The Seattle Seahawks have a very good roster, but what's especially nice and hopeful about their team is that the vast majority of current Seahawks are young and signed through 2017, at least. This series leading up to the regular season opener on September 11 will take a closer look at 30 such players, all of whom won't be turning 30 this year.
Player: Jordan Hill, DT
How acquired: Third round pick (87th overall) in 2013 draft
Free agent: 2017
I might catch some flack for having Hill listed this high, and I think that would probably be fair at this point. When I compiled the initial list, training camp had not yet started and I for some reason erred on the side of optimism when it came to his health. But as Hill has missed more practice and the first preseason game against the Chiefs, other players have stepped up and made it unclear what type of future Hill really has in Seattle.
The depth chart at defensive tackle now looks like it could be quite the strength for the Seahawks if everyone stays healthy: Ahtyba Rubin (who won’t be on this list because he turned 30 in July), Jarran Reed, Quentin Jefferson, Brandin Bryant, and Sealver Siliga make an impressive unit even before you include Hill, who still might have the greatest upside of any of them as far as rushing the passer goes:
Two years ago, Hill racked up 5.5 sacks over a six-game period before once again getting injured. But he has not had a sack since 2014.
It seems like by drafting Reed and Jefferson and by signing Siliga, the team is already preparing for Hill to leave after this season. Even though Siliga is only on a one-year deal, it may not be much different than the one-year deals signed by Rubin, Michael Bennett, Tony McDaniel, or the low-key trade for Clinton McDonald back in 2011. They see big guys who fit perfectly into their system that are being undervalued, they put them in a position to succeed, and oftentimes, Seattle keeps them around at a reasonable price because they gave them a second chance in the NFL to begin with. However, if Hill plays up to his abilities for a full season, the biggest obstacle between him and a long-term contract with the Seahawks is the fact that if he reaches his ceiling, the team may not be able to afford him. Especially when you consider that they have a stable of young defensive tackles who could perhaps help make up for his absence. Especially if Bryant is as good as he looks like he could be as a pass-rusher, Reed as a run-stuffer, and Rubin as the anchor.
I’m not sure if Hill should still be considered one of the top 15 or 20 Seahawks under 30 anymore based on how much time he’s missed and how much others have stepped up, but if we were just basing it on pure ability and potential, he’d easily make a case for top 10. Let’s see what happens this season and find out.
Some Hill-lights from his time at Penn State: