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Seahawks pre-draft analysis [part 2] Defence and Special Teams

After looking at the Offense in part one – which had one big move to be made (QB) but is otherwise well set up – I now move onto the defense which needs far more work.

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

players that will miss 2019 due to injury

Overview

This defense is young and raw with the only established players left on the team being Wagner, Clark and Wright. All of them top of the NFL at their position and hopefully in the squad for much longer. They also all have expiring contracts. But I am sure that at least Wagner and Clark will be extended long term. Reed’s contract is also up for renewal next year and will have to be dealt with.

Part from that we have a very young defense with huge potential, but also some gaps to fill, especially in the DL: the strength of the draft.

What is also exciting is that our kickers actually look like they will be a strength going into next season.

Defence (32)(19)(12)(1)

DT (3)(2)(1)

Jaran Reed, Poona Ford, Jamie Meder

We have two starters but no rotation. Reed and Ford can be a formidable pair that could really compliment each other, but the rotation is lacking so far. Meder could be a great addition if he can go back to being a top run-stuffer. Regardless, the Seahawks really need to add to this group.

And what a draft in which to be in that position. I see the Seahawks doubling down on this position to create one of the best young lines in the game, led by Reed and Clark.

Draft need: High

No. of players needed: 1-2

DE (7)(4)(3)

Frank Clark, Rasheem Green, Quinton Jefferson, Nazair Jones, Branden Jackson, Cassius Marsh, Nate Orchard

Clark is perhaps the only pure DE, Green the next closest. But Green, along with Jefferson and Jones are outside in players, the latter two and especially Jones could end up playing a very similar role to Bennett. I’m perhaps most excited to see Jones’ role this year because I still believe that he can be incredibly disruptive.

Jackson has been solid and Marsh will always put in a lot of effort as well as being a good special teams player. It will be interesting to see what Orchard brings to the table.I see at least one of these becoming a rotational player, with the 6th spot going to a rookie.

I think that it would be great for the Seahawks to add another edge rusher to this group, because they have depth, but could do with some more quality.

Draft need: Low – Medium

No. of players needed: 1

ILB (1)(1)

Bobby Wagner

Wagner is perhaps the best inside LB in the NFL today – an argument could be made for Kuechly as being up there with him. Wagner is coming up on a contract extension and I see no reason why he shouldn’t get one.

Draft need: None-Low

No. of players needed: 0-1

OLB (4)(1)(3)

K.J. Wright, Austin Calitro, Justin Currie, Emmanuel Ellerbee

So happy to have Wright back. On the other hand the injury bug is starting to call and who knows how much longer he will be able to be a starter. When fit he gives us the best LB duo in the NFL.

Behind him, though, there isn’t much to brag about. Currie is a former strong safety who has accrued hardly any playing time since entering the league in 2015. Ellerbee only has some special teams snaps since entering the league in 2018. And Calitro played ok and with a lot of effort, but he showed huge deficits.

A big factor is also Mychal Kendricks, who is good enough to warrant being on the pitch at the same time as Wagner and Wright (hence why he is listed in the next group), but could also serve as a backup. Nonetheless, the Seahawks need to invest here. I don’t believe Shaquem Griffin should factor in here, because he fits better at LEO.

Draft need: Medium-High

No. of players needed: 1-2 (depending on Kendricks)

Leo (4)(3)(1)

Jacob Martin, Shaquem Griffin, Mychal Kendricks, Barkevious Mingo

I think that flying off the edge, Griffin could cause the most damage. His speed and relentless effort are his greatest tools.Let him loose! Carroll already indicated that he may get more of a look in here next season.

Martin should also factor in here, but I think that he will also factor in at DE. Where as Griffin can drop back into coverage if needed, Martin is more of an edge player who comes down towards the QB.

Kendricks is your more standard LB and can also fill in behind Wright. Of course that all depends on whether he is in or out of prison. I still find the fact that he would receive prison time for his crime understandable, but ridiculous when you compare it to the players who have merely got a slap on the wrist for far worse things like domestic violence.

I don’t think Mingo has a place in this squad anymore. Maybe a team would be willing to give up a late round or conditional pick for him, especially because he has a lot of special teams value.

Draft need: None

No. of players needed: 0

CB (7)(5)(2)

Tre Flowers, Shaquill Griffin, Akeem King, Simeon Thomas, Neiko Thorpe, Jeremy Boykins, Kalan Reed

With Shaquill Griffin(172nd) and Tre Flowers(107th) we had two starting CBs last season, neither of who made it into the PFF top 100 at the CB Position. As a slight disclaimer I do not believe these numbers are the be all and end all, but they give a possibility to compare to the rest of the league. For example I should also say that between our two corners are the likes of Minkah Fitzpartick (114th), Mike Hughes (118th), Tre’Davious White (123rd), Eli Apple (128th), Josh Jackson (133rd) and Marcus Peters (140th), besides Jackson that’s a lot of first round talent. But when you look as deep as 172nd it is still painful. There were no other starters around there.

Reasons? Griffin learnt a new technique in 2017, on the right side and did pretty well. Then he went into his second year, and instead of cementing the mechanics on the right, he was put onto the left and he had to flip everything – of course there were going to be growing pains. Talking of pains, I don’t know why, but I had the feeling he was playing a little hurt too – just a hunch though. As for Flowers, he transitioned to a whole new position and did even better than Shaq in his first year. I am looking forward to seeing these two grow.

As to the other Seahawks: Neiko Thorpe came in top (30th – only because he had very few snaps filling in), while Justin Coleman (56th – no longer with the Seahawks) was the highest graded starting corner. Akeem King, with limited snaps made it to 67th and may be in pole position to split time with Delano Hill in the spot vacated by Coleman. King also had major impact on Special Teams, surprisingly more than Thorpe in my opinion, but both remain strong pieces there.

I think that Thomas has the potential to be a great corner which gives us good depth, he is so long that it is freaky. If they develop him for the outside – which is where he belongs, maybe Griffin could end up in the slot long term? The other two have outsider chances to make the roster or practice squad.

for any of those who are interested ex-seahawk Pierre Desir, who I was a big fan of, graded out at 26th. Levi Wallace, who I had as a draft priority in the late rounds last year, came in at 7th. Isaiah Oliver and Holton Hill – both of whom I had on my draft board with some character concerns made it into the top 50 at joint 48th place – both on less snaps than Wallace.

Draft need: None

No. of players needed: 0-1

S (6)(3)(2)(1)

Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, Shalom Luani, Marwin Evans, Kam Chancellor (+)

Without ET3 and Chancellor this group is lacking in blue chip players.

McDougald is great, but he doesn’t put the fear in people on the back end. Nonetheless he should be a considered a starter. I believe he has his strengths as a SS with FS traits to accentuate.

Hill took a big step forwards towards the end of the season and could take over a big nickle role.I already saw him as being out, but then I was really impressed by him, also when he had to fill in at FS, although I don’t see that as a strength.

What is missing is a true free safety. While Thompson appears to have that role safe for now the Seahawks need to find someone more convincing.Thompson flashes good play and then he makes truly bad mistakes the next play or at least game. Consistency is so important.

Luani will continue to make a good back up or PS squad player. I don’t know enough about Evans yet to see how he fits into the picture, but we will see that in the next weeks and months. One thing about evans that could be quite exciting is that he is a free safety and was PFF named him into the 2017 All-Preseason squad, we will see if that was just preseason / an outlier, or whether he truly has potential.

Draft need: Medium

No. of players needed: 1-2

Special Teams (3)(3)

K (2)(1)

Jason Myers

Myers just signed a 4 year contract. If he doesn’t get injured he is here to stay for the foreseeable future. If he carries on like last season where he was a pro-bowler then the Seahawks have made a great move.

Draft need: None

P (1)(1)

Michael Dickson

They have their starter for the next seasons and he will probably end up being at least as much of a fan-favourite as Ryan was.

Draft need: None

LS (1)(1)

Tyler Ott

They brought some competition in last year and Ott ended up keeping the spot. I assume that they are relatively happy with him.

Draft need: None

Summary

DT and Safety are the biggest question marks but for completely different reasons. While DT has quality and needs depth, safety has depth but needs quality.

DE also needs an addition of a pure EDGE like Clark.

Linebacker is one of the strongest position groups in the whole team but needs depth too.

Cornerback is set both in depth and in quality. Although the players are still raw there is no acute need to add someone.

Special teamers are sorted.

Conclusion

There are some serious depth and quality issues on the Defensive side, but overall there is a lot of high quality across the board.

Some of our stars on the Defense will be extended this year and next – with salary cap freed up by Wilson moving on. To compliment that we also have a lot of stars emerging but there are still some gaps to be filled and this is the perfect draft for it.

One thought on “Seahawks pre-draft analysis [part 2] Defence and Special Teams

  1. Pingback: Seahawks pre-draft analysis [part 3] Picks and Moves | the notepad

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