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Breakouts, comebacks, team MVPs: Who to watch at Seahawks training camp

Candidates for breakout player, comeback player, and others

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks
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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

In an offseason and a camp filled with more Seattle Seahawks questions than we’re accustomed to, today’s post reaches your eyeballs with answers. Making its way around the internet this week is a tweet format designed to supply you with said answers. Here’s an example of just one of thousands:

God no, we’re not going to talk about the Broncos. Disaster averted. You are still on Field Gulls! We will stick to the Seahawks, the team we pretend to know, even when they surprise us by drafting a tiny quarterback or trading for a playmaker, our of the navy blue.

What makes such a format interesting is that you could think of three or four names for each category. For that eventuality, we have prepared you a comments section below. You’re welcome.

Man, it was a long wait for training camp. Thank goodness that’s over.

For the #Seahawks!

Breakout guy: Tedric Thompson

Earl Thomas will be a Seahawk in 2018. He’ll come to an agreement with the team, because it makes too much sense for both parties.

But. But but but but but but, but but. In case the unthinkable* happens and Thomas plays elsewhere next, his replacement will get the chance to make a name for himself. Thompson was in Thomas’ shoes for the first practice of camp on Thursday. If that continues throughout camp, it places the second-year Colorado Buffalo in line for his big professional break, as centerfielder of a Pete Carroll defense.

*literally every Seahawks fan has thought it

Carroll, on Thompson:

T2, he looks sweet, he looked great throughout all of the time that we’ve had him. He’s got a great feel for what’s going on, he’s a great student, he had a fantastic offseason, and he looked great out here to get us going. So he’s right in the middle of it all.

I’m old enough to remember when people shat on John Schneider for drafting three safeties and a defensive back in 2017. With Kam Chancellor looking like he’ll never play again, and Thomas’ status up in the air, who looks foolish now?

Comeback Kid: C.J. Prosise

If injuries are random, and Prosise is not especially prone to missing time, just an unlucky dude, then he’s as likely as any of the non-Doug Baldwin offensive pieces to have a giant year.

Everyone knows about the 153-yard game against the Patriots, followed by the 72-yard run against the Eagles, followed by the end of Prosise’s 2016 season in that same game. Everyone knows about the checkered health history since those highlights took fans’ breath away. When active, Prosise is a swiss army knife, a rare talent who can split out wide and run between the tackles.

He’s proven he can produce. What he hasn’t proven is any measure of durability.

Watch his touchdown vs. Philadelphia again, for the first time. He’s going to stutter at the line, make the man in motion miss, then outrun a safety for the score. Those are moves that will work anywhere on the field. Assuming he stays on the field. After missing 21 of a possible 32 games, health hasn’t been his strong suit, suffice it to say.

Rising Star: Rashaad Penny

Put aside your opinion of whether the Seahawks wasted their first-round pick on a running back, and imagine what an upgrade Penny is in that backfield.

The NFL’s bottom five finishers in DYAR for running backs (less than 100 carries) were:

Mike Davis, -38

DeAndre Wahington, -55

Elijah McGuire, -56

Eddie Lacy, -81

Thomas Rawls, -83

Penny’s not replacing Marshawn Lynch. He’s taking touches directly from some of the worst-performing RBs in the league. Maybe it takes him a few weeks to get accustomed to the speed at this level, but that’ll only make his rise all the more compelling.

Don’t forget about: Barkevious Mingo

Not that you would with his epic name.

Mingo’s going to get some pass rush opportunities. Look at the roster news out of camp on the very first day: Frank Clark had wrist surgery over the summer and isn’t fully well yet and Dion Jordan’s gonna start out on the PUP. Quite suddenly, the pass rushing depth of your Seattle Seahawks might be put to the test right away.

Look, Clark and Jordan had 13 of the team’s 39 sacks last year. Departed players (such as Michael Bennett) had another 13.5. Leaving just 12.5 sacks generated by currently healthy returning Seahawks.

Mingo contributed two sacks and three forced fumbles to a woeful Colts team last year. Nobody’s saying Mingo will be the reincarnation of Cliff Avril. But at 6-5, 235 pounds, he’s better suited to rush the passer than play linebacker on a team that already employs Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

Needs to rebound: Germaine Ifedi

Some will call this an obvious choice. Some will say he needs to “bound” before he can “rebound.” I call it an optimistic viewpoint: Ifedi will now be working with his second offensive line coach as a pro. Mike Solari is bound to give the first rounder new insight, new techniques, and new tricks that weren’t in Tom Cable’s wheelhouse. Every coach is different and since Ifedi failed to flourish under Cable, it’s incumbent on him to grow with a new coach, or face the bench. Because Carroll and Schneider have proven time and again that high draft position doesn’t guarantee you a permanent starting job on their roster.

It would be very unsurprising to see Ifedi blossom into a star, or crater and spend the rest of his career as a backup. For the sake of Seattle’s offensive line, their quarterback, their running game, and their win-loss column, let’s hope for the first outcome.

There’s reason for pessimism if that’s your jam: Ifedi led all offensive linemen in penalties accrued in 2017. Actually. Um. He led all players. He collected 20 flags, 16 of which were enforced. Nobody else had more than 13.

Still, there’s reason for optimism if you look hard enough: Field Gulls writer John Gilbert discovered back in March that Ifedi’s Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) was right in line with second-year tackles.

Nobody would fault you for taking either side.

Dark horse MVP: Doug Baldwin

Who’s the Seahawks’ WR2? Is it Tyler Lockett, could it be Jaron Brown ... wait, is it Brandon Marshall? The absence of a clear second receiving option — Jimmy Graham took his talents to the tundra and Paul Richardson is in the wrong Washington — means Baldwin’s probably gonna get more looks than ever before.

Good. Targets from 2017:

Baldwin, 116

Graham, 96

Richardson, 80

Lockett, 71

JD McKissic, 46

That’s a lot of pass attempts that need to find a new home.

Baldwin could very well exceed his three-year average line of 82-1063-10. I’d almost go so far as to say “draft him in your fantasy league,” except that you should never draft a Seattle receiver.

Under the radar: Jarran Reed

Admit it, you haven’t thought much about Reed. There have been other story lines this offseason.

Jacob, a name many longtime FGers will recognize, isn’t telling you Reed will exceed the contributions of his more celebrated teammates. But if Reed remains solid against the run and develops the tiniest bit of pass rush proficiency, he could turn into another Brandon Mebane or Clinton McDonald. Those guys are key members of championship-level teams.

Just remember, you Reed it here first.