The Seattle Seahawks made the monumental decision to trade Russell Wilson, and while the multiple first- and second-rounders are the major pieces in return, Seattle did get a few players back from the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Drew Lock is entering the final year of his contract, tight end Noah Fant is technically in the same boat if Seattle doesn’t pick up his fifth year option, and defensive tackle Shelby Harris is the veteran of the bunch who has only one more season of guaranteed money.
For the moment, Lock is QB1 (unless you have an alarmingly high view of Jacob Eason), Fant is more than likely the new starting tight end and they’ll let at least one of Gerald Everett or Will Dissly depart in free agency, and Harris should be a major rotational piece along the Seahawks’ defensive interior.
I asked Mile High Report’s Joe Rowles one question for each player the Seahawks acquired. Without spoiling too much, there’s more to like than dislike, although the one player where there isn’t much to be excited about is exactly the one you think it is.
1.) Shelby Harris seemed like a beloved and valued member of the Broncos defense. What does he bring to the table for a Seahawks team needing a stronger defensive line and especially an improved pass rush?
Harris blocked the Chargers’ game winning field goal in his first game in orange and blue and he’s been a fan favorite ever since. He joined the Broncos in 2017 and went from underutilized backup nose tackle to a starter in two different defensive systems. Harris is at his best shooting gaps where he can win with his burst, hands, and savvy. He’s blessed with long arms on a 6’2 frame so he’s consistently good at winning the leverage battle and has a real knack for batting the ball out of the air. His pad level and play strength also make him a sturdier run defender than you’d expect for a 290-pounder.
I expect Harris to be a noticeable upgrade to the Seahawks’ interior pass rush and he could play as a big defensive end if called upon. During his time in the Vic Fangio defense he showcased his ability to log snaps from tackle to tackle along the defensive line, so he could help unlock more personnel groupings for Pete Carroll and Clint Hurtt.
2.) Noah Fant has put up good numbers even with very little quality quarterback play. What does he do well and what does he struggle with?
Fant is one of the more athletic tight end prospects in the NFL with the kind of long speed to run away from defenders if he finds a sliver in the open field. He’s too quick for the average linebacker and his size creates matchup questions for defensive backs. Since Fant’s rookie year he’s grown into a reliable outlet receiver and proven himself as a dependable option on passing downs. I’ve long wondered if the Broncos actually wanted T.J. Hockenson in 2019 because Fant was routinely asked to play as if he was his former teammate. This led to some lowlight moments when Rich Scangarello and Pat Shurmur asked him to block defensive ends.
He was an adequate blocker overall during his three years in Denver, but I believe he still has potential to grow there. The Broncos’ play calling along with problematic quarterback and tackle play limited Fant’s opportunities to run routes downfield, but he has that in his game. I do believe he could find new life in an offense that gives him more reps detached from the line of scrimmage as a big slot or H-back.
3.) Drew Lock has looked incredibly mediocre in his Broncos career. Have you seen anything to suggest that he has a future in this league as NFL starter?
In a word? No.
The longer answer is still no. I started writing about the Broncos for Mile High Report shortly before John Elway signed Case Keenum. Over that time I’ve studied the film of 10 different quarterbacks, all subpar to horrific. Drew Lock has more physical talent than most of them and yet he’s one of the worst. He’s a marginal processor with inconsistent mechanics. His most ardent believers see the highlight reel plays and believe he can be the next Josh Allen or even Elway. The truth is he came into the NFL after starting four years in the SEC and remains a see-it, throw-it passer with baffling mental errors and lackluster ball placement three years into his NFL career.
Before the 2021 season a colleague and I looked at every quarterback since 2000 who made 48 starts to open their career in order to gain perspective on Lock’s future. NFL history also paints a really bleak picture for a fourth year pro who has been as mediocre as Lock to this point.
Thanks again to Joe for answering my questions! This trade won’t be official until next week but it’s a mere formality.
Which player from the Russell Wilson trade intrigues you the most?
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