>\n\nWorst to First: 6. Seattle Seahawks \n\n\n\n

Worst to First: 6. Seattle Seahawks

Written by Ben Morgan on 02/28/2010

I'm not going to work in some lame pun about fans being Sleepless in Seattle. Mostly, because I think I did that last year. I digress, The Seattle Seahawks are a puzzling team to me. They made the Superbowl not that long ago and very nearly won it. They still have a lot of the same players but the past 2 seasons have been injury plagued disasters. Some injuries are down to age and wear and tear but there's no doubt they've been unlucky as well. They've had some guys come back and try to play through injuries as well. That may have done more harm than good in some cases. I think the root cause of a lot of the recent problems have been the drafts. If you take a look at the history on the Seahawks Team Page there's not a lot of return from the investments in 2006 through 2009. It's early to tell from 2009 but obviously Aaron Curry didn't have the season all of us hoped but other than a smattering of good players (John Carlson springs to mind and could be a star) and some decent role players, there's a real absence of legit play makers and NFL stars at this point. The real bright news as we trawl through Seattle's various needs (and they are many) is that of the presumed top 6 or 7 players in the draft, Russel Okung, Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Gerald McCoy and Joe Haden, every single one of them is a position the Seahawks could really use in a bad way. They have a second pick in round 1 as well so they're in a position to draft 2 day 1 starters and difference makers (if they decide against the top 2 QBs, both of whom would be looked at more for 2011). Lord how they need them. But with a new coaching setup in place, and one that's used to winning there's still hope.



2010 Free Agent Losses 2010 Free Agent Additions
Seneca Wallace QB (Browns, trade), Nate Burleson WR (Lions, UFA), Deon Grant S (Giants, UFA-cut), Lance Laury LB (Jets, RFA), Cory Redding DE (Ravens, UFA), Darryl Tapp DE (Eagles, trade) Chris Baker TE (Patriots, UFA-cut), Quinton Ganther RB (Redskins, RFA), Ruvell Martin WR (Rams, UFA), Matt McCoy OLB (Buccaneers, RFA), Sean Morey WR (Cardinals, UFA), Charlie Whitehurst QB (Chargers, RFA), Chris Clemons DE (Eagles, trade)
2010 Unsigned Free Agents 2011 Potential Free Agents
Brandon Frye OT (RFA), Ben Obomanu WR (RFA), Chris Spencer C (RFA-CBA), Ken Lucas CB (UFA), Justin Griffith FB (UFA), Lawyer Milloy FS (UFA), Olindo Mare K (UFA-Franchise), Kevin Houser LS (UFA), Jeff Robinson LS (UFA), D.D. Lewis OLB (UFA), Damion McIntosh T (UFA) Jamar Adams DB (XRFA), Matt Hasselbeck QB (UFA), Will Herring LB (RFA), Kelly Jennings DB (UFA), Roy Lewis DB (XRFA), Brandon Mebane DT (RFA), Craig Terrill DT (UFA), Josh Wilson DB (RFA), Mansfield Wrotto OG (RFA), Ray Willis OT (UFA)
Quarterbacks Minimal Need
For the second straight year Matt Hasselbeck struggled with injuries. He played a lot more in 2009 than 2008 but there was just something, a little off. Playing through a shoulder injury when you're a QB is admirable but in a season that wasn't going to amount to a play off appearance at that point, it was possibly detrimental to his future. Pete Carroll has already asserted that Hasselbeck is his QB for 2010. Rumours of trades to Cleveland (this really is silly season in the NFL) notwithstanding that's how the should roll. Hasselbeck is familiar with the system Carroll & Co are likely to introduce and his skillset fits it nicely. In other words, if he can stay healthy he's going to do just fine, probably better than fine. But, at 34 and with an early pick, could they really resist Sam Bradford if he were available? He also has a nice skillset for this offense but he needs time to adjust to the NFL. Playing behind Hasselbeck for a couple of years on a solid franchise like Seattle is as good a situation as Bradford and his handlers could hope for. There would be chances to step in and cover injuries as well. The ideal situation for a young QB. This is not to say the Seahawks don't have other positions to consider at #6, they do and we'll get to them later, but in a weak division like the NFC West the Seahawks will go into every season with a chance to make the playoffs. You make the playoffs, or even finish with 7 or 8 wins, and your chances of landing a top drawer QB are limited to say the least. So it's certainly worth considering. UPDATE: Seneca Wallace was traded to the Browns and the Hawks acted quickly bringing in an untried young guy in Charlie Whitehurst. Whitehurst is a few years out of college now but he may have something. Certainly Seattle have to have seen something in him. They've given him a nice contract and given up a fair amount in the draft as well. I think it's fair to say Carroll sees Whitehurst as the heir to Hasselbeck but that's based on preseason play. This obviously diminishes the need for a QB in the draft and probably takes the Seahawks out of the running for the top 2 QBs in the draft. I'm downgrading QB from Major Need to Minimal Need. I'm not sold on Whitehurst but it seems Carroll might be.
Runningbacks Minimal Need
OK hands up how many Seahawks fans felt Forsett should have been run more often than Julius Jones? Forsett's small and he's unlikely to remind too many people of Maurice Jones-Drew, but he proved himself a really useful guy to have around last year and he could fulfill what a lot of people figure to be a Reggie Bush type role in 2010. He's a good receiver out of the backfield and can bust off some long gains. But he's probably best used as part of a committee. Denver's old zone blocking guru is coming to town and I don't need to tell anyone what Alex Gibbs' Offensive Lines managed to do for a multitude of low round or undrafted RBs in Denver. Can they do that for Julius Jones? I'm not so sure. I've never really been impressed with Jones and last season was no exception. Injuries on the Offensive Line make whatever happened in the backfield difficult to judge but a really good RB? Well I think he'd have made more yards than Jones. The free agent market is probably about to explode with guys on the downside (or off the cliff) of their careers. LT, Westbrook, Willie Parker, maybe Thomas Jones... I'm sure many will get a mention here. Given the Denver connection I'm leaning more towards a later round RB selection here than the oft mentioned C.J. Spiller. I can see Forsett more in that role. When you throw in Carroll's former backfield of Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, both probably available in the mid to late rounds, well I just don't see the Spiller pick. Listing this as a Minor need thanks to my low opinion of Julius Jones and the need to find a role player to compliment Forsett. Quinton Ganther's been hired away from the Redskins, I'm not sure really how he improves much, but they have some bodies there now so downgrading this to Minimal.
Wide Receivers Major Need
The Hawks have said they'll let Burleson test the fee agency market. And so they should. That is not exactly a definite sign he won't be a Seahawk next year but with the paucity of free agent options this year someone, somewhere will probably pay Burleson more than the Seahawks think he's worth (UPDATE: Burleson landed in Detroit). Speaking of paying players more than they're worth, Deion Branch surely won't be playing on that $5.7m salary this year. He either restructures to reduce that to a sane level for a 3rd WR (at best) or he's cut and plays somewhere else. If neither of those 2 are back the Seahawks are really struggling at WR. Housh will tie down one end but there's not much else there. Ben Obomanu has good size and came into the league with great speed. That's not a lot of use though if your OL can't keep your QB vertical long enough for a deep play to develop. 13 catches last year doesn't give you much confidence in him yet you'd figure him to be a starter with Branch and Burleson gone. Deon Butler will enter his second year, he's probably the most obvious Branch replacement but again, he's not done much to give you confidence yet. Mike Hass got signed off the practice squad part way through the season. He didn't catch a pass and hurt his shoulder. I remember Hass as being a good route runner so if he finds himself on the field he could get some passes his way. But making the field, or the roster, is a big if. There's just no escaping that this is a big need for the Seahawks. Particularly if they do find that young QB. You need to give a young QB every chance to succeed. That means keeping defenders off him and giving him guys who can get open. With 2 first round picks a trade down with one of them that gets a decent WR thrown in is an outside possibility on draft day. Stranger things have happened. But at some point, and probably early, Carroll's going to need to get another target.
Tight Ends No Need
..and here is where we probably find one of those targets. John Carlson has quickly established himself as one of the best young TEs in the league. They'd be foolish not to look for him more often in the passing game. What they really need to help them out there is better blocking from the Tackles. Carlson spent too much time with the OL pass blocking and not enough time pass receiving last year. Getting Jones and Locklear back will help the offense in so many ways and Carlson could see as big a benefit as anyone. John Owens is your blocking TE, he's fine but don't expect anything else. Rounding them out is Cameron Morrah, a young guy with great speed but needs a lot of work. We're unlikely to see much of him as long as Carlson is healthy and he may have a battle on his hands for a roster spot. But as of now I don't see any need to address the TE position in the draft other than by picking up a couple of guys to compete with Morrah and Owens in camp. UPDATE: Chris Baker has been added to further bolster the TE ranks.
Offensive Line Major Need
You lose both starting Tackles, you're going to struggle. I don't care who you are. The Seahawks are no different. It's hard to underestimate the effect of losing 2 top notch OTs like Walter Jones and Sean Locklear. If both are healthy the Seahawks Offense instantly upgrades several notches. But will Jones even be back? He announced his retirement on Twitter. So that's a question that needs to be answered soon, noises from his representatives don't sound promising. Obviously if Jones calls it a day the Seahawks have the unenviable task of replacing a future Hall of Fame Left Tackle. Not easy. So don't rule out that #6 overall going on Russell Okung. Locklear is a possibility to fill that role in 2010 but his contract requires him to be paid more if he plays at LT. Which is probably not a concern in an uncapped year. Max Unger was drafted early last year and big things are expected of him. It's not exactly clear where he'll end up playing. Some scouts felt Unger could potentially play any position on the OL but Center may be his best position. In addition there's a collection of several young guys who should fit Gibbs' schemes very well, some of them have been less than spectacular the last couple of years but I think it's likely Gibbs will see them as good young material to mould. So perhaps things aren't all that bad and maybe they'll just need to replace the one guy? A change in coaching and a zone blocking guru to boot, might be enough to lift this unit to heights of old. But replacing Walter Jones still means this is a Major Need and there's a raft of guys who might fit in with Seattle's second pick in round 1. 2010 may be a work in progress year but if anyone can get the best out of this group it's the new coaching team. One thing the Denver Broncos (and the Falcons when Gibbs coached there) did well was identify smaller, smart agile Offensive Linemen in the mid to late rounds. As good as I think Okung may be as a pick for the Seahawks I can see that mentality carrying over into Seattle and them addressing other needs earlier whilst shopping for their type of OL guys later in the draft
Defensive Tackles Minor Need
After a 6 sack year in 2008 Brandon Mebane was supposed to shift it up a notch in 2009, especially after they signed NT type Colin Cole to free up Mebane to do more pass rushing. Strangely Mebane seems to have improved against the run but not made nearly such an impact getting to the QB. He's definitely a talent though but I guess if the Seahawks could cover anyone he'd get more opportunities. Cole was a role and rotation player in Green Bay and it seems maybe that's what he should stick to. The run Defense was decent enough but the pass defense was rotten. In part because of some bad cover days but also 28 sacks isn't enough and the Hawks really need to do something to hurry the passer more effectively. Mebane has real pass rush ability but perhaps they could do with someone playing alongside him to occupy more blockers allowing Mebane to get in the backfield more? Course if your CBs can't cover for more than 3 seconds you can have all the pass rushers you want... But when you look at the depth, you can see that if Cole could be a rotation guy and they can find a genuine 4-3 NT out there they would be so much better off. Red Bryant has been consistent in his first 2 years in the league. By consistent of course I mean in both seasons he hardly played and finished with 8 total tackles. Not the sort of consistency you're really looking for. I had high hopes for Bryant, I thought he'd actually make a fine 3-4 DE but he's not done anything so far as a 4-3 DT. Which brings me neatly to another discussion. A lot of teams have switched to the 3-4, some had a good set of players to do it (Packers), some really didn't (KC, Denver). I look at Seattle's current players and as I said I liked Bryant in the 3-4 at End. Colin Cole looks a perfect fit for 3-4 NT. Mebane is certainly capable of playing DE in a 3-4, it may not suit his talents best... but I'm pretty sure he'd let no-one down. Lawrence Jackson playing the 3-4 rush OLB role and Aaron Curry on the other side? LeRoy Hill/David Hawthorne and Lofa Tatupu on the inside... this has real promise to me. Ah well, perhaps it's not meant to be but I definitely think it's worth considering for the Seahawks. More-so than a lot of other teams who will shift, or are considering a shift. I still think they could use someone to take Cole's starting position, and there are a lot of NT types in the draft this year, so it definitely bears watching on draft day.
Defensive Ends Minor Need
Patrick Kerney's time is almost up but he could be back as something of a Trace Armstrong pass rush specialist role on third downs. But at his current salary he'd most likely have to take a pay cut. If he's not willing to do that then it could be bye bye time. In that scenario the Seahawks have to be looking around for someone else. This is not a great year for 4-3 pass rushing DEs with a lot of college DEs this year, the pass rushers at least, seeming to fit better at 3-4OLB. Derrick Morgan is the obvious exception amongst the likely early picks. But there's no escaping the fact he's probably going to be over-drafted because of a lack of better options. Cory Redding is a free agent, and I suspect given his largely disappointing 1 season in Seattle, not that likely to return. Lawrence Jackson had a really promising start to the season but tailed off fairly rapidly following a rib injury in October. They have to hope for a lot more from him in 2010, something that would make him look like a first round talent. Darryl Tapp was traded to the Eagles for fellow DE Chris Clemons and a 4th round pick. That didn't really improve or worsen the DE situ, they just got 3 years older. This is not exactly a situation that doesn't need improvement. They have a couple of young guns they'll hope for more from and a 33 year old guy who may or may not retire or be cut. Getting someone else is a smart move. I'd suggest someone in a trade or free agency rather than a draft pick. I don't think the value is there for pass rushers this year and there are a few good guys hitting free agency of one type of another this offseason. And rumours of some top drawer guys may be available in a trade (Osi Umenyiora anyone?). Calling it a Minor Need as I'm assuming Kerney will be back at this point.
Linebackers Minimal Need
This should be a really good set of LBs. Last year's first pick Aaron Curry has the talent to be a huge star, he was disappointing as a rookie but I've no doubt he'll come good. Lofa Tatupu is one of the best MLBs in the league when he's healthy. The fact that he isn't always healthy also let them discover the talents of one David Hawthorne. A former undrafted guy who performed very well in Tatupu's absence. Chuck in LeRoy Hill who had a good year in 2008 but wasn't that healthy in 2009. This is one of the strengths of the team and probably doesn't need much adding to it other than bringing a couple of 7th round/UDFA types to camp to compete with the backups. Oh of course, it also needs Curry to hit the heights and for the others to stay healthy. Which is no small ask in Seattle sadly. Free agent D.D. Lewis won't be missed much. Will Herring is an undersized guy more suited to special teams but he played over Lewis, which should tell you how much they're likely to want Lewis back.
Cornerbacks Major Need
Marcus Trufant due $3m roster bonus in March. Over the Norties he's been one of the better CBs in the NFL but 2009 was a real down year for him. He had a back injury and probably came back too soon, never looking fully fit and being burnt on several occasions. I would hope he'd come back fully healthy this year and ready to resume what was a very good career, and $3m is not a huge payday for a top CB. Even so, on the other side no-one really stepped up to play. Josh Wilson is better as a nickel guy/backup type so far (he's entering year 3 this year so there's still hope) but Kelly Jennings? Well the only people he scares in coverage are Seahawks fans. It's getting pretty safe to say he's a first round bust at this point. With not even a developmental type player picked in either of the last 2 drafts this is looking pretty patchy, especially if Trufant can't get back to his best. So where does this leave them? Ken Lucas is a free agent and in decline. Do they attempt to re-sign him? That's sure to be a tough call but unless they go for a CB early on in round 2, Kyle Wilson perhaps, they could be struggling for numbers and quality. There would be much worse picks at #6 than Joe Haden too. Not sure how high CB will be up their draft board but a pairing of Trufant and Haden with Josh Wilson in reserve... well that should be a pretty good threesome.
Safeties Major Need
At Safety Jordan Babineaux has turned into a very dependable guy. He's thrown in a few splash plays too but he could do with adding a couple more INTs... At Strong Safety is where the problems lie though. A combination of Deon Grant and Lawyer Milloy didn't really get the job done and if he's BPA at #6 then Eric Berry is going to make a very strong candidate for that first pick. Very strong indeed. When you factor in Grant's way overpaid at $4m for his production and Milloy is like 47 years old, Berry starts to look like a no brainer. If he lasts that far. But Seattle could go in so many directions with having 2 first rounders. Earl Thomas might look attractive with their second first rounder as well. Taylor Mays as a big hitter at Strong Safety? It's possible he could fall into round 2. Not that likely but possible. When you have 1/2 starters in an increasingly important position like Safety, it's got to be a Major Need too.
Specialists No Need
Jon Ryan got a new 6 year deal this offseason, Olindo Mare is their franchise player (and about as good a kicker at kick offs as I've seen). Nuff said.
Return Game Minor Need
With Nate Burleson gone (best Punt Returner) and Justin Forsett (best kick returner) unlikely to be risked on returns anymore this has some real question marks, it's not like they were awesomeon returns anyway. No-one went to the house and the longest was only 46 yards (29 on punts), so this is something they really need to upgrade. With Pete Carroll coming to sample the coffee in Seattle there's inevitable rumours about Reggie Bush being traded for. I don't see it myself. The Saints probably don't want to admit that Bush is a wasted draft pick (at least for the position he was drafted in) and isn't really much more than an injury prone role player. Which is the biggest reason why Seattle shouldn't be interested. But they do need to find someone to get better field position and a draft pick isn't out of the question. A guy like Earl Thomas may bring some return ability as well as improve the secondary.
Dream Day One
 1.6 Eric Berry S Tennessee  1.14 Dez Bryant WR Oklahoma State  2.40 Kyle Wilson CB Boise State
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Last Edited: 02/25/2010

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