Recently, I took on Seattle's needs on offense. Now, let's look at the defense. Once again, what follows the jump is a list of team needs in no particular order and a few thoughts (with no implied endorsement) on options for addressing them.
By way of review Seattle gets the 25th pick in each round with a few exceptions. Seattle's 3rd round pick goes to San Diego to complete the Whitehurst trade. Seattle gets the 2nd pick in 4th round to complete the Deion Branch trade but its original 4th goes to Buffalo to complete the Marshawn Lynch trade. Seattle gets Baltimore's 5th round pick to complete the Josh Wilson trade and Detroit's draft 6th round pick to complete the Lawrence Jackson trade. Seattle's original 6th round pick goes to San Francisco to complete the Kentwan Balmer trade. This of course does not include any compensatory selections for free agent losses.
In-House. Certainly, Seattle needs to upgrade. If not the starters, the depth. The cornerback play generally ranged from mediocre to awful. Marcus Trufant, though aging, is not without some value. Kelly Jennings' lack of ball skills have made him the guy that other teams seek to isolate. Walter Thurmond, III looks like he could conceivably start next year. Really, nothing else currently on the roster is worth mentioning.
Draft. This draft features two elite corners, Paterson and Amukamara, both of whom will likely be picked among the top 10-15 players. However, this cornerback class also features reasonable depth. Texas CB Aaron Williams, Miami's Brandon Harris, and Colorado's Jimmy Smith could be available at the bottom of the first round. Beyond that, some mid-round CBs could stick like UVa's Ras-I-Dowling or Texas' Chykie Brown.
Free Agency/Trade. Hard to imagine that Seattle will be in the market for corners despite the fact that a fair number of quality corners may hit the market. The CB market tends to be pricey.
In-House. Brandon Mebane continues to do his thing. I assume Seattle will keep him around. We learned to appreciate Colin Cole. After that? Eww. This roster has very little talent on the defensive line.
Draft. At minimum Seattle must add a developmental defensive tackle. The draft is likely the best option for improving the position. In the 2nd round Clemson's Jarvis Jenkins and North Carolina's Marvin Austin intrigue. (Austin, suspended for attending a party sponsored by an agent, could move work himself into the first round.)
Free Agency/Trade. I don't know that Seattle will be able to find an affordable starter in free agency, but may be able to find better depth than the likes of Craig Terrill.
In-House. Kam Chancellor's development is heartening but he may not be quite ready to step in as a starter in place of Lawyer Malloy and we know that Babs is useful depth and nothing more.
Draft. Strong safeties tend to not to go in the first round and given Chancellor's development it's doubtful Seattle would spend a high pick at SS. Clemson's DeAndre McDaniel is generally considered the best in the class and is likely a 2nd rounder. A late round project I like, who does some of the things Seattle did with Lawyer Malloy, is Nebraska's DeJon Gomes.
Free Agency/Trade. We would love to get one of the Landry Bros. to sign in Seattle. Barring that, the market for safeties might still be reasonably well-stocked and not exorbitantly priced. (Of course, that is all dependent on a new CBA.)
In-House. What remains unclear is Carroll's/Bradley's commitment to the hyper-specialized strongside and weakside ends. Their injury-necessitated willingness to play both Raheem Brock and Chris Clemons together suggests something less than disdain for conventional ends. Should Seattle stay committed to the Leo however, Dexter Davis is basically the only young depth at the position.
Draft. My suspicion is that Seattle won't invest a first round pick on an end. In the 2nd round, Iowa's 300lb DE Christian Ballard is a strong candidate for the strongside while Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal who played a Leo-like hybrid is a candidate for Leo.
Free Agency/Trade. If Seattle goes to the market, the team should give serious consideration to Mattias Kiwanuka (NYG) for Leo. He seems tailor-made for it and may be interested in going somewhere he could be a featured player.
In-House. Although Seattle lacks difference makers, the linebacker core remains solid and reasonably deep. Who knows if Curry will ever live up to his #4 overall draft selection, but he has probably developed into a league average OLB and he still has considerable upside.
Draft. Assuming that Leroy Hill will no longer be in Seattle, the team will need to look for more depth. This draft appears to lack knock-your-socks off prospects at LB. So it's probably a good thing Seattle is reasonably set at the position.
Free Agent/Trade. It's hard to see Seattle spending money on a starter in the market unless it was for a bona fide star.