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2020 NFL Draft: Seahawks 2019 Season Recap and Player Review

The 2019 season is over and it was an interesting one. The Seahawks probably won one or two more games than they should have. They made games too close because they weren’t fully convincing and quite frankly didn’t play at a championship winning level.

You could say that it is admirable how they hung on in those close games. Unfortunately, I would say that unforced mistakes by the opponent is not something you can take credit for. The defense was a big weakness this season and just couldn’t get off the pitch, which is probably why they allowed more points out the back of a game. 3rd downs was a particular problem.

In my opinion this is one of the two coaching changes which should be made. The other one has to be a new strength and conditioning coach. The amount of injuries is disproportionate to what it should be and this has been the case for a couple of seasons and it needs to change.

The biggest story with regards to the squad, however, has to be Wilson being made the highest paid player in the league. When you make a decision like that, you have to follow it up with a supporting cast. You’ve basically taken the money away from other parts of the team, but that means you have to now give that person the tools to succeed. With that I will dive into how the team performed in 2019, divided into the experienced players and the rookies.

 

Notes on the established players:

Offense

Hmm, a weird one for the Seahawks offense. Although it felt like they were stronger than the defense there were a lot of questions. They went all in with Wilson’s contract, but failed to provide him with any veteran receivers after the departure of Baldwin. The TE group remained average after the repeated injury of Dissly after he got off to a blazing start again. Injuries are a big point when discussing both the offense and the defense, as key players continue to struggle with being available. This is something that has to be adressed more than any position. Wilson remains the only one who is always there. Carson, Penny, Dissly as well as multiple OLinemen all suffered injuries throughout the season, which had a big impact. If everyone – or close to – is healthy for the entire season, then the Seahawks become one of the hottest candidates for the Superbowl.

Quaterback

The QB room is, and will be for the foreseeable future, Wilson +1. The Seahawks have shown in recent years that they like having a veteran presence alongside Wilson, but as he remains untouchable they would do well drafting ad developing some rookie QBs.

  • Russell Wilson. The Seahawks made a statement last season in making Wilson the highest paid player in the NFL. Then everyone was healthy, Wilson paid it back by leading the MVP conversation for the majority of the season. That changed after the injuries, which just goes to show why it does not make sense to pay 1 player so much. He can’t throw to himself, block and run the ball as well as being a QB. He also showed some weakness in the 4th quarter, which was a first, and his game out of the gate was stronger.
  • Geno Smith. Did he have a snap? probably not. which just goes to prove that the position besides Wilson in the QB room is almost completely interchangeable.

Runningback

Running back continues to be a mixed bag. If you take the upside of all the Seahawks backs then I think it is fair to say that collectively they have the strongest room in the league. Factoring in injuries and performance dips a different picture starts to form.

  • Chris Carson. Carson continued to be a beast of a back and continued to get injured. He has the right mentality for a Seahawks lead back, but injuries continue to be a concern, along with his expiring contract…
  • Rashaad Penny. …that brings us to Penny. He should have probably been the heir apparent to Carson, but with his season ending in injury you have to question that too. At his best he is both fluid and powerful in a really rare way. But he battles performance dips, probably also due to the fact that as much as he and Carson were a 1-2 punch, there was little doubt that he was the 2. Was rarely injured in college, but needs to get that consistency back, both in availability and performance.
  • Marshawn Lynch. Beastmode came back in a big way. The Seahawks made a point to give it to him close to the TD line, he paid them back and makes us all wonder what could have been if they hadn’t thrown in that play. On top of that he seemed to be a great mentor to Homer and all round top addition to the locker room. Bring him back!

Tightend

Hard to argue that the season started out fantastic with Dissly arguably the best TE in football. But then he got injured…again. Hollister filled in ok, but he is a tweener and not a proper TE for the Seahawks scheme. Willson was brought back later with a minimal impact. Fant was more exciting in his continued TE/OL hybrid position. I doubt, however, that Fant will be happy to do that next season.

  • Will Dissly. When healthy and able to perform he is one of, if not the best TE in the NFL. That may seem strange to say about him, but the numbers don’t lie. To get there, however, he has to get his body right and not get injured.
  • Jacob Hollister. Has a chemistry with Wilson in the passing game, good route runner, fluid, cat-like, but also not a full TE. His blocking is not particularly great. For purely passing situations he showed several times that he will deliver under pressure.
  • Luke Willson. As mentioned above he didn’t really have a big impact. But we love having luke around and if he can be kept as a depth option, and if he can get healthy he could be worth having on the roster.

Wide Receiver

The Seahawks lost one of the best WRs in Football in the last offseason: Doug Baldwin. Then the Seahawks went all in on Wilson on offense. BUT they decided not to invest in a top experienced wide receiver and the rookies (besides Metcalf who was a great addition) were hardly used.

  • Tyler Lockett. Completed one of the hardest catches of the year by any WR. Continues to be an underrated stud. You can definitely say that he stepped up this season. I think it is also fair to say that he is not a slot-monster like Baldwin was. That is the area where the Seahawks are really lacking at the moment.
  • Malik Turner. had some good plays, had some bad plays. Showed off his speed on a couple of occasions, but I just don’t get the feeling like he has the talent to be more than a rotation player.
  • Jaron Brown. barely featured and I don’t think that he will be with the team next season. Really surprised me because 2018 he was a great blocker and made some cluth catches.
  • David Moore. Another player with too many ups and downs. I felt like he was thinking too much. If he gets back to playing carefree he can be a great depth option on the outside with Metcalf. He has the natural skills.

OLine

Continues to be the group where the Seahawks would gain the most from investing properly in, and refuse to do so. I continue to maintain that OL is one of the top positions to invest in high in the draft. Last year the Seahawks got Phil Hayes on day 3 and an aging FA Iupati. Haynes is actually quite exciting, but altogether that is not enough of an investment.

  • Duane Brown. Continues to be the rock of the OL. Struggled a little with an injury this season, but you also have to consider his age and that is to be expected. Nevertheless, he is the best player on the line by some distance.
  • George Fant. I would love to see the Seahawks sign him to a longer contract. He can play right and left tackle, plus the 6th OLineman. The problem is that his ambition is a starter at LT. He won’t be that next season at the seahawks. He could be the starter at RT, but the question is if that is enough for him.
  • DJ Fluker. He is just a big beast who eats up space and can move people when healthy. He works in the Seahawks scheme, is not what I would call elite though. Good utility player and one of the better players in a poor / inexperienced bunch.
  • Justin Britt. Longest tenured OLineman for the Seahawks. He is a good center, but replaceable – which we saw following his injury. That, plus his cap hit may make the Seahawks think about investing that money elsewhere.
  • Joey Hunt. Did ok a lot of the time. Worryingly bad against a good bullrush on several occasions. Definitely not a top long term option at this stage of his development, but a good backup. Should be in the competition to start next season.
  • Ethan Pocic. Continues to battle with injuries, but if he stays healthy he may be in the competition for starting canter if Britt is traded/released.
  • Germain Ifedi. The Seahawks chose not to take his 5th year option, which tells you everything you need to know. Ifedi is always a liability, especially when it comes to flags. I’m sure another team will sign him and wish him all the best there.
  • Jamarco Jones. Played a bit at guard with middling success. is a tackle for me, but the question is going to be whether he has the speed/technique to keep up with the league’s best. Will probably be in the mix for RT, but definitely still needs some development.
  • Jordan Simmons. When he plays he has the potential to be a really good guard. He didn’t playa snap 2019 and was injured a lot 2018.
  • Mike Iupati. Graded out as the best guard for the Seahawks. It didn’t feel like that. Good backup at this stage of his career, but the Seahawks should be aiming to have more talented players at the position.
  • Jordan Roos. forever a utility player to make up squad numbers.

 

Defense

It pains me to say this but it’s almost like the Defense was weaker than the Offense this year. What has happened to the Seahawks. I think a coaching change is essential. The Seahwks need to find ways to pressure the QB, not just by upgrading the DLine, but also improved blitzing from Linebackers and the Secondary. That would go a long way to improving helping everyone out. Looking through all the players I was a bit shocked that there was no one where I could say that their season was out and out elite, which is a new feeling as a Seahawks fan. The good thing is that the rookie class did have a few rays of light in the Secondary and at Linebacker, D Line remains the issue.

Defensive End

Seahawks weakest position group. They really need to invest here in the off season and the whole Defense would be better off for it. Hopefully Collier will also have any impact next year.

  • Jadeveon Clowney. Ok so let’s start with the best of a bad group. Clowney produced good pressure and showed a couple of games that he can be elite. But if we are completely honest, there are some hard truths that make me think he is not The Guy who will solve all problems, like everyone is making him out to be: he had less sacks than Rasheem Green, he was injured (again) and even with him here the Seahawks pass rush sucked. That tells me a couple of things: he is not a lone game wrecker like the great DEs (granted with the Seahawks rush struggling he got most of the attention from offenses but was also not able to consistently find solutions), he can’t shake the injury bug so you can’t build a pass rush around him and judging by what he has said previously he will nonetheless want top pass rusher money. I would love to see him back because I think he is a really good rusher and a great addition for the locker room, but I wouldn’t bring him back at any cost.
  • Rasheem Green. He is starting to get going, best season to date and to be fair to him he is still relatively young. If he keeps developing like this then he could be really good next year. Still, I don’t want to go crazy just because he got 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. His numbers are good and trending in the right direction but by no means elite.
  • Quinton Jefferson. For me he is a really reliable rotational piece, which he has shown over the past years and consistently produced a couple of sacks for the team. The is something I really like about him, without him being an elite guy off the edge. Only had 0.5 sacks less than the Seahawks sack leader (0.5 more than Clowney), although he had no forced fumbles like the two above him here. If it’s possible then retain him.
  • Shaquem Griffin. The Griffin brothers sack has to be one of my highlights of the season and altogether his play off the edge was full of energy and made things happen. In his first year I was perplexed at why they seemed determined to make him a Weakside Linebacker, this year they gave him some chances at DE and he was good for a start. I believe that they should use him as a hybrid next season, DE and blitzing as a 5th Lineman to give him more freedom.
  • Ziggy Ansah. Season to forget, good job that he only had a prove it deal (which he didn’t). Never seemed like he really wanted it. Don’t bring him back.
  • Brandon Jackson.I have to admit that I completely forgot that he was on the team. That is how little impact he had. You could argue that he only had 1 sack less then Clowney, but what I also want to highlight is the impact what doesn’t come up in the statistics, but you can see when you are watching the game and Jackson didn’t pop out at all.

Defensive Tackle

Just like the DEs they were not a wow factor, but I thought they played fairly well. Could do with a bit of investment at the position though. I assume they will try to pick up an experienced free agent and someone in the draft. They will also hope that this years Rookie Christmas will feature next year.

  • Poona Ford. For me this is the guy you build around. He is an exceptional guy who makes splash plays and has none of the red flags some of the red flags that the other guys do. If he has some support placed next to him he could be elite.
  • Jarran Reed. Thinks very highly of himself, but after coming back from suspension he was not able to get anywhere near his performances from 2018. Let him try free agency, if you can get him on a cost effective deal then do it, otherwise let him walk.
  • Al Woods. I love the fact that the Seahawks are willing to look past red flags and give guys a shot. He gave back some of the investment by some good performances, but would I resign him? No.
  • Bryan Mone. I think he has the potential to feature more next year, even if it is just as a rotational piece at first. He has great size and can be a great addition against the run game.
  • Naz Jones. Potential is what I think of when I think of Jones. He suffered a little this year because the Seahawks wanted to transition him to DE and he wasn’t able to get in the groove before getting injured. I think its a good idea because he has the athleticism and could end up being a guy like Jefferson who also plays DE and DT, with higher upside. When healthy he is one of my favorite DL options, the play I always have in my head is where he blew up the Panthers OL in 2018 stopping McCaffrey and forcing a fieldgoal from the 4 yard line (Week 12, 2.56 left in the 1st Quarter, and the Panthers had a 3rd and 2). Health is the big issue for him though, so he can only be a high quality rotational piece. In my eyes I would definitely hold onto him though.

Linebackers

I’m just going to put it out there: we played too much base defense this year. Was it because our D Coach used to be a Linebacker? Who knows. We have good players there but none performed to an elite level, which is shocking to be writing when you have Bobby Wagner on your team. I expect the rookies from this year to get a bit more of a look in next year.

  • Bobby Wagner. With the LOB gone he was supposed to be the focal point of the defense, the stand out player. He had a strong season once again, but didn’t quite meet the expectations. I thought he missed a step, especially when it comes to coverage. He was still a tackling machine, but made less big time plays. I’m not saying he didn’t have a good year, but by his standards it was average.
  • KJ Wright. Came back to full health this season and the Seahawks will be glad that they kept him. Made some big plays especially late in the season and I hope the Seahawks continue to keep him around even if the rookies Barton And Burr-Kirven take some of his snaps. He is an underrated and vital part of the defense.
  • Mychal Kendricks. First thing that comes to mind is missed tackles. The second is that he was played far more than his performances merited. I would not keep him around next year.

Corners

So after everyone got after Griffin last year this is the year they go after Flowers, and I am pretty sure that this behavior will continue until “the next Richard Sherman” emerges – if that ever happens. The problem – in my opinion started way further forward with no pressure generated on the opposing QB, making it easy for WRs to get free eventually. The only issue with the Corner group is depth.

  • Shaquill Griffin. Everyone was on his back last season because he had a down year. I am pretty sure that a big contributing factor was moving from the right to the left (after learning a whole new technique for the right side he had to flip it all and almost relearn it on the left). Besides that he admitted that his prios while playing were not on point and he dropped a load of weight to capitalize on his speed. What did that lead to? 2019 PFF has him graded as the 10th best corner.
  • Tre Flowers. It is fair to say that Flowers took a step in the opposite direction to Griffin this season. You also have to say that Flowers’ a year behind in his development because he has been in the league a year less.
  • Akeem King. No.1 problem: he has proven time and again that he is not a top level outside corner. Problem No.2: with Amadi and Blair able to take over nickle and dime duties I just don’t see his value to the squad.
  • Neiko Thorpe. From special teams captain with very little value on defense he migrated to the Injured Reserve. As I have mentioned with King above, due to the great special teams play of the rookies he may be obsolete next season.

Safeties

When they are healthy, McDougald and Diggs are a formidable combo at Safety. Another class mid-season addition by Schneider. I’m not going to pretend that they are at the level of Kam and ET, that tandem was Legendary. Our current guys still have the quality to be elite, especially with the addition of Blair, who in my eyes showed that he can make those special plays. Amadi will be more of a ST ace and Nickle, but can help out at free safety in a pinch. While Hill and Thompson each had the odd good game or special play, they are just no where near consistent enough and have actually been responsible for a lot of big errors over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both gone by the next season, although the Seahawks might get a trade out of it or keep them as depth.

  • Bradley McDougald. Went a little more quite this season, probably because he wasn’t playing alongside an elite safety for much of the time. As soon as Diggs came he stepped his game up a notch. Has proven that he can be a great starter, but only if the players around him are of a high level. He is not the kind of guy who will lead from the front. The question is then how long he can maintain his spot with Blair itching to get playing time.
  • Quandre Diggs. Messiah. Maybe a bit exaggerated, but in the short time with the Hawks he has proven that he should be the starter for as long as the seahawks can hang onto him.
  • Lano Hill. Inconsistent. In my eyes purely a rotational player, but not someone you would want to rely on as a starter. Less big mistakes to the guy below, but also less big plays. May have more value on ST which is why he may get the nod over Thompson if they decide to only keep one of the two for 2020.
  • Tedric Thompson. Liability. So many plays where I was just left shaking my head. Not because I could do better, but because a Safety at this level should do better. Then he makes an interception like the one against the Rams and that makes you even more frustrated because he seems to have the potential. From starter this season, I would trade him or if no one wants him then cut.

 

Special teams

The punting game and kicking game were “meh”, not great but not bad enough to worry about. Especially Dickson picked up again towards the end of the season and showed why we were so excited about him last year. There was a great contribution from the rookie class on special teams. Top names to look at there are Amadi, BBK, Blair and Barton. I do think that they could sharpen up for next year though. Maybe a coaching change is finally necessary, the pieces for a great unit are there.

  • Michael Dickson. Weak start, strong finish. Let’s call it a bit of a sophomore slump. Can’t wait to see him back next year because I still think we have the coolest punter in the league.
  • Jason Myers. Definitely didn’t play at the pro-bowl level from last year at the Jets. On the positive side he was 100% up to 39 yards out. On the other hand that is to be expected from most guys that kick in the league. From further distances he was not so great and his overall percentage suffered to 82.1%, his PAT percentage was also only 90.1% (he missed 4), both of which are very average. Continuity might be good at the position, however, and he may be able to improve again for next year. I would keep him.
  • Tyler Ott. Still here, still good as far as I can tell. He snapped that one ball well to Travis Homer on the fake punt against the Vikings.

 

Notes on each Rookie

  • LJ Collier (DE) Round 1, Pick 29. Oh yeh, forgot we picked him. Another 1st round pick who struggles to make an immediate impact. The Seahawks really need to sort that out. They could have picked Dalton Risner (OL, who I drafted in my mock-draft and had a great season helping out the OL of Denver).
  • Marquise Blair (S) Round 2, Pick 47. Contrarily, they didn’t play Blair enough. Another way to put this is: played Thompson and Hill too much, because those guys just don’t cut it. Blair has a physical presence on the back end that we haven’t seen since Bam Bam Kam and Blair makes tough, clean tackles that intimidate receivers and also comes up with special moments. This play epitomized his playing style for me. Next year is going to be difficult for him with Diggs and McDougald as the starters, but they need to find snaps for him. Either in rotation or as a big nickle.
  • DJ Metcalf (WR) Round 2, Pick 64. Beast! what a season. I have to say that I was a skeptic of his mainly due to his neck injury and concerns over how his body would hold up in the NFL. No such concerns now. You feel that he almost has as big a chip on his shoulder as Baldwin did and you can see the hard work he puts in to prove everybody wrong. My favorite play of his: this one, where he just won’t be denied. He just has to be a bit smarter sometimes and know when to fight on and when to end a play.
  • Cody Barton (LB) Round 3, Pick 88. Leadership and football intelligence are the first two things that come to mind with Barton. The one thing that I think lacks a little is athleticism. I think he is best suited to the middle LB spot, when he doesn’t have to play sideline to sideline, but instead can control the center and mop up behind the DL. Does have some ability to go into coverage and blitz off the side too. Surer tackler than Mychal Kendricks, but less athletic and for me not the ideal replacement there. Could be a replacement for Wright or Wagner.
  • Gary Jennings (WR) Round 4, Pick 120. Never featured. With the Dolphins now. Wasted pick. Could have picked my favourite WR in this class: Hunter Renfrow.
  • Phil Haynes (G) Round 4, Pick 124. Messed up in the last game of the season when he allowed a FG to be blocked. When playing OL he was decent. If I were to put together the ideal OL he would not be my first choice, but he might develop into a starter and is definitely a high end rotational piece at this point.
  • Ugo Amadi (S) Round 4, Pick 132. They got Amadi going in the slot too late. He has great instincts and football intelligence but he needs to get the reps. Prediction: next year he will be the starter there. As for special teams, he was the standout because of plays like this.
  • Ben Burr-Kirven (LB) Round 5, Pick 142. Only really featured on special teams this season. When Kendricks went down the coaches chose to go with Barton who did a good job. As mentioned above, however, I think that Barton is better for the MLB spot, or as a second option the WLB. BBK on the other hand would be best featured in the SLB spot with the WLB as a second option. I don’t think that Kendricks will be on the team next season but the Hawks would be stupid to let Wright go so I think cracking the LB rotation will remain difficult for BBK. Unfortunately.
  • Travis Homer (RB) Round 6, Pick 204. Came in late in the season when Carson and Penny got taken out by injuries. Showed that he could play as a modern 3 down back with speed and power. Should make Prosise obsolete, finally. Should be given a bigger role 2020.
  • Demarcus Christmas (DT) Round 6, Pick 209. Spent the whole year injured.
  • John Ursua (WR) Round 7, Pick 236. After an exciting preseason he was completely ignored for the whole season before coming in on one of the last plays in the regular season and making a big play. Mr-no-nerves. I hope he gets more action in 2020. Indication is that he could be very useful. Reason why he didn’t get more game time this year is because he didn’t manage to get the playbook down.

 

Analysis

This is a team with great talent. What held them back last season were injuries, a weak pass rush and an average secondary performance. In my next blog post I will be looking at what the Seahwaks need to draft and what draft capital they have going in.

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