Firstly, if you missed the UK Seahawkers podcast yesterday don’t forget to check it out below. I was invited on and we get into some big topics — the Dallas game, the 2018 season and the future of the Seahawks. Have a listen…
Predicting the future
The Seahawks have big calls to make on several members of the roster. Here are some early predictions on how some of these situations will play out…
Pete Carroll has made it very clear Clark will stay with the team. The key is whether there’s any chance of a long-term extension or will he receive the franchise tag? I suspect Clark will ask for top money. The Seahawks won’t want him to reach the market. The franchise tag will be used and that’ll be the starting point for a long term deal that could be completed at some point over the spring or summer.
Reed timed it perfectly to have a career-best season, putting up gaudy sack numbers. Has he potentially priced himself out of getting a deal done this off-season? Maybe. After all, he can ask for big money now. The Seahawks would no doubt love to get him tied down as part of a new young core. It’ll require some give and take. Perhaps they’ll wait to make a deal during the 2019 season?
Wright is clearly loved by the players and staff. The Seahawks undoubtedly want to keep him. The problem is, Wright is a good enough player for someone to pay reasonably big bucks for. Just look how well he played against Dallas. If you’ve got a lot of cap room, you might take a chance on his knee to get his talent and leadership. The Colts and 49ers, for example, could be teams that show a lot of interest. They can afford to take a chance on his health. He’ll likely reach the market and the Seahawks will have a number in mind. If it gets blown out of the water, what can they do? I suspect this probably happens and, sadly, Wright moves on.
Carroll has already referenced bringing Kendricks back. It makes sense anyway but it’ll be a priority if K.J. Wright departs. Kendricks likely respects the opportunity Seattle gave him in 2018 and the Seahawks clearly benefited from his play. A deal, probably for one or two seasons, seems inevitable.
Coleman is the type of player you ideally keep but probably don’t overpay for. The Seahawks plucked him from New England in the Cassius Marsh trade and might prefer to go hunting for another bargain. It seems likely Coleman reaches the market, just as Jeremy Lane did back in the day, and the Seahawks assess their options. They might make a generous offer (as they did for Lane) if other moves don’t come off and they have some money to spend. They might get him back on a very reasonable contract if his market is lukewarm. Or he could get paid elsewhere. It seems like the most fluid and open-ended situation and could go either way.
Earl is moving on to a new team. There’s no doubt here. The Seahawks clearly made a decision not to pay him a third contract. A year ago they were willing to trade him. They were equally prepared to lose him as a free agent in 2019. And that’s what is going to happen. Some fans might want to cling to the hope he will return but we know it isn’t realistic.
J.R. Sweezy & D.J. Fluker
I’ve clubbed these two players together because I think it’s inevitable both will remain. In London I asked Pete Carroll if he wanted to keep both. He didn’t just say ‘yes’, he suggested they were part of the new core. And it’s no surprise. The O-line helped set the tone and did more than anyone to regain the physical style Carroll and John Schneider are looking for. Plus Sweezy and Fluker have both expressed interest bordering on excitement about staying in Seattle.
Still trying to figure out Michigan’s Devin Bush
There are a lot of impressive parts to his game. His quickness to go sideline-to-sideline and run in pursuit is top level. He reads plays very quickly and has outstanding athleticism to react and get to the ball carrier. On one red zone snap against Ohio State he was lined up at weakside backer, detected early that it was going to be a swing pass to the running back and made a break to the ball carrier. He covered a lot of ground in no time at all, dodged a blocking receiver and made the tackle. It’s this type of exceptional quickness and understanding that puts him in the round one conversation. He’s also a terrific blitzer, he hits like a sledgehammer and rarely misses tackles. He’s strong, powerful, tough and fast. When he correctly reads an inside run he’ll be patient and deliver a jarring blow at the LOS.
However, he was also used predominantly as an attacker. He would be encouraged, pretty much on all of his snaps, to attack the LOS and be aggressive. It occasionally meant he would be too aggressive — taking bad angles, running under blocks or failing to contain the edge. There were times where he conceded some decent gains in the running game. Was it the scheme? The role? Quite possibly. He has the athleticism and toughness to be a very effective starter in the NFL. But it’s out there on tape. And at 5-11 and 232lbs he doesn’t have the length to stay clean like a K.J. Wright and keep blockers off his frame.
He’d be an exciting addition to any defense. Whether he can limit some of the flaws vs the run to become a fantastic run-and-hit tone-setter is the key question.
Latest news on declarations
Alabama’s Raekwon Davis is staying in school. It’s another surprise after Derrick Brown and Jabari Zuniga both chose not to declare. It’s still a very deep D-line class but it won’t be quite as deep with this trio opting not to turn pro.
Irv Smith Jr and Josh Jacobs are heading for the NFL (both Alabama). Smith Jr has NFL bloodlines (his father was a former #20 overall pick as a tight end). He had a productive 2018 season essentially in the role of a big slot receiver. He wasn’t asked to do much blocking. There’s a feeling he won’t run a great forty yard dash. He could be the first tight end taken. My prediction at the moment is for a run on the position in round two. Jacobs had a really strong end to the season but seems like a bit of a ‘flavour of the month’ candidate. Rodney Anderson, Damien Harris and Benny Snell Jr all played well enough to warrant higher grades. That doesn’t mean Jacobs is a poor player. He has excellent physical skills and could be a good pro.
Jonah Williams the Alabama left tackle has declared for the draft. He’s one of the more overrated 2019 prospects and struggled badly against Clemson in the National Championship. He lacks top level strength and power to make up for below average length and footwork/agility. A lot of people project him as a top-15 pick but not for me. I wouldn’t take him in round one.
Quinnen Williams is also turning pro. He’s a nailed-on top five pick.
And then there’s Kyler Murray. For me, the top draft eligible player. The prospect who should go #1 overall — taken by either the Cardinals or a team trading up. Murray is the real deal with superstar potential. Reportedly he is leaning towards picking football instead of baseball.
Murray is a special talent with an opportunity to come into the league and have a Patrick Mahomes type of impact. I’ve put him at #1 in my last few mocks and that won’t change any time soon if he declares. What a talent.
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