Seahawks’ draft needs: Running game and D-line

December 1st, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Seattle’s run defense has regressed in 2016

1. Running game

The Seahawks are 27th in the league with 978 rushing yards. They’re averaging 3.7 YPA and 87.8 YPG.

Last season Seattle had the third most productive running attack (2268 yards), averaging 4.5 YPA and 141.8 YPG.

This is a huge, unexpected regression.

Clearly Russell Wilson’s immobility has had an impact here. He’s never had less than 489 yards in a season and last year, during his best ever passing campaign, he still managed 553 yards. He currently has 159 at an average of 3.4 YPC. He’ll do well to top 300 yards for the year.

Losing Wilson’s threat to run discombobulated the offense and that cannot be underestimated. It’s still concerning they weren’t able to run productively with Wilson hampered. You shouldn’t be relying on that one aspect to prop up your preferred offensive identity. It suggests they’re highly susceptible without Wilson at 100% mobility. They can ill-afford to endure such damaging results every time a quarterback as active as Wilson picks up an injury.

The Seahawks’ general rushing attack hasn’t been this bad since it ranked last in the league in 2010. Their inability to run in 2010 provoked the Marshawn Lynch trade and Seattle spent their first two picks in the 2011 draft on run-blocking offensive linemen.

They could be similarly aggressive in the upcoming off-season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they look to rectify this situation with additions to the offensive line and/or running back.

Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise are clearly very talented but so far neither has shown they can stay healthy. Do the Seahawks lack a bell-cow physical runner to compliment the two more athletic/explosive backs?

Do they also need to keep adding pieces to the offensive line? We’ve talked about Utah’s Garett Bolles and how he might be an ideal acquisition for either the left or right tackle position. There won’t be a ton of options in what looks to be a poor draft for offensive linemen.

It seems inevitable that they’ll be active in improving the run game unless there’s a major upturn in performance over the next few weeks.

2. Interior pass rush

In 2013 and 2014 the Seahawks were able to rely on at least one player to provide pressure and production at defensive tackle. In 2015 and 2016, that production has practically disappeared.

2013: Clinton McDonald — 6.5 sacks
2014: Jordan Hill — 6.5 sacks
2015: Jordan Hill — 0 sacks
2016: McDaniel/Rubin/Reed/Jefferson combined: 1.5 sacks

In fairness the EDGE pass rush has never been so productive during the Carroll era. Cliff Avril has 10 sacks (one short of equalling a career high), Frank Clark is already at 7.5 sacks and Michael Bennett, despite missing a few games, also has three sacks.

Yet it was quite telling that Carroll referenced trying to find an interior rush when they concluded the signing of John Jenkins — despite his physical appearance screaming ‘nose tackle’.

The Seahawks don’t necessarily need an Aaron Donald. A 10-sack interior presence in the mould of Donald or Ndamukong Suh isn’t a realistic target without a top-15 pick. They just need someone who can fill that 6.5 sack hole vacated by McDonald and Hill in 2013-14.

Quinton Jefferson might’ve developed into that man before he landed on injured reserve. Jordan Hill was cut after another injury during the summer. The question is now — do they take a chance on Jefferson in 2017 or do they go out and seek another body to try and fill this need?

It could be a pure defensive tackle like Florida State’s Derrick Nnadi. He has underrated talent as a pass rusher, a nice thick, powerful, explosive 6-1/312lbs frame and could be the answer. They might also fill the need with another inside/out rusher — someone capable of playing end in base and kicking inside when needed.

The upcoming draft looks set to be well stocked on the D-line and could provide a solution.

3. Run defense

One of the lesser talked about regressions in Seattle is the run defense. Last year the Seahawks didn’t give up a single 100-yard rusher during the regular season. They also led the league in total run defense.

Look at the difference over the years:

Total run defense (ranking in brackets)

2014: 1304 yards (#3)
2015: 1304 yards (#1)
2016: 1102 yards in 11 games (#14)

Yards per game (ranking in brackets)

2014: 81.5 (#3)
2015: 81.5 (#1)
2016: 100.2 (#14)

You could put it down to the loss of Brandon Mebane although the 2014 Seahawks coped without Mebane after he landed on injured reserved before week 11.

For whatever reason this defense has only done an average job overall against the run. And it’s not like the numbers are influenced by freaky Russell Wilson-esque QB gains. Here’s the list of QB’s they’ve faced this year and their running totals vs Seattle:

Ryan Tannehill: 17 yards
Case Keenum: 5 yards
Blaine Gabbert: 22 yards
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 5 yards
Matt Ryan: 2 yards
Carson Palmer: 8 yards
Drew Brees: 1 yard
Tyrod Taylor: 43 yards
Tom Brady: 7 yards
Carson Wentz: 2 yards
Jameis Winston: 12 yards

Adding to the intrigue is the way Seattle hasn’t given up many ‘explosive’ plays in the run game. They actually rank #3 in the NFL for limiting runs of +10 yards:

1. Baltimore — 17
2. New York Giants — 21
3. Seattle — 22
4. Green Bay — 22
5. Carolina — 25

However, their ‘stuff percentage’ (defined as the percentage of rushes stopped behind the LOS) is only #18 in the NFL at 8.9%. The Dallas Cowboys are stuffing 16.5% of runs on defense, Los Angeles are managing 15% and Green Bay 14.8%.

This seems to be a D-line issue and not a second level problem.

Based on my amateur eye test, I wouldn’t suggest Athyba Rubin, Jarran Reed and Tony McDaniel have played poorly. Yet perhaps needs two and three in this piece mesh together. Do they need a penetrating interior disruptor who not only impacts the passing game but also collapses the pocket and gets into the backfield to impact the running game too?

How often do you see Rubin, Reed or McDaniel pull off a dynamic swim/rip and force the RB to stall and adjust? How often are Seattle’s D-line tackling the runner at the LOS and not in the backfield?

How much is it down to a desire to focus on gap control, sound discipline and prevention of the big play versus being able to go out and actually make the big play as a Seahawks defensive tackle?

According to Sporting Charts, Seattle’s interior defensive linemen have contributed three TFL’s in total. For arguments sake, here’s the top performing DT’s in the league for TFL’s:

Aaron Donald — 15
Geno Atkins — 9
Kawann Short — 8
Timmy Jernigan — 8
Calais Campbell — 8
Kyle Williams — 8
Malik Jackson — 7

Aaron Donald, admittedly a truly elite player in the league, has 12 more TFL’s than Seattle’s collection of DT’s combined. Kyle Williams in Buffalo has personally accumulated five more than Seattle’s group.

It might not be a coincidence that Timmy Jernigan has eight TFL’s and Baltimore currently leads the NFL in run defense.

For the Seahawks to get back to being one of the best run defenses in the NFL — they probably need an impact player working the interior. Someone capable of getting 8-10 TFL’s in the way Jernigan has for the Ravens this year.

Two of the players named above — Calais Campbell and Kawann Short — are free agents at the end of the season. Are they too expensive for Seattle? Do they even reach the open market? Possibly not.

This is one of the reasons why a player like Derrick Nnadi might be intriguing. He has 9.5 TFL’s this year to go with his 5.5 sacks. He looks better, at least in my opinion, than Timmy Jernigan looked at FSU.

Again, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pure DT. Demarcus Walker is an inside/out type of rusher and he has 16.5 TFL’s this season. Takk McKinley has 18 TFL’s. Solomon Thomas has 13. All three have the size and range to potentially play DE/DT.

If you want a list of the top performing players for TFL in college football, here you go. Note the national leader — Temple’s Haason Reddick — possibly an ideal candidate for the Seahawks to play SAM/LEO if he’s available in the round three range.

Other needs?

I’ve seen people suggesting receiver, SAM linebacker and cornerback recently. I think receiver would be an ideal ‘luxury’ pick if this was either a particularly good draft for WR’s (it isn’t) or the Seahawks didn’t have more striking needs elsewhere.

Fixing the run offense, run defense and finding an interior pass rush are critical needs for future success and for the core identity of the team. These have to take precedence over getting an upgrade over contracted players like Jermaine Kearse or Paul Richardson.

Basically you can live with Kearse and Richardson complimenting Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett. I’m not sure you can live with the current running game or D-line performance.

The SAM position is basically a two-down role. The Seahawks keep K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner on the field in any scenario and prefer to use an extra defensive back or pass rusher on key downs. Unless the player you’re drafting is a Bruce Irvin-style athlete capable of playing SAM and LEO, this is unlikely to be an area the Seahawks attack. It’s why Haason Reddick might be so appealing in the middle rounds.

Cornerback is also a slightly overrated option. The Seahawks have club control over DeShawn Shead in 2017 and they just re-signed Jeremy Lane to a decent contract. Corner hasn’t been a problem area short of a couple of iffy games for Lane and they prefer to develop players who fit a specific body type. It would be a bit of a surprise if the CB position wasn’t given, at best, the round 5-7 treatment in 2017.

If there is one other position they might focus on it could be safety. Not for any particular reason other than this is looking like a superb class for safety’s and they might wish to tap into the goodness. As noted this week, Shalom Luani’s backstory and fight to make a career out of football screams Seahawks. He could be their guy.

124 Responses to “Seahawks’ draft needs: Running game and D-line”

  1. CA says:

    OT, DT, DE, WR, Sam LB, OT again in no particular order should be the first draft positions. Based on value and who drops to us.

  2. Rory says:

    I could be mistaken, but wasn’t the run defense near the top of the league before Bennett got hurt?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Rushing yards per game without Bennett:

      Buffalo: 162
      New England: 81
      Philly: 113
      Tampa Bay: 118

      That’s an average of 118.5 YPG without Bennett and the season average is 100.2 YPG.

      That would suggest his absence has quite possibly had an impact, however — it might also be coincidental that he missed the one week when Seattle faced a quality scrambling QB. Would Bennett have stopped Tyrod Taylor padding Buffalo’s numbers? Not sure.

      The other three games provide an average of 78 YPG which is actually lower than their season average of 100.2 YPG. So Buffalo aside you could argue his absence hasn’t had that much of a major impact.

      It also doesn’t excuse the strikingly low number of TFL’s by the DT’s and it possibly doesn’t justify the middling stuff percentage.

      • JT says:

        I think the Buffalo game struggles were due to the double-whammy absence of both Moses & Kam that week. See my comment below…

  3. JT says:

    I think you’ve nailed it Rob. I couldn’t agree with you more about the level importance for virtually all of these needs. CB & SAM needs are overstated, and WR & Safety would be luxury choices that they could go after in the middle/late rounds.

  4. JT says:

    OT, interior rusher, and RB are probably the top 3 needs, in that order.

    I think the run defense “issues” will be somewhat rectified starting this week with the return of Bennett, to go with the (hopefully) continued health of Kam. They are easily the Hawks’s best run defenders on the DL and secondary, respectively.

    In the 4 games where both Bennett and Kam have been healthy (which were the pre-bye games), the team gave up 80.3 rush yards per game on only 3.3 yards per carry.

    That said, an impact DT who can penetrate against both the run and pass would be huuugge.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It will be good to see if the run defense improves with a fully healthy defense. I want to believe that is merely just the reason for the regression. However, three TFL’s from the combined group of DT’s just isn’t enough IMO and speaks to a greater problem.

      • RealRhino2 says:

        Agree, Rob. I know the TB game was just a lost weekend all around, so to speak, but the one thing I was struck by visually at the outset was that the DL was getting moved off the LOS. I’ve felt that way several times this year. Not looking at individual guys, just taking a bird’s eye view, you can see the OL “resetting” the LOS 2-3 yards downfield. Particularly evident on stretch plays where first contact is being made 4-6 yards downfield, perhaps leading to that conundrum you mentioned: not stuffing the run, but also not giving up huge plays. We tackle well once we get there, but getting there within the first 3 yards is the problem.

    • matt says:

      “I think the run defense “issues” will be somewhat rectified starting this week with the return of Bennett, to go with the (hopefully) continued health of Kam. They are easily the Hawks’s best run defenders on the DL and secondary, respectively.”

      Agree completely. Getting Morgan and Moore back won’t hurt the defense either. Let’s not overlook that Seattle is leading the league in points given up for a 5th straight year.

  5. JT says:

    Yup, that’s the issue with the DT’s we have. They’re stout and disciplined with their gap integrity, but offer very little up-field penetration. A DT who can do that in both the run game and rushing the passer would take this Defense to another level.

  6. Kenny Sloth says:

    I think they could go safety or wide receiver early.

    It really depends on how they view jarran Reed and what his best position is on the d-line. The thought when he was brought in was that he would replace Brandon, but to my eye he would make a better 3-technique. He really reminds me of a carbon copy Ahtyba Rubin.

    I think we should target a bowling ball 1tech.

    Rob, how do you view Jaleel Johnson over at Iowa?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ve not had a chance to watch Johnson much other than the Michigan game (didn’t focus on him TBF). Will check him out now.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        1:50 into his Iowa State 16 tape he gets the most vicious long arm move sack.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Just watched that game on DB. Liked that play, liked his ability to generally control the POA. Strong dude. Imagine he’ll be tough in the run game at the next level. That said, would’ve liked to see any evidence of a swim/rip, would’ve liked to have seen a bit more get-off and knifing his gaps. He lingered on a few blocks too long and on one play he was sent to the turf. I see he has 10 TFL’s and 7.5 sacks this year so intrigued to see a bit more. Wish they had his two-sack game vs Wisconsin.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            Same, yeah we’re seeing the same stuff.

            I wish he had better hand use, but obviously the upside is there.

            You see pass rush evidence, and some stout run defense. You want him to be a little more consistent in all facets

            Is this guy going to hold up to elite double teams at the next level?

    • RealRhino2 says:

      The depth of the draft may lead to us getting a luxury pick. Depends how it falls. Some GMs might think they need to get in there and grab an edge rusher or DT because there will be a run, and though there are several that are good, they want the pick of the litter (in their eyes). Others might go for scarcity over BPA. In the former case, it just might be that teams keep passing over the WR1 (Mike Williams? Corey Davis?).

      • Rob Staton says:

        When the Seahawks have had striking needs (and I believe the needs highlighted in this piece are significant) they have relentlessly pursued those needs without fail.

        I cannot envisage a luxury R1 pick in 2017 unless something significant changes in the last five weeks + playoffs.

  7. Trevor says:

    Another great write-up Rob with awesome info and insight.

    I agree completely about the needs and think it must be driving Pete nuts that we have no run game. It has resulted in the Defense playing way too many snaps this season as well. This increase in time on the field has to be one of the reasons for the increase in injuries.

    I personally am all in on Bolles in Rd #1 if he is there and Nnadi is my dream pick in Rd #2 and if he does not light up the combine might realistic be there in that range IMO. He he shines at the combine then perhaps not. Not sure if you have mentioned it but do you know Nnadis arm length?

    Rob what are your thoughts on bringing Breno back this off season as a veteran presence for our young OL and bring some of that grit and Bully back to our OL? All indications are that he will be on the market.

  8. C-Dog says:

    Rob, not to be contrarian about adding DT, but I ALWAYS want to add DL early, could it be that the lack of DT TFLs might be contributed to teams finding better success in their run games attacking the perimeter more than inside?

    It feels to my eye this has been a theme for a number of weeks now. While there has been some success inside, here and there, when teams run inside on Reed, Rubin and McDaniel, it more often gets gummed up, but without Bennett and being razor thin at SAM, bouncing outside seems an effective way to attack this defense.

    Would love to add a player like Nnadi because it can settle up in interior for a long time, and maybe make the area of the defense special, but I kinda think Reddick or McKinnley could go a long way to what the doctor ordered as well.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think the stuff percentage (Seattle ranking #18) and the lack of explosive plays (ranked #3) suggests it’s not a perimeter issue. If players were getting to the perimeter easily you’d expect maybe a few more runs of +10 yards and if they were getting stuffed up the middle you’d expect better numbers there.

      For me it looks like teams are having success getting 3-4 yards up the gut more than they have in the past, affording easier 2nd and 3rd down opportunities. The lack of TFL’s from the DT’s and sacks too would indicate Seattle is lacking something in the middle.

      • C-Dog says:

        Jarran Reed, for me, seems to have flashed some each game, few nice stops here and there, and showing some disruption as it seems they are rotating him in more on rush downs, and it’s his 1/5 sacks in the law firm of McDaniel, Rubin & Reed. Which is kinda why I have been encouraged, not too concerned that he hasn’t set the world on fire yet because he’s a rookie, it takes most DL’s time, and his ceiling is probably more Solid than Superstar anyways. However, Pro Football Focus has been down on him as I found the other day on this write up.

        http://seahawkswire.usatoday.com/2016/11/29/6-seahawks-who-need-to-step-their-game-up/

        The piece is about 6 Seahawks who need to step up their game, Reed being #2, Richard Sherman being #1 for what it’s worth. I know you are not a PFF fan, but here’s this writer’s salient take:

        “One concern about Reed after the draft was his size relative to pro offensive linemen. Reed may be 6’3″ and 311 pounds but too often he has been swallowed up by larger linemen, particularly on run plays. Pro Football Focus has Reed rated just 44.3 in run defense and 42.9 overall, which ranks No. 101 at his position.”

        I haven’t particularly seen him swallowed, but to my eyes, he looks more effective in the B Gap than between guard and center.

        As we know, Brandon Mebane was a special player at the nose. When PC got here, he already had Bane in his prime, as I remember, they toyed with trying him a 3 tech, but after a while, decided he would be more special at nose, and built the DL around him, and extended his contract. Fast forward now, PC has been kind of evasive in the past when answering whether or not Reed is their nose tackle, he just said that he can play both, he’s a DT.

        Long winded way around this, but is this team simply without a pure NT on the roster, or without a player capable of being what Mebane was? That guy to get the leverage, tie up blockers, walk the center backwards, open up opportunities, TFLs, sacks for others?

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          God, I hate PFF

          “He’s a 48 and a 42″. He is the 122nd”

          • C-Dog says:

            Definitely take PFF with a big grain of salt. Two years ago RW had a massive game in Philly running I think for 100 yards and passing for 300, 3 TDs, total sandlot, and PFF gave him a lousy grade. They kinda lost me then and there

    • Ukhawk says:

      Couldn’t agree more, read my mind

      • Ukhawk says:

        To my eye they are giving up more explosive plays on the edge. Think some advanced stats would back this up. The injuries have played a big role in this in terms of missing Irvin/Morgan and Bennett on the other side. Not saying the middle isn’t an issue but rather its compounded by the edge issues

        • C-Dog says:

          Yeah, I think we are seeing the same thing. I’ve noticed this throughout the season, but more so recently against the Bills, Patriots, Eagles, and last Sunday against the Bucs, all games without Bennett, and mostly all without Chancellor. Against the Patriots, Blount was having a game running outside, and he’s not known as a bounce it outside runner, but when they were going inside, I think the DTs were cowboying up pretty well, and Reed was terrific on that one goal line stance at the end.

          I think in terms of TFL, if seems are finding more success outside, the opportunities for the DTs to get those kind of tackles are going to be fairly limited. I did notice against the Bucs though, the big boys getting pushed back some in the first quarter of play which was pretty frustrating, honestly, but they adjusted and played better.

          Far be it for me to be an expert, but it seems line previous years, offenses had very little success running outside on this team, the linebackers where too fast strong and athletic. This year feels different, and it feels magnified with Bennett being out.

  9. Ed says:

    I’m right there thinking RB and DL are very high needs. If Fant/Glow/Britt/Ifedi have 2016 under their belts as a unit, that really means a lot of continuity into 2017 will make the biggest difference. Would not like to use the 1st on the last part of line, that wouldn’t make a huge difference.

    Get a RB and 2 DL early and maybe K. Williams (love his effort)

    1st DT (Nandi/Vea)
    2nd DE (Charlton/Walker)
    3rd RB (Hood/Foreman/Perine)

  10. AlaskaHawk says:

    Seahawks have used so many different running backs this year. The results range from poor to barely acceptable, they just are not widely different with any of them. I’m blaming the offensive line on this one. They just haven’t jelled the way they have in past years. And for whatever reason the line has become incredibly cheap in both cost and draft picks. One first round pick , one end of second rounder who was widely regarded as being a 3-4 rounder, and the rest are all lower or undrafted free agents. I’m all for saving a buck but the Seahawks offensive line is at a long term low. I’m hoping the line will improve but the reality is that the Seahawks average offense will face a really good defensive line 4-6 times a season.

    Based on that, I think they need to go after two offensive linemen in the first three rounds. I wouldn’t worry about getting another running back until the line improves.

    • Rob Staton says:

      With respect Alaska, you’ve been saying they should spend every first round pick on the offensive line in this comments section for years, while never truly acknowledging just how much they’ve invested in the unit.

      It’s obvious and clear why the offensive line has become cheap in terms of cost. There is a league wide pandemic when it comes to offensive linemen. The Seahawks, somewhat forcing the issue, have pumped picks into their line. They spent two first round picks in 2010 and 2011 on the OL. They spent a third rounder in 2011, a second rounder in 2014. They acquired further young OL’s and tried to develop them. They have always sought to invest in the OL. And since 2012 they’ve never been in a position to get after the truly exceptional college talent because they’ve been too successful and have picked in the 20’s or 30’s.

      Sadly, some of those players (while offering decent service) were not worthy of the big bucks unlike your Sherman’s, Thomas’, Bennett’s, Wagner’s, Avril’s etc. For example, nobody in their right mind would wish to pay JR Sweezy $6m a year when Bennett and Avril are only earning $7.2m. With the cap tightening they’ve had to be selective. And the simple fact is your Okung’s, Breno’s, Sweezy’s, Unger’s etc were serviceable but not core, elite players.

      Seattle’s approach is to spend the money on the top players they possess, not just throw money at the O-line for the sake of it. That’s a sure fire way to lose your better players. It means, not ideally, they are now in the middle of an OL rebuild.

      And that rebuild meant spending their single greatest asset — the 2016 first round pick — on an offensive lineman. So it’s wrong to chastise the team for not investing in the OL. They have spent more draft stock on the OL over the years than any other position. What was the alternative to this? Spend money they didn’t have on bang average veteran O-liners instead? Field an entire line of Bradley Sowell types on bigger money for the sake of not owning the cheapest line in the league? Pay Sweezy the $6m he wanted and Okung the $8-9m he wanted and cut a couple of your better veterans? It doesn’t add up.

      And by all means call Britt ‘regarded as a 3-4 rounder’ but the fact is he’s a second rounder and playing like it this year.

      They may well invest in the OL again in 2017. But a lot of your points about a lack of spending or dedication to the OL are wide of the mark.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Your right if you look at the offensive line from a historic view from when Pete Carrol started. My point is that the current line doesn’t have a lot of draft capital invested in it till last year when they picked Ifedi. And I’m not suggesting they have to go first round. I just think more picks in the high rounds would help things. If they can get the sort of value that they did with Reed on defense then I’m all for it.

        Deep down I really wish that Fant, Gilliam and Sowell could be starters. It’s just with the way the players are rotating it is hard to see a positive long term outcome. Even Britt is on his third position, yet I still have hopes for him.

        My main point is that until the offensive line performs well- picking more running backs will not pay off.

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          More picks in the high rounds didn’t help our cornerbacks.

          The reason a player like Reed slid is because of the tons of talent at his position and a LOT of OL going early last year.

          They have multiple recent draft picks playing on their line and several bargain pickups performing serviceably.

          It is what it is.

          Let’s be realistic, they haven’t avoided OL just to spite the fans.

          They let injury prone veterans walk. They’re betting on their development like they do at every other position.
          The clay is just a different consistency at that position

        • Rob Staton says:

          I really don’t agree here Alaska. First of all they have a first rounder, a second rounder and a fourth rounder starting with a free agent signing playing right tackle. It’s possible a third round pick could be playing LT too if Fant doesn’t pick it up after last week. I’m not really sure what you expect considering the line was in rebuild mode this year. They’ve spent as much as they realistically could on the line in 2016, having previously spent more high picks on the OL than any other unit. It’s simply not right to critique their lack of spending in terms of draft stock on the OL.

          As for running backs not paying off — you’ve complained about the OL since the Carroll era began in fairness. Didn’t a running back mask some of their issues by the name of a certain Marshawn Lynch? It might be hard to recreate that situation without Lynch specifically, but that’s a direct example and counter to your point that a RB cannot succeed in this offense without over spending on the OL.

  11. red says:

    Hey Rob

    You think we 2nd RD Tender Thorpe?

    If so I don’t think we need to draft a CB also have some IR CB coming into ERFA for training camp depth. Also thoughts on Steven Terrell as a RFA? Any mid round FS/SS catch your eye?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not sure to be honest. I suspect they’d like to keep him so maybe. Ditto Terrell.

      This is a loaded safety class. Luani is one to monitor but there are others.

  12. Kenny Sloth says:

    Ok, not to be contrarian, but why does Dalvin Cook look like the fifth or sixth best running back in this class?

    I only have two first round grades on RB’s, and I’m not even sure they will both go in the first.

    Also thoughts on Wayne Gallman?
    He reminds me a lot of Nick Chubb. He’s a fighter, but not a bruiser really

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not crazy about Gallman. Disappears in too many games. Has a few highlights in his career but his overall body of work is a bit meh.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        He’s very slight of build, isn’t he? Kind of wriggles free of tackles instead of breaking them.

    • Trevor says:

      Who are the 5 RBs better than Cook in this class? I think he is going to be a solid 3 down back in the NFL with home run threat on every carry. He is not Zeke or Fournette but I don’t see 5 better backs in this class. If there are then we should be able to get a great RB in round #2 or 3

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        We should.

        I’d put Fournette, McCaffrey, Mixon, Hood in the top tier

        Then Chubb, Foreman, Freeman, Cook in some order

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          And I haven’t seen Matt Dayes of NCSU yet

          Jamaal Williams and Samaje Perine and Gallman are decent projects too

          • C-Dog says:

            I watched a NCSU game earlier this year, I think they might have been playing Clemson. NCSU’s defense was keeping them in the game, and it looked like Dayes was the best thing going on for them offensively. Hit the holes for some nice runs, and took a couple swing passes for nice gains. Since they didn’t have a lot of other things going on against a dominant opponent, I thought he showed some stuff.

        • Trevor says:

          Kenny I like Mixon, Mcaffery and Hood but I strongly believe Cook will be the 2nd RB off the board and deservedly so. If he is there for the Hawks he would be a steal IMO.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            A running back is a steal in the first? Not on your life.

            They flex him out wide and he runs shitty routes and drops passes.

            He has good feet and vision. Lowers shoulder.

            • Trevor says:

              I never meant in Rd #1 he is the 6th RB off the board as you claim he will be available at the end of Rd #2.

        • icb12 says:

          I have it pretty much the same.

          Fournette, McCaffrey, Mixon, Cook

          Freeman, Foreman, Chubb, Hood, McNichols

          Williams, Perine, Hill, Enwere, Hunt, Dayes

          This third grouping ^^ is interesting. Guys less gifted athletically than the others, but their mentality and style are all similar. Tough, physical, grinders. Something I didn’t even realize until I put them in groups like this.

    • Tim says:

      What are your thoughts on NDSU’s King Frazier? He’s not an elite athlete. But you did say Seahawks “lack a bell-cow physical runner to compliment the two more athletic/explosive backs”. He stats show he can carry the rock game in and out. He’s got nice size at 5-11, 212lbs. Hopefully he would test well in his 40 time. Nothing wow but could be spell Rawls at times. We don’t necessarily draft him though

  13. DC says:

    Not knowing who is going to declare for the draft or how they will test leaves a lot of mystery at this point. Also we don’t know where our comp picks will be.

    If we stay in the 1st round I would hope for Solomon Thomas or DeMarcus Walker. If they are gone then consider a trade down and look at Derrick Nnadi, Taco Charleton, Daeshon Hall, Vita Vea.

    I’ll take your guys word for it on Haason Reddick because he can rush the passer and take him either with our 2nd pick or trade down and then take him if possible.

    Now onto the running game. I’ll assume 2 3rd round picks with the Irvin comp. With one of them I’m selecting USC LG Damien Mama. He comes with weight concerns. I know nothing about his WTEF or his backstory. What I do see is a massive man who consistently moves DTs 2-3 yards off the LOS on running plays, can pull and move surprisingly well and looks adequate in pass protection.

    With the other 2017 3rd round pick and a 2018 3rd round pick I’m trading to Cleveland for LT Joe Thomas. I know everyone has their own opinion. For some he’s too old for the Seahawks to trade for and for others he is too critical to the Browns ongoing campaign to remain the worst franchise in football. For me I just want to win next year’s Super Bowl without mortgaging the future too bad. Is this too much to give awau for Seattle? Is it not enough for the Browns? No way to know. Anyway, this OL and DL are going to get the job done.

    LT Thomas
    LG Mama
    C Britt
    RG Glowinski
    RT Ifedi

    Or whatever combination works best.

    • DC says:

      Or if Fant just proves to be a stud that would make life much simpler…

      • JT says:

        Not on the Thomas trade bandwagon… but thinking there’s any sort of realistic chance Fant “proves to be a stud” is the worst form of Hawks fan bias/optimism I’ve seen. There’s a better chance he’s been cut by this time next year than become even a solid starting LT, let alone a stud LT.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Maybe it isn’t likely — but I don’t think it’s the worst form of fan bias to believe there’s a chance this clear stud athlete could develop into something. That’s a little bit harsh. I think it’s impossible to judge either way at this time but I wouldn’t hold it against people for believing in Fant. He was poor against Tampa Bay but looked pretty good against Philly and NE. And being pretty good after playing no college football and being thrown into the deep end is testament to his potential.

          • JT says:

            “Worst form” was a poor choice of words – I can appreciate optimism in the players & coaches after the incredible run Seattle’s been on for 5 seasons now.

            However, many Hawks fan could use a dose of harsh reality when it comes to Fant and the O-Line struggles in general. We grade our OL’s on such a curve to justify the “potential” of guys like Fant, Ifedi, Gilliam, etc. Fant was not horrendous against Philly & TBay, but the Hawks were still subject to pressure from his side way too often in those games – no where near “pretty good.” His performance against the Bucs was straight Clemmings-like. If not for TJ Clemmings, he’d probably be the worst starting LT in the NFL. I think it’s highly wishful thinking to hope he can develop into a quality tackle, despite being a great athlete.

            The Hawks starting 5 of Fant, Glow, Britt, Ifedi & Gilliam is probably the most athletic/SPARQ’d up/TEF’d offensive line in the NFL, yet it’s among the league’s worst. I can’t say enough good things about Britt, and Glow has performed adequately, but the other 3 positions have been a disaster. The Fant/Sowell/Gilliam trio has been brutal on the edges, and Ifedi has been a concerning liability given the investment in him.

            For a team that preaches “Always Compete,” the decision to bench Gilliam instead of Fant last game was tough to swallow. I’d love to see Odhiambo given a shot at LT soon to see if he can provide even mediocre play at that spot, which would be a big upgrade over Sowell & Fant’s performances. I was pleasantly surprised with his technique & success in pass pro during his limited snaps against Philly.

            • Rob Staton says:

              “The Hawks starting 5 of Fant, Glow, Britt, Ifedi & Gilliam is probably the most athletic/SPARQ’d up/TEF’d offensive line in the NFL, yet it’s among the league’s worst.”

              It’s also among the leagues youngest — and that has to factor in. They’re trying to groom a good O-line and that will likely take time.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would describe the idea of being able to trade a late third rounder to the Browns for Joe Thomas as a ‘pipe dream’.

      Sorry to be so blunt with that response — but it’s about as likely as the Rams fielding a productive offense under Jeff Fisher.

      • DC says:

        Blunt is fine by me. It’s two 3rd round picks however, not one..

        Question. If you are the Browns what offer would you accept?
        If you are the Seahawks, what’s the highest you go?
        Do you believe the earlier rumor that Cleveland would have moved him for a 2nd round pick?

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’m just a bit tired of the Thomas talk DC. It’s lingered for two years now and nobody, not the Seahawks or anyone else, has traded for this guy. The idea that the Browns will suddenly start accepting late third rounders for him to me seems highly unlikely. Cleveland would be moving him for the sake of it and then trying to replace him in the worst draft for OT’s in years. They’re basically in a situation where no deal would be worth it to move him on. They might as well keep him.

          • DavidM2 says:

            Also, to add to your point Rob, hasn’t it been reported that Thomas himself doesn’t want to be traded? This article doesn’t quote Thomas directly saying he doesn’t want to be traded, but it certainly alludes heavily to him not wanting to.

            https://www.google.com/amp/www.si.com/nfl/2016/11/03/nfl-trade-deadline-joe-thomas-cleveland-browns%3Famp%3D1

            • Rob Staton says:

              I think even more telling was Hue Jackson’s firm, unflinching statement earlier this season that they wouldn’t trade Joe Thomas. Probably because nobody is willing to pay what they want to make it worth their while to move a future Hall of Famer.

              • D-OZ says:

                The Hawks are NOT going to take on that contract either, Plain & simple….

                  • DC says:

                    I get that you’re tired of it Rob and that it’s a longshot. Understand that this is the first time I’ve considered it because in the past I thought there was zero chance. Now at his age and as bad as the Browns are the door could be cracked open ever so slightly. So to me it’s fresh. I’ll let it be for your sake.

                    I expect the Browns to select Trubisky first overall when all is said and done. If they really wanted to they could probably draft OT Garett Bolles, OT Ryan Ramczyk AND OG Dorian Johnson. I only mention that as an example of the draft ammo they possess, not as a likely scenario. Their world will not end if JT goes elsewhere. Mathematically it cannot get any worse. And the contract isn’t a deal breaker imo.

                    He’ll probably end up on the Patriots for a 4th round pick… Sarcasm

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    “I expect the Browns to select Trubisky first overall when all is said and done.”

                    I’m just about to post a new mock with MT at #1.

  14. Nick says:

    Great Article.

  15. rowdy says:

    I think we should be planing on not resigning britt at this point and working with a rookie or league minimum center next year, I don’t see them going with hunt. At this point someone will pay him 6+ mil and the hawks probably wont. I think it will be just as big of a need as OT.

    • The Hawk is Howling says:

      Yeah I understand your thoughts on Britt rowdy. An extension wouldn’t probably happen until next year for Justin in fairness to see if he keeps it up anyway. I do believe though extending him if he’s deserving would be a good idea. We need to think about how our O-line would respond to a player being rewarded and extended. I believe it reassures that they are valued and will be compensated for their efforts. Just my thoughts.

      Go Hawks!

      • C-Dog says:

        Right now, I’d say he’s playing well enough to earn an extension. Smart player, tough guy, I think more athletic than Unger. Center seems like a natural fit for him. I’d pay $6 Mill on a healthy consistent Justin Britt captaining the OL.

        • rowdy says:

          I would to but I also think it will be more then that. I also think the hawks are more then okay rolling with low cost players on the line and deal with the issues they have/had. At least that’s how they’ve done it to this point.

          • C-Dog says:

            But they extended Max Unger when his switch to center paid off for the team, so there is precedent to extend Britt.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think they’ll pay Britt. He’s played really, really well and has become the leader of the OL.

      • D-OZ says:

        Ditto…

      • Trevor says:

        I really hope so! Continuity is the key to an OL and I really think Britt has shown he is a piece that they can build around.

        • Sea Mode says:

          I agree. As it stands now, I think center is the one position they will shell out for to have consistency. (of course, if one of our tackles turned out elite, they would surely consider it as well…)

          Should be in the neighborhood of $6m/apy for Britt, which would put him on the cusp of the top-10 centers in pay. Well worth it IMO.

  16. The Hawk is Howling says:

    The only chance that we have to get Joe Thomas which would rule! Is they trade him out of respect for such a great player and future Hall of Famer, so he has a chance to win a Super Bowl. That is possible?

    Until that happens Rob has made his point about his thoughts on Joe Thomas to Seattle or anywhere else constantly on this blog. Let it be

    I’m really high on L. Colman Running back for UW. He should definitely be a target of our team. He’s shifty, fast, and very strong. Here’s to hoping!

    Go Hawks!

    • The Hawk is Howling says:

      *Lavon Coleman*

    • rowdy says:

      It would also require a pay cut. It won’t happen.

      • DC says:

        A pay cut for who?

        • The Hawk is Howling says:

          The Left Tackle we do not speak of, until he’s a Hawk in a bong dream! Ha ha

          What was I thinking?

          Oh yeah

          Go Hawks!

          • DC says:

            His $10M would fit comfortably within the $27M of cap space in 2017.

            And yes Hawk is Howling. If HE wanted to go somewhere else to experience winning I believe Cleveland’s FO might oblige. The man has earned it. He’s got 2 years left on his deal. He’ll be 34 when it ends and the Browns will still be far from a contender.

            I bring this up because Seattle’s FO leaves no stone unturned and it is possible, however unlikely. Did anyone think we were going to trade for Percy Harvin, sign Michael Bennett AND Cliff Avril all in short order? Did anyone see a trade for Jimmy Graham coming?

            JT IS attainable, there is no doubt. It’s just a matter of compensation and there has to be an overlap for that to happen. The reason I offer 2 3rd round picks is because at his age I wouldn’t go any higher. I have no idea what the FOs would offer/demand.

            I also hate trading high draft picks but I believe this offseason will put us back on top by next season’s end.

            • rowdy says:

              The Browns made it clear they want a first when he was on the trade block. They most likely will be bringing in a qb with a high pick and will want him to be protected. I think it will take a first to get him for that reason. Are cap is around 30 with Webb being cut
              JT would leave 20
              Rookies and ir reserves would leave around 13

              They could do it but I don’t think they would be comfortable with 13 mil for other FA and hypothetical extensions. My numbers could off though.

    • Ukhawk says:

      Totally agree, Coleman would be great. Would fill a depth need whilst freeing up draft capital in other areas

  17. The Hawk is Howling says:

    Cheers for the barrage of articles lately Rob! You rule and I value your insight greatly! Here we come with another bounce back game against the Panther’s Sunday night!

    Go Hawks

  18. Coleslaw says:

    1. Nnandi
    2. OL
    3.Reddick
    3. Hood/ Luani
    4 (trade back in first). Luani/ Hood
    I would be very pleased with this especially if a decent guard falls to us in the second.

  19. matt says:

    “Fixing the run offense, run defense and finding an interior pass rush are critical needs for future success and for the core identity of the team. These have to take precedence over getting an upgrade over contracted players like Jermaine Kearse or Paul Richardson.”

    I agree that the run game, specifically the OL, is still a big need. Bolles looks like a he’d be a great fit. What looks like a weak OL class might push him up out of range. We’ll see. This RB class should be loaded into the 3rd round though.

    You can never have too many pass rushers. Bennett and Clark’s inside pass rush skills leave me less concerned about position/size and more about traits and production. Players like; D. Walker, Charlton, Barnett, Harris, Thomas, Willis, C. Walker, Nnadi, Brantley, Wormley, Watkins, Reddick, Haynes, Hall.

    It would be nice to upgrade that 3rd run stopper Rubin and Reed. Wouldn’t consider it a high priority though. JT said it well above. Bennett and Kam are game changers.

    We discussed some on the previous thread about WR being a need. Again there is time to right the ship. Needs change over time. Right now the production of Lockett, Kearse and Richardson is sub par and inefficient. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sea/2016.htm#
    Lockett’s and Kearse’s catch % have each fallen 20% from last season-70’s to 50’s. Some of that can be attributed on Wilson’s health, Lockett’s too, but then again Baldwins % has climbed 2.5% to 78.2%. Basically the NFL told us,by the lack of a big $ deal, that Kearse is little more than an average WR. I wish the list of big time WR’s in the upcoming draft was a little longer. Williams, Davis, Chesson, Darboh, Kupp, Ford, Godwin are intriguing.

    If we do get that 3rd round comp there’s plenty of ammo in the first 2 days to target OL, pass rusher, WR and RB. This CB and S class might be too good to pass up though.

    • Volume12 says:

      Traits should be what you look for. How does his game translate? Where will he win at the next level? Its very easy to point out flaws. Much harder hard to to decipher strengths.

      This James Washington kid from OK St is described as a freak athlete and he’s got some Golden Tate like ability. RB in a WRs body. Tate is basically a RB that runs good routes.

    • Rob Staton says:

      As noted in the piece though, you’ve got to judge the needs in terms of importance. The dramatic reduction in run production and interior pass rush is critical for the core identity and success of this team. Upgrading what amounts to your fourth best receiver on the roster doesn’t really get close to that. You upgrade Kearse and the guy you replace him with is still behind Graham, Baldwin and Lockett for targets. And you can’t cut Kearse until 2018 anyway because of the dead money on his contract.

      And adding to all of this — it isn’t a great class for WR’s. This isn’t the year to go chasing that position. Bring in a later round guy like Dante Pettis.

      • D-OZ says:

        Rob a player I really like is Purdue’s Jake Replogle. Looks to have a little Howie Long to his game. Missed a few game’s mid-season. Has really come on strong as of late. Pure hustle guy and good size. Check him out. I have been chomping at the bit to get him out there…

      • matt says:

        Like Dante Pettis a lot. He should go back to school to boost his stock with a full year being Browning’s #1 target.

        In the Russell Wilson years the offense has morphed more and more a passing team.
        Pass/Run ratios:
        2016- 60.4%/39.6%
        2015- 53.3/46.7
        2014- 48.6/51.4
        2013- 47.3/52.7
        2012- 45.8/54.2

        Some of this change has been due to; personnel-OL in flux, Beast Mode, Wilson’s health etc. Some of it is by design- no FB, RW maturation/confidence, resources spent on WR/TE, I don’t have formation %’s but it’s easy to tell that we are in shotgun way more often-even when Lynch was healthy. The identity has changed, for better or worse. By design Bevell consistently singles up Kearse on 3rd down’s and in the RZ. I’m not here to criticize Bevell, merely looking at ways to upgrade the personnel for the plays/formations he does call.Personally I’d like to see us run more i-form, with a true FB and work the play action. It doesn’t look like that’s what the Hawks want. Red zone targets between Doug, JG and JK are pretty much even at 9,9,8. RZ catch %’s are not-88.9%, 44.4, 0. TD’s sitting at 5, 3, 0. Lockett’s slash- 6/50%/0. That’s a gaping hole in production. One that could use an upgrade.

        Rubin and Reed,are signed through 2018 and 2019. We have gotten along just fine, over the years, having the back end of the DT rotation filled with low priced vets, while spending relatively minimal draft capital on the position. Our system asks DT’s to swallow blocks for Wagner and KJ more that make splash plays. Again I’m all on board with getting OL, Pass Rusher, and RB help. To me the offense could really use another WR that can consistently beat 1v1 coverage-preferably one with some size. The WR class isn’t great, but there’s some talent to be had. Does the value match up? Too early to tell.

  20. Trevor says:

    Watching that Vikibgs game I bet Pete loves Xavier Rhodes he is the like the pro type Seahawks corner. Great length, physical and smart. He is a top 3 corner now IMO with Sherm and Paterson,

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      He got beat ugly for a TD

      I think Peters, Sherman, and Peterson are the top 3

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        Marcus Peters…. baller. Exceptional all around CB.

      • Trevor says:

        I love Peters play making and think he will end up being one of the best but he takes a ton of chances and gets burned pretty regularly as well.

        Still not sure why Rhodes was playing off Dez on that TD it was the only reception he gave up all game and had played mostly press till then. Seemed like they were expecting a run and were all still reeling from the turnover.

  21. C-Dog says:

    Jaleel Johnson I think might be a player not to sleep on. Tony Pauline noted last week that through 11 games playing nose for the Hawkeyes, 51 tackles, 10 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, called him a terrific athlete with size. Seems to win with leverage.

    Here’s a cool video clip interview going into last year’s Rose Bowl. He comes across with a sly wit not too far off from Michael Bennett, Brandon Mebane even had a bit of this. Check it out. http://www.kcrg.com/content/sports/Jaleel-Johnson-plugging-up-the-middle-363699241.html

    Here’s a highlight clip against Iowa St this year. He shows a lot of versatility playing A and B gabs. Pretty disruptive, but also good movement skills on stunts. Seems to win with power, shows a decent swim. Of course, this was against Iowa St. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGWmp6rxBaU

    Seems to have a mature cool as a cucumber personality that could indicate some decent leadership qualities. Here’s an interview after Iowa beat Michigan where is had a career high 9 tackles in a game, 9 solo tackles, 2 TFL, and a sack. Big players play big in big moments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sg4FhvBPjM

    Kinda like Dalvin Tomlinson, might resemble Jarran Reed a bit more in body type, but that’s not a bad thing.

    I’m liking this dude a lot.

  22. Ukhawk says:

    Rob et al

    Great article & comments. Random thoughts which is curious about other opinions:
    -Do think we are leaking on the edge which is also skewing the run D stats & making the middle tougher to defend.
    -But I’m not so sure +20yds per game is meaningful given the injuries/loss at both outside spots Irvin/Morgan & Bennett and to Kam.
    -Mebane was undervalued, for sure, he had averaged about 5tfls for his career (highs of 7) and had 15 pressures this year before injury which is phenomenal from NT. However in the stats I also found he had zero in the first 3 seasons, not sure if this is correct or playing time related but it’s significant because….
    -Reed flashes some TFL potential averaging 4-5 in college. Like Mebane did, if I recall correctly, Reed should get stronger & stouter as he develops his technique & matures physically. However not sure of his best eventual spot yet – 1T or 3T?
    -Nandi may be a great shout, I’m not quite convinced he can truly add consistent pressure in the pros. Does he have both the leverage/bulk to stop the run and length/speed to pressure/collapse the pocket. Clearly his TFLs for 1 season are way better than any current/recent DL by 2x but it’s 1 season playing alongside Walker. And to me it’s the age old issue of finding that rare DT who is a true run stopper/inside penetrator. Maybe in Nandi’s case (as with Kawann/Atkins/Campbell) it’s just a case of just rolling the dice.
    -Conversely depending on how the draft falls, I wonder if you take edge higher in R1/2 (depth = > upside) and plug the NT gap with a big body later. A big, inside out 5T (i.e. Wormley/Walker) or a proper SAM/Rush LB (i.e. Williams/McKinley/Smoot/Harris/Haynes) might also help the run and aide the pass rush.
    Besides Kwann & Calais, if money is available (doubtful), would also add KC’s Dontari Poe in the mix. Plays NT & 3T. He might be gotten on a 1 year deal depending on the market.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “Does he have both the leverage/bulk to stop the run and length/speed to pressure/collapse the pocket”

      I would say yes, undoubtedly. His lower body looks incredibly big and powerful, he can squat +700lbs. And on tape he’s constantly in the backfield.

      I don’t have an issue taking an EDGE early but they better be really good and athletic enough to do the Irvin role. Because EDGE production with Avril, Bennett, Clark and Marsh is not a problem for this team.

      • Ukhawk says:

        I was thinking someone different in terms of EDGE namely EXACTLY like an Irvin who both can rush and play SAM; my ideal was Tim Williams pre-season but he has likely lifted his stock out of range. Others may fit the mold depending on how they test. OR a true, big DE who is long and strong, someone who could play like Red Bryant did and play outside/in. With that big DE guy, you could line him up in at 5T for a big rrun set, inside at 3T like they tried with Jason Jones or as a bigger rush end on passing downs. Wormley and potentially Charlton if he got bigger feel like that kind of guy.

    • C-Dog says:

      Re: Reed 1T or 3T, I think it depends on the other DT they draft. I think that there’s a chance if they take Nnadi (keeping fingers crossed for the next five months), Reed would likely be the 3 tech in the base, Nnadi 1 tech, but in the nickel, you might see Nnadi stay in more often when Bennett kicks inside. My hunch leans towards Reed as a 3 tech in the base. IMO, Nnadi’s ability to get low and win with leverage would probably be > than Reed’s, and that is what made Mebane so special. Reed’s run stuff savvy and attributes could be pretty special at 3 tech. If it’s say, Chris Wormley, Reed probably plays 1 tech. He can do both.

      Re: SAM/Rush LB. I think getting a solid LB with length, athleticism, and power to set the edge at SAM and contain would go a long way as well to helping the run defense. Pete Carroll has said time, and time again, that SAM and LEO, in this defense, should be interchangeable, that either player should be able to play either position, 4-3 defense with 3-4 principles. He emphasized that earlier this season on the Brock & Salk show. I think that’s why they were trying Cassius Marsh there, but ultimately resorted to just playing another LB. Ultimately, I don’t think they are steering their philosophy away from that. Do they have that player on the roster presently? Kinda/ sorta, not really in Mike Morgan. He’s a journeyman player on a one year contract who’s been injured most of this season. So I think that they probably address that position in the draft, if not FA. Kinda like last year at center, they are getting by with subpar play there. It’s not as detrimental to the team as subpar center, but teams are attacking the perimeter more than they did when Bruce was playing LB. It’s an issue.

      Re Kwann, Calais, Poe; If this team want to devote more $ to Bennett and Chancellor, which they should, it’s going to be highly difficult to afford another vet of the quality, unless they want to come in on a bargain deal to chase a ring. All three of those guys are top players in the league at their positions and will probably want top $. Football isn’t forever, they probably want to make as much $ as possible to set themselves and their families and family’s families up for life; I think that’s what Bennett wants and they probably do as well. Don’t think that realistic. Drafting and developing is, though. Good year of DL to do that.

  23. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    I think it might be the LBs, in the rush defense, that have been not “stuffing” the line of scrimmage. An example, the Seahawks have blitzed the A-Gaps more with the LBs this season than I recall in the past…. Bobby Wagner in particular. When you blitz, you open yourself up for passes or rushes where the blitzer is coming from…. if you have guys blitzing, that causes holes in the second and third levels of the defense.

    I’m of the opinion they need to get another DE/LB in the draft or perhaps the LB/S type. A pure DT/NT seems unlikely to me, especially with the first pick.

    With all that being said, the defense has regressed to #1 scoring defense in the NFL for the 5th straight season. They are not far off from being dominant again…. so maybe everyone is jumping ship a bit early. The 2013 defense may never come around again, so to compare every team to them is frankly unfair.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think it’s jumping ship per se. It’s a case of comparing what they’ve done this year to the previous two seasons and working out how they can get back to their absolute best.

      I’m not sure I agree the LB’s can be held responsible for a lack of stuffed runs. The #18 ranking for run stuffing takes into account runs stopped before the LOS. Are we really expecting the LB’s to live in the backfield? And when you look at the DT’s providing three total TFL’s as a unit and 1.5 sacks — I don’t think we need to overthink this. They simply do not have an impact interior lineman.

  24. D-OZ says:

    Rob, I keep getting this gut feeling that the Hawks select Soloman Thomas with their 1st. rounder.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Maybe. He’s a decent athlete. Not incredible though and that’s generally what they go for.

      I’m not totally sold on him being a Seahawks target to be honest. Not the grittiest, explosive type that they favor.

  25. swisshawk says:

    What would you think if I say you that it could be a possibility that all o-line starters for next season are already on the roster? In my opinion it could be a possibility that the line for 2017+ could be like:

    LT Odhiambo (preferring left side, seemed doing quite well in his short action)
    LG Glowinski (could be more the ideal RG for the Hawks, but I would prefer to keep Ifedi inside)
    C Britt (surprisingly the leader and currently the best of the bunch)
    RG Ifedi (shows promise if not starting alongside a rookie center)
    RT Fant (seems like the better tackle position for the mauler and steadily improving, excluding the bucs)

    This approach would give them some much needed consistency and could keep the strength (inside guys) unchanged for the near future. Some competition for the guard positions should be a priority, but I for one could life with Sowell as swing tackle and preferably another body (but where could that be acquired???). I’m aware that this approach could be risky but the potential seems pretty high. All the good d-talent we could acquire after a massive o-draft in 2016 could be important for our slowly aging d (we need some stars to pay big money in 2020+, yes we have Clark, but can you name another young stud on our d? Shead?).
    Would like to hear your thoughts and thanks a lot Rob for your fantastic articles! 🙂
    Greetings from switzerland and Go Hawks!

  26. Sea Mode says:

    Not against an early DL selection at all (interior collapsing or pass rush would be huge for us), but just raising the question whether the fact that our offense has left the defense on the field for so long this season, that it is skewing our defensive stats vs. rush a bit.

    From what I see, we are averaging a whole 3.5 minutes more of opponent possession time than last regular season (32:20 vs. 28:50). I don’t know how many snaps that translates into, but that alone is easily enough for them to put up 20 more rush yards on us. It’s basically an additional drive.
    http://www.nfl.com/teams/seattleseahawks/statistics?season=2016&team=SEA&seasonType=

    So, I would say the lack of rushing attack is hurting the defense more than the rush defense itself slacking. (once again, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t upgrade it if possible)

    P.D. Additionally, factor in that the best defensive player in the NFL (quoting Brady here), the one who makes the most splash plays for us behind the line of scrimmage and blows up the most runs in the backfield for losses, has been out for half of our games this year.

  27. AndrewP says:

    Curious to see how the line of Fant/Glow/Britt/Ifedi/Sowell plays over the last five weeks and the playoffs. If they are adequate, I wonder if they’ll give Sowell a modest contract (2/6) to buy themselves a year or two to develop a guy they like (Odhiambo; a UDFA type in ’17?) or until their is a stronger presence of OL in the draft in 2018/19.

    Rob- Curious if you think Ifedi’s game could trasnlate to RT? If they believe it can, it does open up options in the draft as they could look for a Guard-type and have Ifedi slide outside.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Personally I’d rather keep some consistency up front and keep Ifedi at RG. I think he could translate to RT — but then you still have to replace the RG.

  28. Chris says:

    If a

    First rounder = 100 points
    2nd rounder = 60 points
    3rd rounder = 30 points
    4th rounder = 10 points
    5th rounder = 5 points
    6th rounder = 2 points
    7th rounder = 1 point

    Then I will absolutely NOT be happy unless the Seahawks spend AT LEAST 208 pts of draft capital on the offensive line.