If you loved the “anonymous evaluators and executives grade the NFL Draft” article from last month, well this series is back again!
ESPN’s Mike Sando compiled analysis and opinion from league insiders to assess the offseason moves of all 32 teams. This includes the draft, free agency, trades, and major contract extensions or roster cuts. The Seattle Seahawks didn’t grade particularly well, although most schools will consider a C+ as marginally acceptable.
This article is behind the ESPN+ paywall, but we can lift the relevant paragraphs so that you all can see the important quotes:
Seattle re-signed quarterback Russell Wilson, turned Frank Clark into draft capital and then made a series of late signings -- Ziggy Ansah among them -- that did not count in the equation for 2020 compensatory draft choices. The maneuvers are projected to leave Seattle with more than one choice in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds next year.
Draft picks are great, of course, but without Clark, do the Seahawks have enough good players on their roster?
”The good thing for them is, they have a formula that won,” an exec said. “It is clear that Pete [Carroll] needs a culture where guys are not paid, where they are younger and hungrier and can adapt. Guys like [Richard] Sherman, [Earl] Thomas and Michael Bennett figured out they could talk their way out.”
The Clark trade helped Seattle increase its 2019 draft-pick total from four to 11.
”I really struggle with Seattle,” another exec said. “They traded their best pass-rusher for picks they used for a safety with some character concerns, a receiver who runs three routes [DK Metcalf] and a really good special-teams linebacker [Ben Burr-Kirven] who might wind up being the best player of those three.”
Others think Metcalf can become a star despite whatever route-running limitations exist.
”It’s interesting when you look at their receivers,” an evaluator said. “They have the Kansas State guy already [Tyler Lockett], who can run. They are adding speed guys that are good on the outside and can stretch the defense.”
Most of the Seahawks’ draft produced replacements. First-round pick L.J. Collier replaces Clark. Second-round safety Marquise Blair fills some of the void left by Thomas. Metcalf, fourth-rounder Gary Jennings Jr. and seventh-rounder John Ursua help replace retiring receiver Doug Baldwin.
”I think they will be fine, but their defensive roster, on paper, looks like one of the worst in the league simply because of the youth,” an evaluator said. “If the youth hits, boom, they explode, but there is the alternative scenario that leaves them overly reliant on their quarterback.”
That one executive obviously wasn’t impressed with the draft haul the Seahawks managed by trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs. It seems as if DK Metcalf is going to be one of the most scrutinized picks throughout the 2019 season. Another evaluator believes that Seattle’s youth and inexperience on defense could make them (at least on paper) one of the league’s worst.
It is true that they’ve lost Clark, Earl Thomas, and are down to just Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright among the Seahawks who’ve starred on the top defenses dating back to 2012, but you would hope that Jarran Reed continues to develop into an elite DT, while Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers become the new cornerstones at cornerback. Then there’s Collier and Rasheem Green on the defensive front, while Marquise Blair is likely to be paired with Bradley McDougald at the safety spots. Seattle’s defense has been average over the past two seasons (based on DVOA), so yes, there may absolutely be some growing pains in 2019 now that even more established talent has departed.
Scanning the other NFC West grades, the Arizona Cardinals got a B, the San Francisco 49ers received a C, and the Los Angeles Rams also earned a C+.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s just fun offseason content that we will very much look back on when the 2019 regular season comes to an end.