To kick off, I am going to do a quick round up of the impressions I got throughout the season of the Seahawks, what they did good and where they need to improve. We will start by looking at Offence, Defence and Special Teams, following which I will look into each individual position group in more detail through separate posts.
So 2016/2017 was a season where, in my eyes, the Seahawks got further than expected. When you consider that they had prominent figures injured throughout the season on both sides of the ball, getting to the divisional round was pretty fortunate. On offence the biggest factor was Russell Wilson’s injuries (which he amazingly played through). I believe that if he had been more mobile though large parts of the season it would have taken a load off the other two problems: OL youth and lack of run game. Starting with the OL, I think the coaches were just a bit over enthusiastic, with Coach Carroll himself saying that they would perhaps do it differently a second time round and keep some more experienced guys. When the young guys were beaten off the snap, and they were beaten relatively quickly, Wilson had to throw away a lot of balls because he couldn’t do his usual trick of running of extending plays with his legs.
This takes us back to the run game. Without Wilson getting involved and with Rawls and Prosise hardly being healthy at the same time, the run game fell, in large parts, to Michael. In the type of system the Seahawks play, Michael is not a RB1, because he just does not pack the punch of a Lynch (or now Lacy). Still, to release him was stupid as we saw when Prosise got injured for the second time.
If I am honest though this was less worrying for the Seahawks, in my opinion, than what we saw happen to the defence. Injuries throughout the season to Bennett, Chancellor and ET III were really tough and exposed a lack of depth which opposing teams routinely exploited. In my opinion, as great as Bennett’s upside is, him missing a few games can be compensated because the Seahawks have good depth in the DL. Moving back from that it gets more difficult: LB is a top position group with Wagner and Wright (+/- Morgan and Marsh) that could do with some youth and depth, but the secondary is where it almost got a bit scary.
When all fit, the LOB is top. However, what happens when people start getting injured? Sherman never really found his A-Game in 2016/2017 (after the season it was confirmed that he had been battling injury) and when Shead went down in the playoffs, the defensive right was a shambles. There was no top play by any CB when they came in, and nickel corner Lane was not very strong all season. His tackles were continuously broken and he was picked off for big plays by opposing QBs. The biggest loss on the defensive side, however, was ET III. His range and playmaking covered up for a lot of faults in the secondary but after he was injured the Seahawks conceded 30+ points in 3/6 games. Legion of Bust. The biggest problem was that those who filled in just couldn’t compensate.
So that all sounds like doom and gloom, but what were the bright sparks of the season? When everyone is fit, I would still argue that the Seahawks have the best D in the league and that flashed through. There was some great play this season by the usual suspects, but also by the rookie Reed and by Shead.
On the Offensive side of the ball the WR corps showed how strong they were in depth, with Richardson’s return to form being a great addition. The RB group also has big potential (when fit) and someone who I would like to add to Rawls and Prosise is Collins, who I thought put on some great performances both in running and receiving. A developmental player who perhaps just needs some time to bulk up and adjust to the NFL. In the TE group Jimmy Graham’s return to health was perhaps one of the biggest positive factors in the whole Offence, even if he was sometimes under-utilised. The OL showed flashes of potential (e.g. Lions game) and just needs to grow, with some strengthening through experience. One of the other positions where I feel the Seahawks are very strong is QB depth. In the games where Boykin came in he showed that he could move the ball fast, not only using the obvious options and wasn’t afraid to run himself.
The last group to cover is the Special Teams who I thought were very strong also. The return game is one of the strongest in the league with Lockett and the addition of Hester when 16 got injured made sure there wasn’t a drop off. Perhaps it would be good to bring him back for next season. On opposition punts, coverage was normally pretty strong and the guys rushing in were good too. I don’t believe that Hauschka’s kicking was as much of an issue as it was hyped to be.
Altogether I think that the Seahawks are set up for another strong season next year. They have done well in adding some age for the OL in Free Agency, as well increasing LB and S depth and bringing in new Ks to balance the departure of Hauschka. In adding Lacy they have also got that wrecking ball through the middle that they need and the other RBs will feed off that.
In my eyes their prios for the draft (I will elaborate on this in a separate post) should be as follows:
- CB (CB1 level talent) – Kevin King
- Nickle/Safety (ET III style player) – Budda Baker
- This one depends on what is left on the board but from here on I think the main focus should stay on LB, CB (maybe pick up one of the more talented but injured players Moreau or Jones) or S. I am sure though that the focus at this point will be getting the best players left on the board rather than focussing on any needs, so long as they get something similar to the above, in the first two rounds.