I really like this years receiver class.
The need for a big wide out kind of goes hand-in-hand with what’s available. Mike Evans, Brandon Coleman, Kelvin Benjamin. It’s a good year to want a pure #1 receiver.
Yet there’s another thought I can’t get out of my head.
Wouldn’t it make sense to continue to add to this defense, with the intention of making it even better?
The performance against Denver will go down as one of the best in Super Bowl history, mainly due to the way Seattle shut down such a prolific offense.
But I get the feeling this defense hasn’t even peaked yet.
And with one or two further additions they could get even better.
Here’s the argument for going defense in round one this year.
1. The defense is the identity
It feels like the Legion of Boom isn’t just about four guys any more, or even just the secondary unit.
It’s the whole team.
They hit Peyton Manning, they hit the receivers and running backs. They all laid the boom in the Super Bowl.
In 10-15 years time there’s every chance people will still be talking about Seattle’s ‘L.O.B.’. Even if they don’t win another title, they left a mark last Sunday.
Keeping the defense at the forefront of what Seattle is about could keep this franchise right at the top.
2. The current pass rush isn’t tied up
There’s actually a fair amount of short termism about the defensive line.
Michael Bennett is a free agent this year. So is Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald.
Cliff Avril’s contract only runs through 2014. Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane won’t be around forever, while Chris Clemons could be a cap casualty this off-season.
The entire pass rush could look totally different in two seasons time.
Throwing a cheap, late first round talent into the mix who’s guaranteed to be here for at least four years might not be such a bad idea.
In fact it could be an absolute necessity.
3. The offense is already pretty good
Amid all the media noise of ‘mediocrity’, it’s easy to forget Seattle’s offense ranked #7 in DVOA in 2013.
Owning a top-ten unit with this defense basically means Championship football.
If they re-sign Golden Tate and tender Doug Baldwin, they’ll essentially be keeping the same group of receivers that won a Super Bowl.
The running game isn’t going anywhere, even if we’re looking at maybe only another year or two out of Marshawn Lynch at his very best.
They’ve already started to make contingency plans there by drafting Christine Michael and he might see more time with Robert Turbin next season.
Russell Wilson is only going to keep getting better.
It’s not like Seattle has to desperately upgrade the offense this off-season.
4. Percy time
There’s no guarantee Percy Harvin will be fully healthy in 2014, but this team made a significant investment in him a year ago.
Clearly they believe over the long term he can take this offense to another level.
And he can, if he’s on the field.
Harvin’s presence alone will be significant. He’s a big-time X-Factor and one of the game’s truly elite players when he’s out there.
The fact he didn’t feature much at all in 2013 almost makes him a new addition for next season.
Harvin, Tate, Baldwin, Kearse and Lockette.
Looks good to me, however much I’d like to add an Evans, Coleman or Benjamin to the group.
5. Is LEO a need?
Avril has one more year. Clemons could be a goner. Benson Mayowa is still a bit of an unknown.
Bruce Irvin, once touted as the “ideal LEO” by Pete Carroll, has now made a permanent switch to linebacker.
This could be a long term need for the Seahawks.
Aside from that, you can never have too many pass rushers.
This might be a good time to add another edge player. They wouldn’t be under too much pressure to have an instant impact.
And Seattle needs to save some money somewhere, because it might be difficult to re-sign Avril in a year.
6. The NFC West aint going anywhere
This division really is scary when it comes to defense.
The Rams have their two fierce edge rushers in Chris Long and Robert Quinn.
The Cardinals had the second best unit in the league according to DVOA and leaned on their defense to win in Seattle.
The 49ers have a loaded front seven and enough picks in the upcoming draft to improve their secondary.
At the same time all three teams have some issues on offense.
St. Louis is still hoping Sam Bradford can be the answer.
Arizona is going to be starting Carson Palmer again next season, in is 35th year after throwing 22 interceptions in 2013.
And the Niners have to be hoping Colin Kaepernick continues to develop as a passer, to go with his electrifying athletic qualities.
It’s basically a division where defense is king.
As much as we want to believe adding another receiver or offensive lineman to Seattle’s roster will help, I’m not sure you’ll ever have it easy against these teams.
It’s a war of attrition in the west, based around great defense.
Keeping the Legion of Boom at the top of the pack could be vital going forward.
Of course, there are counters to this debate as well. The obvious one being the only way to combat these great defenses is to keep giving more weapons to Russell Wilson or improving the offensive line.
Despite my preference to mock a receiver to Seattle in recent weeks, I firmly believe continuing to stockpile defensive lineman would also be a good idea.
If the Seahawks pass on a big receiver at #32 or even with their first two picks — I wouldn’t bat an eye lid.
Especially if they continue to pump up the defense.
At the combine we should be looking at tall defensive lineman with length and long arms. Speed helps, but probably isn’t vital if we’re talking interior guys.
I wouldn’t rule out a player like Aaron Donald either, who really jump off the tape even if he lacks ideal size.
With the LEO prospects speed matters much more, but length is also important. Hand-use is also a crucial and underrated aspect — just look at the way Avril turned on the bull rush in the post season to great effect.
Aside from the players I’ve already spent considerable time on (Brent Urban, Ra-Shede Hageman) I intend to take a closer look at Jeremiah Attaochu, Kony Ealy, Stephon Tuitt (who’s never really impressed me so far) and a few others before the combine.
It’s not a great class for defensive lineman by any means, but there are some interesting options for Seattle. I’m particularly high on Virginia’s Urban and I like the upside of Hageman.