So it’s that time of the year again and my pre-draft analysis of the squad is in.
As per usual I will start with the offense, then I will look at the defense and then I will look at the picks we have followed by an assessment of draft eligible players that could fill our roster needs.
I have marked the players from the roster with colors as follows:
players I see as locks for the roster
players I see as candidates to get cut or on the perimeter
The offense has one big question mark, which hovers over the whole roster and will shape the next years. That question is Russell Wilson. I will go into his situation in a little more detail below.
Besides that our offense as a whole is pretty set with no big changes needed, except for injections of bigger quality at the guard position, and perhaps at WR depending on what Doug Baldwin decides to do with his future. None of these issues, however, are acute.
Paxton Lynch, Russell Wilson
Please don’t confuse what you see here, I am not campaigning for Lynch to be our QB1. Not at all. But, I believe it is the end of the Russell Wilson era in Seattle. And I am approaching the whole draft with that assumption – knowing full well that he is probably more likely to get a fat new contract. That is not the way that I approach my pre draft articles though, I will look at what I would do and then add a healthy amount of realism. Primary focus though is what I would do as the Seahawks GM.
Tying up so much money in one player is not something I would ever advocate, and I just don’t see the Seahawks making such a stupid business decision. Why stupid? They showed last year that the focus is the run and got to the Playoffs because of it. The next step in the Seahawks Philosophy is getting back to having the no.1 defense – or at least be in contention – and prolongations for Clark, Reed and Wagner are up, plus they have a lot of pieces to add to get back to the top. There has to be room in the salary cap for that and the picks need to be there to facilitate.
I see this as a great draft for the trenches, rushers and at safety there are some nice pieces. Will they draft a QB? Not necessarily early, maybe in the early to mid rounds depending also on what they see from next years draft class at QB. That is where Lynch comes in. Paxton Lynch was regarded as a high prospect at one point. I think he makes a good backup and could run an offense if he wasn’t asked to do too much, especially if he is supported by a strong defense and running game, until a top QB is drafted.
Note: compensation for Wilson will be discussed in a later article [part 3].
Draft need: High
No. of players needed: 1
RB / FB (5)(3)(2)
Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, J.D. McKissic, Bo Scarbrough, C.J. Prosise
Carson and Penny are locks going off last season. Also, McKissic is completely underrated and due to his injuries last season people seem to forget what he did in 2017 when all other RBs were injured. He also has the versatility to help out at returner if the Seahawks let Lockett focus on receiving.
Scarbrough can be a tough runner, but is a bit one dimensional without much receiving talent or directional change. He will just punish down hill. Could step into that role vacated by Davis, or more likely slot in behind Penny. Another option is the practice squad, but if the Seahawks send him that way another team may pick him up for their roster. Prosise – the ever injured – maybe just needs a change of scenery at this point.
Draft need: None (possibly a FB)
No. of players needed: 0 – 1 (FB – UDFA)
Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, David Moore, Jaron Brown, Keenan Reynolds, Amara Darboh, Malik Turner, Caleb Scott
Baldwin’s body seems to be suffering for a year now, but his grit is keeping him going and he is still special. The Hawks just need to find someone to take over soon in the slot. Easier said than done, for perhaps the most underrated WR in American Football.
Lockett is a great deep threat and has proven to be a weapon last year with his perfect passer rating with Wilson. He could also be a great outlet for a new young QB.
Moore will continue to develop on the perimeter and has the potential to be really special.The great thing about him is that he has the potential to make throws, that are not ideal, look better than they are. Great for the confidence of any young QB.
Brown was primarily used as a weapon in the end zone, but I think he will get a bit more of a look next year. Reynolds might get a chance to push Baldwin in his role.
I feel like the other three are more on the outside and may get the chance to prove themselves over the practice squad. All three have, in limited capacity, shown that they can make plays. Darboh might have a chance to make it onto the 53 man roster if he comes back strong after his injury. The Seahawks seem to really like him.
Draft need: Medium-High
No. of players needed: 1-2
Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Tyrone Swoopes, (Fant*)
Dissly could have a similar second season to Carson last year, coming back from injury to be one of the offensive stars on the team. He was truly special in limited time last year, setting multiple records, before the Arizona turf monster struck again.
Dickson played solid, is a great blocker and was there for some important yardage / end zone play.
Vannett is not a priority, he is just not that special, neither in blocking nor in catching. I would rather give Swoopes a go as a third TE, after being a QB he has taken a couple of years to adapt to the position, but think that he should get his shot now. If it doesn’t work out you have 2 other TEs and 3 if you count Fant.
Fant could be a really important utility piece because he gives you help at Tackle and TE.
*Fant is listed with the Tackles
Draft need: None-Low
No. of players needed: 0-1
Justin Britt, Joey Hunt, Ethan Pocic, Marcus Henry
Britt has been a solid center (could he go back to guard if there is an exciting center prospect?). Hunt is a very solid backup who played very well against Dallas. There is no real need here, with other positions more important. I think Hunt deserves a chance to seriously challenge for that no.1 spot though.
Pocic just does not fit into this team for me (at center or guard) and should be traded. I’m sure that the Seahawks could get something back for him seeing as how much of a premium Linemen are.
Henry is a solid back up option that can fill in both at center and guard. I think that he could be a solid PS candidate.
Draft need: None
No. of players needed: 0
D.J. Fluker, Jordan Simmons, Mike Iupati, Jordan Roos
Our big guys: Fluker, Simmons and Iupati are all cut out of the same cloth, being big tough linemen who can move people in the run game. If Simmons can stay healthy he can be someone to build on as Fluker and Iupati transition into backup roles. In my opinion they need a guard with some pedigree in their line though and there are some real options in this draft. Roos could find a place on the PS.
Draft need: Medium-High
No. of players needed: 1-2
Duane Brown, Germain Ifedi, Jamarco Jones, George Fant, Elijah Nkansah
Brown is the anchor for this position and for the line. He shows what difference a Lineman with true pedigree can make. I expect Jones to push Ifedi this season, if he can stay healthy, because I really like what I saw in preseason last year. On the other hand maybe Ifedi takes another step – one can only hope. I really liked Fant as a 6th lineman with his athleticism. Question is whether the Seahawks want to develop him as a tackle or Lineman / TE hybrid. Either way he has great versatility and needs to be kept long term.
Nkansah is an intriguing prospect and may make it onto the PS again.
Draft need: None
No. of players needed: 0
QB is the big questionmark, but there are some interesting prospects who could drop into the 2nd or 3rd round due to the strengths of this years draft. The only QB I would draft in the first round is Kyler Murray, but I don’t think that we will get the chance to.
The next area of concern is quality on the Line, especially at the guard positions. While Fluker, and Simmons in flashes, did some great work last year and still have years ahead of them, both have shown that they are injury prone. Iupati was a pro-bowler in the past, but is now over 30 and we have yet to see how he does for the Hawks. Adding quality here should be a priority. Center and Tackle are less of a concern.
WR and TE both look to have some really good pieces as well as good depth. Due to injuries and rumors about retirement with Baldwin, questions remain whether quality depth should be added here also.
RB is perhaps the most set position and a real strength heading into the new season.
While Wilson moving on could be one of the biggest moves this offseason, the rest of the offense seems pretty set and offers quality and depth across the board. This could be a great situation for a new young guy to come into.
With 2019 being a defense heavy draft it is a great position to be in. Especially because the one place where I do see a draft need – Guard – has some quality options.