The Seattle Seahawks have done their usual free agent business, hanging back in the first weeks when all the big contracts are signed and then finding the value adds in week two. It seems like it’s been longer but only two weeks have passes since free agency opened on March 9, and while they are quieter than say, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Seahawks definitely made some interesting moves.
With the additions of Luke Joeckel, Eddie Lacy, Arthur Brown, they added some potentially good starters, but retaining DeShawn Shead, Luke Willson, Neiko Thorpe was just as important to them. Now would be a good time to update ourselves on Seattle’s depth chart and see what’s still in need with the draft coming up and some decent players still available on the open market.
QB - Russell Wilson, Trevone Boykin
Need: This won’t be enough to get the Seahawks through training camp obviously, so you’d expect them to add at least one veteran and maybe one rookie. Not a vet like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Robert Griffin III (though I guess that or Colin Kaepernick makes a small amount of sense) but some under-30 names out there are Blaine Gabbert, David Fales, Ryan Nassib, Matt McGloin, Austin Davis, and T.J. Yates. Johnny Manziel has apparently discussed returning to the NFL with Saints head coach Sean Payton, for what it’s worth.
RB - Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, Troymaine Pope, Kelvin Taylor, Terrence Magee, J.D. McKissic, George Farmer, Tre Madden
FB - Malcolm Johnson
Need: They have at least three capable starters and it’s going to be tough when one or two of these guys doesn’t make the final cut. That being said, if a draft pick too good to be true falls, they wouldn’t hesitate to take him. They have not re-signed Will Tukuafu or Marcel Reece yet, so expect them to continue exploring the fullback market.
WR - Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Tanner McEvoy, Jermaine Kearse, Kasen Williams, Kenny Lawler, Rodney Smith, Jamel Johnson
Need: I put Kearse fifth because I still believe he’ll be released. They’ve been rumored with receivers out there like Kamar Aiken (signed with Colts) because I don’t think this group is nearly stable enough for Pete Carroll’s liking. Some under-30 receivers still out there include Brian Quick, Michael Floyd, Quinton Patton, Griff Whalen, and former Washington State standout Marquess Wilson, who is only 24.
TE - Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Nick Vannett, Chris Briggs, Marcus Lucas
Need: Re-signing Willson to a one-year deal means that they don’t need to add a tight end, even after losing Brandon Williams to the Colts. However, this is an extraordinary class of tight ends in the draft so don’t be surprised if/when they take one because Graham and Willson are both free agents in 2018.
Potential Starting OL - Luke Joeckel, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, Garry Gilliam
This is an impossible task to tackle in late March, what Seattle’s starting offensive line will look like in September. I mean, Joeckel could literally be starting at four of these positions, though they’re going to start with either left tackle or left guard. He could also start at right tackle or right guard. I do expect him, Britt, and Ifedi to definitely start somewhere. Ifedi could be at right guard or right tackle. Gilliam and Glowinski I have very little confidence in but that’s how it could shake down. Gilliam could also still sign with another team as a restricted free agent.
Also could start: Rees Odhiambo, Oday Aboushi, George Fant
These guys are going to be in the mix for starting positions as well.
Potential Starting OL 2: Fant, Joeckel, Britt, Odhiambo, Ifedi
Potential Starting OL 3: Joeckel, Aboushi, Britt, Glowinski, Ifedi
Potential Starting OL 4: Fant, Glowinski, Britt, Ifedi, Joeckel
More OL depth: Robert Myers, Ross Burbank, Joey Hunt, Will Pericak
Need: Yeah, they need more offensive guards and tackles. The issue is that it’s a weak offensive line draft class and all the good/decent/capable free agents are taken. Getting Joeckel and Aboushi was an attempt.
Defensive End: Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh, Tavaris Barnes
Need: Defensive ends and pass rushers will never not be a need. If a good pass rusher is available at 26, and that’s who the Seahawks feel is the best player available, they’ll take him. Bennett has had some injury issues, and it’s a slippery slope if two of their top three guys are out. There’s not enough depth here. Marsh is more of a special teamer at this point but potentially more, but they’ll definitely add 2-3 in the draft and UDFA.
Defensive Tackle: Ahtyba Rubin, Jarran Reed, Quentin Jefferson, Rodney Coe, Garrison Smith, Shaneil Jenkins
Need: At this point, Seattle’s biggest “loss” is Tony McDaniel, though he’s not signed by anyone yet so he could still come back. Though Clark or Bennett will play inside too, this is clearly an area of concern for the Seahawks. Seattle’s been talking to defensive tackles and it’s clear why. The draft, I don’t feel great about defensive tackle in the first round. Second round, maybe. No home run hitters that would be there in the first, I don’t think. Some under-30 free agents still out there are Tyrunn Walker, Johnathan Hankins, and Devon Still. They will be active in filling out this position in the next couple of months, I’d think.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Arthur Brown, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Michael Wilhoite, Ronald Powell, Dewey McDonald
Need: I think if a player like Haason Reddick fell in the draft, they’d jump at a chance to take him. They haven’t re-signed Mike Morgan yet, but I’d expect them to even after adding Brown. It can’t be atop their list of priorities but if a good one were there, it’s a possibility. Former Top 100 player DeAndre Levy is still out there.
Cornerback: Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, DeAndre Elliott, Neiko Thorpe, Perrish Cox, Demetrius McCray, DeShawn Shead (injured)
Need: If I thought Shead could start by Week 1, this would be a pretty good group. However, since it’s likely he will start on PUP and miss a good portion of the season (if not all, let’s be honest) then a starting-capable corner becomes a huge need. Lane was not great last season. I like Elliott, but he’s a second-year UDFA. Thorpe, we just don’t know, but he did re-sign for one year. Cox is not someone you even want to root for in this situation. Way too many question marks and that’s why a guy like Kevin King or Gareon Conley will be mocked to Seattle a lot in the first round. It’s not a bad time to start planning for a potential future without Sherman. He won’t be traded this year, but who knows what 2018 could bring. Still out there: Darrelle Revis, Sam Shields, Justin Gilbert, Nickell Robey, Jerraud Powers, Brandon Boykin, Asa Jackson, and many more.
Safety: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bradley McDougald, Pierre Desir
Need: Even after signing McDougald, the position is very thin. Thorpe and Shead can also play some safety, though the latter, I mean, that’s probably in the rearview at this point. McDougald means that they have a dude who they feel can start if necessary but the team still needs to add depth guys and potential “Super Safeties of the Future” because of how important Thomas and Chancellor have been to the team for the last seven years. Someone like Obi Melifonwu, if available at 26, is a target for that reason. My gut has actually been leaning more and more towards Melifonwu with each passing day. Kelcie McCray and Jeron Johnson have yet to be signed by anyone.
K: Blair Walsh, John Lunsford
P: Jon Ryan
LS: Tyler Ott, Nolan Frese
Seattle added Lunsford on Wednesday to compete with Walsh for the roster spot. The 23-year-old was with the 49ers in the preseason last year and the Buccaneers until last week. It’s a need but it’s not like you can expect them to do much more than compete with these guys, maybe added a UDFA, and see what happens.
By my count, that’s 73 players on the roster with the draft and post-draft additions to come in April and May. The biggest areas of need are offensive tackle, guard, defensive tackle (passing downs), a starting-capable cornerback, safety depth, and wide receiver.