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A frank discussion about the Seahawks offensive ‘needs’ in the 2023 NFL Draft

Are upgrades ‘needed’ on the O-line and/or at most of the skill positions?

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NFL: DEC 04 Seahawks at Rams Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What is the difference between a “need” and a “want”?

In simple, dictionary-like terms, a need is something that is required whereas a want is something that is desired.

Required vs. desired.

It seems simple, and yet people can debate about it for hours, days, even lifetimes.

My own want v. need debate right now is Bijan Robinson.

Let’s not dwell on that though . . .

This is lifted word-for-word from Saturday’s “Frank” discussion about the Seahawksdefensive needs in this year’s draft:

Unlike the first two frank discussions (QB connections, Jalen Carter), the section headings this time won’t be “talking points”; instead, they’ll be player positions. Then, inside each section, there will be:

* A breakdown of who the Seahawks currently have on their roster.

* One argument FOR the position being considered a need.

* One argument AGAINST it being a need.

Also, as I noted in that piece:

Note: For most, if not all, of the positions, there will be more than one argument that could be made for and/or against the position being a need. I am limiting myself to one so that this doesn’t become a 5,000-word op-ed. In some cases, the argument I’ve posited isn’t the biggest one; it’s just the one I chose to write about.

Last, but not least, while some might start with the quarterback position, I’m starting in the middle of the offensive line, working my way outside and then moving back from the line of scrimmage which makes the order: Center —> Guard —> Tackle —> Tight End —> WR —> QB —> RB.

I mention that in case you want to jump ahead.

Let’s begin . . .


“Hello and thank you,” to those who didn’t race down to the glamour positions at the end of the article - and also to those who didn’t jump straight to the Comments.

Current roster:

  • Evan Brown (1-year, $2.25M UFA signing) - age 27 season
  • Joey Hunt (signed to Futures contract) - age 29


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: Who the heck is Evan Brown? He played Guard last year and only signed a 1-year deal for not much money. If we had drafted Creed Humphrey when we had the chance, we wouldn’t be in this mess now!!!

Or, if you prefer a cleaner diatribe: Surely we can draft someone in one of the first two rounds that would push this Evan Brown guy to the bench and Joey Hunt to the practice squad (where they belong).


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: Name the last rookie Center to start a game (at Center) for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks.

Spoiler Alert: Some will tell you that it’s never happened, but in Week 12 of the 2016 season, a rookie Center got his first career start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because Seattle’s regular starter was injured and missed the game.

Still, that’s one game out of 210 regular-season contests under Carroll’s watch (plus 19 playoff games on top of that). I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen again in 2023.


Current roster:

  • Damien Lewis (2020 R3, #69 overall) - age 26 season
  • Phil Haynes (2019 R4, #124 overall) - age 28
  • Greg Eiland (signed to Futures contract) - age 25


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: Seattle has zero Guards under contract beyond this season. Zero.

Fun Fact: The only offensive linemen currently under contract past this season are LT Charles Cross, RT Abe Lucas, and OT Stone Forsythe. Everyone else will be a free agent after the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: How hard will it be to re-sign Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes? Unless one (or both) of them have an All-Pro season, the answer is most likely, “Not very.”

Offensive Tackle

Current roster:

  • Charles Cross (2022 R1, #9 overall) - age 23 season
  • Abe Lucas (2022 R3, #72 overall) age 25
  • Stone Forsythe (2021 R6, #208 overall) - age 26
  • Jake Curhan (2021 UDFA) - age 25
  • Jalen McKenzie (signed to Futures contract) - age 24


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: An “upgrade” at either left tackle or right tackle could move one of our second-year tackles to guard which might not be a bad plan. According to PFF, our rookie tackles were decidedly “average” last year.

Here are their PFF grades and rankings from 2022:

Overall Grade:

  • Cross: 63.1, #75 out of 140 tackles graded
  • Lucas: 68.4, #49 league-wide

Run-Blocking Grade:

  • Cross: 62.3, #63 out of 137
  • Lucas: 65.2, #50 league-wide

Pass-Blocking Grade:

  • Cross: 64.8, #78 out of 133
  • Lucas: 69.0, #61 league-wide

And here is PFF’s ‘scale’ for their grades:


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: Seattle is only the third team in the last 50 years to start two rookie tackles, and while those two rookies did struggle at times, they got better as the season went on and both should become better and more consistent as they gain experience at the professional level.

Tight End

Current roster:

  • Noah Fant (2019 R1, #20 overall) - age 26 season
  • Will Dissly (2018 R4, #120 overall) - age 27
  • Colby Parkinson (2020 R4, #133 overall) - age 24
  • Tyler Mabry (2020 UDFA) - age 27


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: Will Dissly is the only tight end who is signed past this season and, while we all love Uncle Will:

  • He has only played one complete season - he has appeared in 56 games (51 starts) out of 82 possible regular season games over his first 5 seasons)
  • He finished the 2022 season on the Injured Reserve list . . . again.
  • He has a cap hit of $10.1M next year

The writing might be on the wall.


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: The 12s may be disappointed in Fant’s performance last year (50-of-63 for 486 yards and 4 TDs), but he has averaged 78 targets, 55 catches, 598 yards, and 3.5 TDs over the first four years of his career, and he doesn’t turn 26 until November 20th. It probably won’t be tough to re-sign him (especially if John Schneider approaches him about an extension before training camp starts), and he and Dissly (when healthy) are a solid 1-2 punch at the tight end position.

Wide Receiver

Current roster:

  • Tyler Lockett (2015 R3, #69 overall) - age 31 season
  • D.K. Metcalf (2019 R2, #64 overall) - age 26
  • D’Wayne Eskridge (2021 R2, #56 overall) - age 26
  • Cody Thompson (2019 UDFA) - age 27
  • Dareke Young (2022 R7, #233 overall) - age 24
  • Cade Johnson (signed to Futures contract) - age 25
  • Connor Wedington (signed to Futures contract) - age 24
  • Easop Winston (signed to Futures contract) - age 27 (released 4/15)


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: Before we get to the argument, let’s enter two facts into evidence:

  1. Seattle has one of the best 1-2 WR combos in the league, but there is a huge talent gap between the top two wideouts (Metcalf and Lockett) and whoever might end up at WR3 (Eskridge or Thompson . . . maybe?); and
  2. The esteemed Mr. Lockett will turn 31 on September 28th.

Now for the argument . . .

The best way to close the gap between our top two wideouts and WR3 is to make Tyler Lockett WR3 and find a new WR2.

Think about it this way:

  • Lockett’s floor, even five years from now, is probably 2x what our best WR3 has done the past few years.
  • Lockett’s career averages are 93 targets, 67 receptions, 888 yards, and 7 TDs.
  • His worst year was 71 targets, 45 receptions, 555 yards, and 2 TDs (2017), and even with D.K. and another wideout ahead of him on the depth chart, Lockett’s floor would be higher than that.

If, for whatever reason, that argument is too radical for you, maybe rephrase it as: Acquire a WR3 with a higher freaking floor than David freaking Moore (et al.).


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: Tyler Lockett has shown no signs of slowing down (70+ catches, 1,000+ yards, and 8+ TDs for four straight seasons), and Seattle’s revolving door approach to the WR3 position arguably hasn’t hurt the team:

  • 2022: Marquise Goodwin: 27-of-42 for 387 yards + 4 TDs
  • 2021: Freddie Swain: 25-of-40 for 343 yards + 4 TDs
  • 2020: David Moore: 35-of-47 for 417 yards + 6 TDs
  • 2019: David Moore: 17-of-34 for 301 yards + 2 TDs

That’s a four-year average of 26-of-41 for 362 yards + 4 TDs . . . which ain’t bad. Especially when you consider that Seattle’s WR3 was actually the fourth-leading receiver in three of the last four years (Moore was #3 in 2020; a tight end was #3 the other three years).


Current roster:

  • Geno Smith (2013 R2, #39 overall) - age 33 season
  • Drew Lock (2019 R2, #42 overall) - age 27


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: The Seahawks’ front office structured the contracts of both QBs in a way that makes them very easy to get out of - and there are reasons for that, including Geno’s age, Drew’s career to this point, the possibility of Geno regressing, etc.

The argument here though is that neither QB’s contract is an impediment if John and Pete fall in love with a QB (especially one at the top of the draft).

To wit:

  • Drew Lock signed a 1-year, $4M contract, but is only guaranteed $1.75M; if he doesn’t make the final roster, Seattle ‘saves’ $2.25M
  • Geno Smith signed a 3-year, $75M contract with incentive escalators that could push it to 3/$105M, but Seattle could decide to move on after this season and the total cost would only be $27.3M (aka about $5.1M less than the franchise tag would have cost).


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: Geno Smith is the undisputed starter this year which means anyone the Seahawks draft at QB is going to be sitting on the bench for at least a year, and it could be much longer if Geno proves that last year’s performance wasn’t a fluke.

Running Back

Current roster:

  • Kenneth Walker III (2022 R2, #41 overall) - age 23 season
  • DeeJay Dallas (2020 R4, #144 overall) - age 25
  • Darwin Thompson (signed to Futures contract) - age 26


Argument FOR this being a ‘need’: Seattle has traditionally employed a strong 1-2 punch at running back under the current regime and this year’s current 1-2 punch does not measure up.

  • 2010 + 2011: Marshawn Lynch, plus Justin Forsett + Leon Washington
  • 2012-2014: Marshawn Lynch, plus Robert Turbin + Leon Washington (2012) or Christine Michael (2013-2014)
  • 2015: Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls, plus Christine Michael
  • 2016: Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael (only 9 games each), plus C.J. Prosise (6 games)
  • 2017: Russell Wilson led the team in rushing; ‘nuf said
  • 2018: Chris Carson, with Mike Davis + Rashaad Penny behind him
  • 2019-2021: Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny (didn’t always work out due to injuries)
  • 2022: Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III
  • 2023: Kenneth Walker III and (mystery RB), with DeeJay Dallas + Darwin Thompson (maybe) behind them

Bottom line: RB2 is a HUGE need and Seattle might be better served by finding a back that can challenge K9 for the RB1 role.


Argument AGAINST this being a ‘need’: Seattle only has three running backs on their roster right now and one of them is on a ‘Futures’ contract. There is no argument for running back not being a NEED; the only question is how to approach the position and what quality of running backs (plural) the Seahawks should be targeting.

FTR’s 2¢

I genuinely believe that the Seahawks are closer to having a top-3 (at worst, top-5) offense in 2023 (and beyond) than they are to having a top-20 defense. Because of this belief, I would be extremely tempted to use three or four of Seattle’s first five picks on offensive upgrades and weapons.

Look at it this way: For as much as the defense struggled last season, the Seahawks could have (possibly/probably) won several more games if the offense was substantially better on 3rd down and in the red zone.

More high-end weapons + upgrades on the O-line would make a HUGE difference.

Go Hawks!