Maybe I've said this about every other position along the way too, but this time I really mean it - the Seahawks' linebacker group might feature the most interesting upcoming competition in training camp and the preseason as roster spots and starting spots get hashed out. The team's starting middle linebacker from last season in David Hawthorne left in free agency - the only major loss of a starting-caliber player for the Seahawks this year, other than John Carlson, and one they evidently allowed to happen. To fill his place, the Seahawks drafted a rookie named Bobby Wagner, signed a veteran in Barrett Ruud, and converted a college running back back to his high school position of linebacker in Alan Bradford. They still have K.J. Wright, who may see significant snaps in the middle.
Lost in the shuffle a bit has been Matt McCoy, a journeyman linebacker that missed a large part of last season with a serious knee injury. When healthy, McCoy has been dependable, and at times a standout for the Seahawks defense, mostly in a backup role, but also utilized in certain nickel packages and near the goal line. From the video below, my analysis would be that you can see that McCoy shows a nice ability to diagnose where the play is going, and manages to sneak through the line and past blockers in the process. He'll get blocked out of plays on occasion - he's maybe a little smaller than your typical middle linebacker at 6'0, 230, but he compensates with quickness and savvy. He seems to show awareness in zone pass coverage, which is important, though I'm not sure how effective he'd be in man against a tight end or running back. He'll be an interesting player to watch in the next few months, as he's also known to be a strong special teams contributor.
McCoy will be battling with the above mentioned players for a spot on the roster and on paper it would seem that Ruud would fulfill a similar role and thus is his main competition. The former Buccaneer and Titan, though, is battling injuries of his own so it's unclear how close he is to returning to full speed. Regardless, Nate has put together another excellent season retrospective piece, this time on Matt McCoy, which captures snaps from the Seahawks' game at Pittsburgh and their game at home against Arizona. Take a look, talk about what you see, and thanks again to Nate Dogg for taking the time to work on these, they're a great resource.