When a GM and Head Coach have been with a team for so long, it’s a lot easier to get a feel for what they like.
If the Seahawks are going to embrace a fairly significant rebuild, with a new core, it’s worth reflecting on what history tells us.
They’ve invested a lot in linebackers and safeties.
The second round pick on Bobby Wagner (then paying him big money, twice). A first rounder on Jordyn Brooks. A first rounder on Earl Thomas. A second rounder on Marquise Blair. The Jamal Adams trade.
Not to mention reported interest in Luke Kuechly in 2012, who they could’ve taken (if available) with the #12 pick. Plus reported interest in Johnathan Abram in 2019.
Rightly or wrongly, the Seahawks under Pete Carroll have invested a significant chunk of their resources in these two positions.
As they look to reshape their defense, they might do it again.
Wagner’s release creates a potential hole. The same will happen at safety if Quandre Diggs departs.
Personally, I wouldn’t pay big money for a 29-year-old safety coming off a serious injury in a rebuild year.
The two picks in round two — #40 and #41 — could potentially align very well with the two positions we’re talking about here.
If they’re looking for a Wagner replacement — both Channing Tindall and Leo Chenal have the kind of speed, explosive traits, agility numbers and physicality to really fit the bill. As much as I’ve pushed back against the investment at linebacker over the years — these two players, in a deep group of linebackers — have a chance to be extremely good. Maybe even special.
Then you’ve got a player who the more I’ve studied, the more convinced I am the Seahawks will seriously consider drafting him.
It’s not just that they’ve put a lot of focus on the safety position. They like to play with a physical edge. Their three big investments at the position — Thomas, Blair and Adams — all had a reputation for their playing style.
Abram had it too. He combined 4.4 speed with an aggressive approach to the game. He hit people and left a mark. I think a big part of their clear disappointment after the first round concluded in 2019 was down to missing out on Abram (plus missing out on their pick of the pass rushers).
Maryland’s Nick Cross is an absolute hammer. He is a throwback. He delivered some unbelievable hits and provides the kind of fear-factor in the back-end the Seahawks have been missing for a long time.
Not only that, he ran a 4.34 at the combine and jumped a 37 inch vertical. He’s 6-0 and 212lbs too so has reasonable size.
Listening to him during interviews he’s well spoken, says the right things and gives off a big team-first vibe. You can imagine him in a leadership role.
I can imagine Carroll completely falling for a player like Cross. If the objective is to use the picks, play the long-game and invest in a younger core — he seems like the type of player who could be a cornerstone.
I wouldn’t be totally against the pick either — which I appreciate sounds like a major contradiction based on what I’ve been saying about spending too much on the linebacker and safety positions.
However — I would rather build around fast, physical players on defense who fly to the ball and play an aggressive brand of football. I want a violent defense again.
Jermaine Johnson, Channing Tindall/Leo Chenal and Nick Cross playing on the same defense as Darrell Taylor and Jordyn Brooks is very appealing. And hey — maybe that other safety could join the party next year.
This is just one idea of many. We’ve got over a month to discuss various scenarios and this is one of them. I am very open to the idea of finding a way, even if it means trading up, to get at one of these very impressive defensive tackles instead. The addition of Shelby Harris, however, might make that less likely.
I do like the idea of going all-defense in the draft though and trying to blitz one side of the ball with young talent. On offense, there are options in free agency to add a left tackle (Eric Fisher, Joseph Noteboom, Duane Brown), center (Brian Allen, Bradley Bozeman), right tackle (possibly La’el Collins) and receiver (Russell Gage, Christian Kirk).
With the second most cap space in the NFL this year and the most next year if the Raiders retain Derek Carr, there’s no reason not to splash some cash on the right types of players.
And if you can start a much more physical, younger, tone-setting defense next season — and combine it with a consistent running game — you’ll be setting the stall out for Carroll’s preferred method of football.
The Seahawks have been aiming to be the bullies again for some time and have turned into a finesse team instead.
Jermaine Johnson, Channing Tindall/Leo Chenal, Nick Cross, Darrell Taylor, Jordyn Brooks and Jamal Adams — with a running back like Zamir White or Dameon Pierce — and some free agent additions to fill holes on offense, can take this team a lot closer to being back to the team they want to be.
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