won’t even make it to the regular season. What a fucking BUST of a second round pick.

I don’t remember much from the pass rush, so no kudos for any of them. Darrell Taylor had a critical offsides penalty. In total, we had 13 penalties for 92 yards, and all of them were warranted. The Bears, on the other hand, had 3 for 38. Don’t take that as the refs favoring one team over the other. Take that as the Seahawks being shitty and undisciplined.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, Jason Myers missed another make-able field goal. Another waste of money on a kicker who’s hardly better than a coin flip. Why is he here? Why isn’t there at least a competition going on?

The more I see of this team, the worse my opinion gets. I’m starting to come around on the idea that we might be bottom-dwellers in the NFL. Is the #1 pick on the table? Absolutely. Is a winless season on the table? Why not?! How low can we go? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Seahawks Weren’t Totally Uninteresting In A Pre-Season Loss In Pittsburgh

I had scheduled myself to write about the Mariners today and the Seahawks tomorrow, but we’re flip-flopping after an underwhelming series loss to the Rangers of all teams.

I didn’t watch the Seahawks game live, because I have better things to do than watch quasi-meaningless pre-season games. But, you know what I don’t have better things to do than? Watching quasi-meaningless pre-season games the next day on DVR when I already know the outcome of the game!

I’ll just get this out of the way early so we can all move on: I’m not crazy about pre-season announcing booths in general, but the addition of an otherwise quite charming Michael Robinson brought the homerism to a new level. I didn’t bother to write down any specific criticisms, but at points I was wondering if we were watching the same players. Like, he’d praise their attributes that they clearly don’t exhibit! To counter-balance that, I thought the addition of Michael Bennett was delightful, and I particularly enjoyed his interviews on the field. He’s a wild card in the best possible way (even though it’s clear he’s been instructed to also juice up the homerism). Curt Menefee, as always, is a pro’s pro and we’re lucky to have him doing our games. He has no reason to! We’re not interesting from a national perspective without Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner anymore!

The game result is – as has been mentioned everywhere – not important. The Seahawks got down 14-0 through the first quarter, we managed to execute a 2-minute drive heading into halftime to cut the deficit to 17-10, then we tied it on our first possession after halftime. We swapped touchdowns and 2-point conversions after that, to make it 25-25 late in the game. Then, a critical stop by the Seahawks defense was rewarded with a devastating sack/fumble, and the Steelers scored a TD with just 3 seconds left in the game to give the game its final score, 32-25.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

As has been the case pretty much all off-season, Geno Smith worked with the starters and Drew Lock worked with the backups. In this particular game, Geno worked the entire first half and Drew worked the entire second half.

And, as expected, neither one really stood out, at least to my eye. They’re both crappy-to-mediocre backup quarterbacks in this league. And yet, I came to a definite conclusion while watching this game, as Geno Smith tottered his way to a sack in an imploding pocket (even though he had plenty of time to throw it away): if I have to watch a full season where Geno Smith is my team’s starting quarterback, I’m going to blow my fucking brains out.

Mind you, I don’t expect that to be the end result of my life, so let’s just say I’ll be taking every opportunity to casually skip even regular season Seahawks games this year.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m gung-ho over Drew Lock, because I’m very much not. But, man, we fucking know what Geno Smith has to offer. He was shitty with the Jets (and other teams) and he’s shitty now. Age and sitting behind Russell Wilson has not magically made him better. There’s no savvy to his game. He looks way too long to his first read, for one thing. That makes him frequently late in throwing to that first read if he decides it’s open. Otherwise, it makes him late to his secondary reads, so it’s like he holds on Read 1, and then a few seconds later decides to check it down to his final read. This is especially aggravating when it’s 3rd & long and the check-down gets tackled well before the first down line to gain.

That’s why you can see his stats from Saturday – 10/15, 101 yards, no turnovers – and think that’s not so bad. Last year, in three games, he completed over 68% of his passes largely in this fashion (looking pretty spry against probably the league’s worst defense in Jacksonville), which again leads one to think he’s not so bad. Think again. Think long and hard about the Geno Smith you’ve watched over the last decade.

I just can’t with him. All things being equal – and they do look pretty equal – give me the unfamiliar. Drew Lock, to his credit, did some good things in this one. He doubled the number of touchdown drives that Geno gave us, he completed one more pass for one more yard in the same number of attempts. But, he also took double the number of sacks, including the game-sealing fumble at the end (where he was supposed to recognize the blitzer off the edge and adjust the play/protection accordingly).

You look for moments where a quarterback can show you what he’s got. That was Drew Lock’s moment. The game was tied, there was just over a minute left and we got it on Pittsburgh’s side of the 50 yard line. All we needed was 20-25 yards for an easy game-winning field goal. That’s a moment where you MUST orchestrate a game-winning drive for your team. Granted, it was the pre-season, so it was backups against backups. But, that makes it all the more important if you’re Drew Lock and you’re trying to be a starter in this league. Starters don’t fuck that up. Starters see that blitzer and make mincemeat out of the Steelers on that play. This is going to be Lock’s fourth year in the league; if you can’t see a pretty obvious blitz off the edge by now, then I just don’t think it’s ever going to click for you.

And yet, I still would prefer to see Lock as our starting quarterback this season. Partly because he’s Not Geno Smith, but also because I think he sucks just a little bit more. I think he’s going to be a little more reckless with the football, where Geno might be a little more careful. I think he’ll cost us maybe an extra game or two, where Geno might do just enough to game manage his way to victory. It’s the difference between going 8-9 and 6-11, but that’s a pretty big leap in the NFL draft standings, and that’s all that matters right now.

Because, clearly, neither of these guys deserve to be around and playing in meaningful football games in 2023.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

I was quite impressed with the offensive line throughout this one. If there’s one positive takeaway, it’s that the depth up front is likely to be our biggest strength.

By extension, I thought the running backs looked great as well! Granted, Rashaad Penny was out with injury (of course), but that just meant more Kenneth Walker. He didn’t break anything, but he looked solid in general. More eye-opening was what we saw from DeeJay Dallas and even Travis Homer, who both got busy running AND pass catching. Great day from that room!

I was pretty appalled by our run defense, especially when you saw a good chunk of our starting interior linemen out there for much of the game. Even in the first half, the Steelers were ripping us to shreds.

Cody Barton is Just A Guy. I don’t know where anyone got the opinion that he’s going to be a good player for this team, but he’s not. He’s just a warm body. His deficiencies might be covered up a little more when Jordyn Brooks is out there being a beast. But, when Barton is the main guy, you can see just how slow he is, how bad his instincts are, and how he gets run over on the reg. If ankle tackles where the runner still falls forward for 2-3 extra yards are your jam, then sign up for more Cody Barton. But, as for me, I prefer an inside linebacker with some juice.

Bit of a mixed bag from our receivers. I thought the rookies Bo Melton and Dareke Young looked solid. No D.K. or Lockett in this one, nor any Swain or Dee Eskridge (naturally). We did get our first look at Noah Fant, who will definitely have a big role in this passing game. That being said, Fant isn’t going to be much of a blocker, especially out in space, so we’ll have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Also, he needs to work on his footwork, because he had a great opportunity along the sidelines, but couldn’t get his second foot down in bounds.

I was pleased to see Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson make big impacts in the pass rush. And I was thrilled with the two sacks from Boye Mafe! He might be raw, but his speed is NFL-ready, no doubt about it. Shelby Harris looks like a quality addition to the interior, and I think it was Myles Adams who stood out quite a bit in the second half (I believe he was wearing #95 in this one, but I could be mistaken). I don’t know how many DTs we can carry, but I’m rooting for Adams.

I’m going to withhold too much judgment on the secondary for now, because we were looking at a lot of inexperienced guys out there on the boundary. I will say that Justin Coleman looks bad and old and slow; he probably shouldn’t make this team. Promisingly enough, Tariq Woolen got the start on one side and was hit or miss. I say “promisingly” because he was always expected to be more of a project, so the fact that the team trusts him enough to start him right out of the gate is encouraging for his overall talent level. I’ll need to see better ball skills, and turning his head when the ball is in the air, but otherwise there are things to build upon, as well as things to point to and praise. On the other side, we saw a lot of Coby Bryant. I don’t know where he’s ultimately going to end up (if it’s outside or as a nickel guy), but sort of the same deal: some good things to point to, some things for him to work on. You wouldn’t expect either guy to be finished products right out of college, but I like that they both have the trust of these coaches this early in their careers.

That being said, if Sidney Jones and/or Artie Burns continue to be injured throughout this season, we could be looking at significant growing pains from our secondary. Granted, neither of our starting safeties – Quandre Diggs & Jamal Adams – played in this one. Here’s hoping they can paper over where we’re limited on the outside.

Finally, I’ll just say the kicking game looked shaky as hell! Jason Myers doinked one in off the upright and did not look sharp; he was also knocking some kickoffs short, but that may have been by design to test our coverage units (who graded out pretty poorly, in my layman’s opinion). Michael Dickson punted a bunch into the endzone, which is entirely unlike him. I’d say the old line about how it’s pre-season for everyone, including punters, but what else does he do with his time in training camp? He punts! Where’s that magic leg we’ve seen for four years?! That magic leg we’re paying Top-Of-The-Punter-Market prices!

How Good Could The Seahawks Be (Quarterback Aside)?

Don’t get it twisted that I’m sitting here talking myself into the Seahawks making some noise in 2022; they’re not going to contend for shit! But, as an exercise to see my vision through – drafting a franchise quarterback in 2023, setting that player up for success now by building up the team around him a year ahead of time – I think it’s fair to wonder. Now that the draft is behind us, and we can start to piece a roster together, how good is this team at every position other than quarterback?

Let’s start at offensive line, since that was a big emphasis for the Seahawks in this draft. O-Line, as we all know, is vitally important to a team’s chances for success. Especially when you’re talking about breaking in a rookie QB. So, have we done enough?

Obviously, that depends on how these draft picks pan out. But, if they’re as good as a lot of people think they can be, this is going to bode very well for our future. As it stands now, going left to right, we’ve got Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, and Abe Lucas. Lewis has two years under his belt, and has performed pretty well when healthy. Blythe comes in with extensive experience in winning programs (including as a former Ram, who this offensive coaching staff knows well), and Jackson is still an in-his-prime starting guard in this league. Either he sticks around, or the Seahawks look to improve at that spot in the draft next year; I’m fine with both scenarios. I think the O-Line has the potential to be very good, creating a nice, soft landing spot for a rookie QB in 2023.

Next, let’s look at weapons. Tyler Lockett is here for the long haul. The team has given every indication that D.K. Metcalf will see a second contract. Freddie Swain has proven to be a competent 3rd/4th/5th receiver. Dee Eskridge and our two rookies this year could be nice gadget players if they stay healthy. That’s a solid group.

Noah Fant is a good tight end, with the potential to be great. He’s right there on the fringe of being a top 10 guy. Will Dissly is the consummate blocking tight end, but he has soft hands and can play down the field. Colby Parkinson hasn’t shown much yet, but his frame should play well around the goalline. I would like to see what he can do when given an opportunity. I think the tight end room is also solid.

Then, we’ve got Kenneth Walker as our potential starting running back. He gets 2022 to play behind Rashaad Penny, giving us a 1-2 punch that could be pretty formidable in the short term. If Walker proves he deserves a shot at being the bellcow, I think he’ll run away with the job in 2023 and beyond. Figure the Seahawks will go back to the running back well in the draft next year, likely selecting a lower-round player to be his backup. There’s a lot that’s up in the air about the running back room right now, but it has the potential to be elite if Walker is The Guy.

As far as weapons go, you could do a helluva lot worse! I think with a year’s experience, that’s about as ideal of a landing spot as any rookie quarterback could find himself in 2023.

But, the real question is: how good could the defense be?

This doesn’t work if the defense isn’t ready to grow into a dominant unit over the next two years. That’ll be what I’m most obsessed about heading into the 2022 regular season. I need to see existing players take huge leaps forward, I need to see rookies develop relatively quickly. I need impact! I need this to be a group that harkens back to the 2011/2012 seasons, when they were clearly ascending.

Let’s go back to front, because I have more confidence in what we’ve done with the secondary.

Between Tre Brown and the two rookies, we need two of those three guys to pan out. My hope is that Brown returns from injury and parlays his brief excellence as a rookie into better things going forward. I’d also bank on Coby Bryant having enough of a chip on his shoulder – and enough skills as a corner – to wrench a job away from Sidney Jones. I’m also not against Jones simply being elite and earning a big money extension, because he’s still pretty young. There are obviously a ton of question marks in this group, but the ceiling is through the roof, and I’m willing to bank on this coaching staff getting the most out of these guys (in ways they thoroughly failed at with Tre Flowers & Co.).

Like it or not, Jamal Adams isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Definitely not before the 2022 season is through. So, he has at least this year to try to prove his worth to this defense. There’s certainly reason for optimism that – from a talent perspective – the coaching staff will find a way to maximize his game. But, can he stay healthy? If this is the third straight year where his season is drastically cut short, then I don’t see how you can keep him in 2023 or beyond. Quandre Diggs, on the other hand, should be a quality contributor for a while, and the younger players behind them (Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal) are quality depth pieces we can roll with in a good defense. I think we’re well set up at Safety, even if the value isn’t there (with our two starters making an insanely high percentage of the salary cap).

Inside linebacker is pretty interesting. I think we’re all pretty happy with Jordyn Brooks and his production on the field. I was of the opinion that it was time to move on from Bobby Wagner, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for Brooks to slide into that spot. But, with the defense expected to be more of a 3-4 look, did we do enough? Are we really going with Cody Barton as the other inside linebacker? Sure, he looked … fine, in limited action towards the end of the season. From a value perspective, he was giving us 80% of Bobby Wagner for a fraction of the price. But, does he really wow you going forward? Is he someone this team would look to re-sign after this season?

I guess we’ll see! Seems to me, there’s no reason NOT to have an open competition at the other inside linebacker spot. Which makes it all the more shocking that the Seahawks didn’t make this position a priority in the draft. The good news is, if everything goes to shit here, they can easily draft one next year and plug him into the starting lineup immediately. Inside linebackers are a dime a dozen.

At outside linebacker/pass rusher, I think it’s fair to doubt the Seahawks completely. I’ll believe it when I see it, for lack of a better phrase. Uchenna Nwosu was the big free agent splash, and he signed a 2-year deal. His season high in sacks is 5.0, which he got last year. He’s a 4-year pro from the Chargers who is more like a veteran prospect than an actual veteran producer. Maybe he wasn’t in the right system? Maybe they didn’t utilize him properly? Maybe he just needed more time to develop? I guess his pressure rate might be better than it looks on the stat sheet, but I’m going to need to see him with my eyes before I can make a proper opinion. Is he a diamond in the rough? Or, is he another Rasheem Green?

Darrell Taylor is our prize. He missed out on his rookie season due to a lingering college injury, but as a second year pro he really stood out. 6.5 sacks in his first healthy season is pretty impressive; THAT’S something to build on. That’s the kind of talent you can see making strides during his rookie contract, unlike Nwosu, who never really put it together with his original team.

Then, there’s guys like Alton Robinson and Boye Mafe. Robinson had 4.0 sacks as a rookie, then regressed to the one sack last year. He might just be rotational filler, and it’s fair to question if he even makes the team. Mafe is a rookie, and unless you’re one of the top two or three in the draft, I never have confidence that lower-rated pass rushers will make an immediate impact. If he gets a few sacks, that’s good. If he gets 6+, that’s a little more encouraging. But, I wouldn’t expect anything like double-digits. He just doesn’t have the skills; it’s a whole new ballgame when you make the leap to the NFL. Mostly, I just hope he stays healthy – especially through training camp and the pre-season – so he can learn on the job as much as possible.

Beyond that, we have to talk about the 3-4 interior linemen. Some of them are considered defensive ends, but they’re “ends” in the way Red Bryant was an end. Shelby Harris came over in the Russell Wilson trade and figures to be a leader on this team. He’s already in his 30’s though, so presumably he’ll need to play well in 2022 to stick around going forward. Quinton Jefferson was signed as veteran depth to compete with L.J. Collier; you figure only one of those guys will make it. Then, there are the tackles, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, and Al Woods. I like the tackles a lot! Harris is probably the best of the bigger ends we have. This looks like another spot that will need to be addressed after this season. But, as far as run stuffing is concerned, I think these guys are on the better side of average.

The defense is, by no means, a finished product. Far from it. But, you don’t really even have to squint to see where the potential lies. Pass rush is a concern and it always will be. But, I’ll say this about that: if everything else looks good, and if we manage to hit on the rookie quarterback next year, then we can attempt to do what we did in 2013 and sign a couple of quality free agent pass rushers, using all the free money we have laying around by not paying a quarterback at the top of the market. Free agency in 2023 and 2024 could be VERY interesting for the Seahawks, in ways it really hasn’t been since that Super Bowl-winning season.

TL;DR: there’s reason for optimism, but obviously a lot of holes to fill, and a lot of question marks currently on the roster to boot.

The Seahawks Drafted More Non-Quarterbacks On Day Three

The next few years of Seahawks football are going to be greatly dictated by how well these players pan out. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the Seahawks are in Rebuilding Mode. Now, this isn’t your grandfather’s Rebuilding Mode; it shouldn’t have to take a decade to get back to the promised land if you do things right. But, by foresaking the quarterback position in this draft – leaving us with Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and We’ll See – my expert analysis is that the Seahawks are planning on finding their quarterback of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As they should.

So, what does that mean for 2022? Well, that means building up the roster around the quarterback position. Constructing this warm and fuzzy protective cocoon, where a rookie QB in 2023 can step right in and at least give us competence. How many careers have been derailed because a rookie quarterback’s confidence was destroyed by a terrible offensive line, or a lack of weapons to get the football to? Sometimes, if your team is truly terrible, you have no choice but to take that quarterback (usually #1 overall) and hope for the best. But, I’d rather do what I suspect the Seahawks are doing now, and hold off for a year until a better opportunity presents itself.

In the process of building up the roster around the quarterback position, that means returning to the mantra of Always Compete. Letting anyone and everyone participate in fighting for starting jobs. Coaching them up, throwing them out there in live NFL games, and seeing who rises to the top and who needs to be cut. The Seahawks have drafted a class for this express purpose. The more starters we find, the better the team will be going forward. The more blue chip superstars we find, the likelier it’ll be that we can return to a championship level.

I’m pretty confident we’ve got our Day 1 starting left tackle in Cross. I’m guessing he’ll be fine. I’m also pretty confident – with Abe Lucas at least as competition for the spot – we’ve locked down our right tackle position, either with him or Jake Curhan. I’m guessing they’ll also be fine. Walker will likely back up Rashaad Penny at first, but I think at some point he’ll take over and at least be a quality rotational running back, if not an outright stud. And, I think the floor for Boye Mafe is Alton Robinson. I hope he’s significantly BETTER than Alton Robinson, but he’ll at least be NFL-ready to step in there and contribute in some capacity.

There’s a floor there with all of the picks from the first two days of the draft where they’re at least contributing to the team. There’s also, of course, a ceiling that could be off the charts, depending on how they fit within our system and how the coaching staff gets them to improve.

But, it’s the Day 3 picks where we could see some dividends. How did we build up that last Seahawks championship squad? Lots of success in the 4th-7th rounds. I’ll go in order, for those who forgot: Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Robert Turbin, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Luke Willson. To say nothing of the undrafted guys we selected from 2010-2013 who contributed greatly to what we were doing.

It’s handy that the Seahawks took cornerbacks back-to-back in this draft, because I’d like to talk about them together. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 for the best defensive back in football. He played at Cincinnati opposite Sauce Gardner, which means that teams probably avoided Gardner’s side like the plague, and therefore Bryant had ample opportunities to defend the pass. Why he fell to the fourth round, then, is a mystery.

Bryant is certainly the more polished cornerback between him and Woolen. He seems to be a higher floor/lower ceiling type of player. It wouldn’t shock me to see him contribute right away, but I fully expect him to see considerable snaps as the season progresses. Woolen, on the other hand, looks like a fascinating prospect whose floor could be as a training camp cut, but whose ceiling could be as an All Pro.

6’4, 4.26 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical. This guys looks like an athletic freak. He’s also, notably, a former wide receiver who converted to corner just a few years ago. His skills are raw and there are liabilities in his game as it currently stands that may prevent him from ever making a dent in the league. That being said, if he works at it, and the team is able to unlock his potential – with the athleticism he already possesses – he could be an absolute monster. There’s a lot to clean up, though, so I wouldn’t bank on it.

If the Seahawks just drafted bookend starters at cornerback to go with bookend starters at offensive tackle, I’d say we’re in good shape for the next half-decade or so. If the Seahawks just found one eventual starting cornerback in this class, I’d say they did their job well. If neither of these guys pan out, then I think we have a serious problem. Because, either we brought in the next Tre Flowers – who we’re forced to start because we have no better alternatives – or we have to go back to the drawing board next year (with Sidney Jones on a 1-year deal, and with Tre Brown still a big question mark).

Just as I’m not holding my breath for Boye Mafe in the second round, I’m not convinced Tyreke Smith will be much of anything either. I know elite pass rushers exist from outside the Top 5 of the NFL Draft, but it seems like those guys are total unicorns. Even with someone like Darrell Taylor – who I’m very happy with – he had to miss a year due to injury, and even then wasn’t, like, a Pro Bowler or anything in 2021. He was fine. He showed potential to be even better, but we’ll see if that comes to fruition.

I would project both Mafe and Smith as third down pass rushing specialists, especially as rookies. I wouldn’t expect either to be very good against the run, though Mafe at least has a better track record in that regard. Smith seems like a blind dart throw. Alton Robinson is probably his ceiling, but his floor is probably a special teamer who rarely – if ever – sees a snap on defense.

I don’t know what to say about Bo Melton or Dareke Young, the 7th round receivers we brought in. Melton seems to have a slot receiver build, but I don’t even know if that’s his forte or not. Young is a much taller receiver from a small school who probably projects more as special teams help. Of the two, Melton probably has the better chance of seeing offensive snaps, but let’s not kid ourselves here. We have quite the depth chart going so far, with Lockett, Metcalf, Swain, and Eskridge/Hart all having experience.

If anything, I wonder what this says about Eskridge’s status. He didn’t show a lot as a rookie last year, though a concussion saw to it that he wasn’t able to play a ton. Nevertheless, when he was in there, he didn’t make much of an impact. I don’t know if Melton plays a similar style or not (word is Young actually has played all around the offense in college, even taking handoffs on the regular, like a taller version of Deebo Samuel), but it’ll be interesting to see the pressure on Eskridge and how he responds.

That being said, probably don’t count on these rookie receivers to do much of anything AS rookies. Just take it as a win if they even make the team.

The 2022 draft class by the Seahawks will be defined by the top six guys we selected. The better those players are, the better our chances will be to turn this thing around in a hurry. If they struggle, though, it could be a long, dark period in our immediate future.