Time for part two of our roster review, this time it’s the turn of the offense.


Geno Smith, Sam Howell, Chevan Cordeiro

I have some sympathy for the Seahawks and GM John Schneider. It’s very easy to point out the team needs/lacks a clear long-term plan at quarterback. It’s very difficult to actually solve the problem.

Even if you have the greatest intention to address quarterback — and I believe Schneider does — you face so many pitfalls. You need to draft high enough in round one for starters. As we saw in 2023, even having the fifth overall pick might not be early enough. Alternatively, you need to trade up. The Vikings reportedly tried to do that this year, to get up to #3 to get to the third best quarterback on the board. The Patriots said no because guess what? They needed a quarterback too.

This year teams had to contend with desperation meaning we saw half of the top-12 picks used on the position. Multiple teams reached in terms of value.

Supply isn’t close to matching demand. And it’s frustrating. That’s why, when Schneider was asked on Saturday what his long term plan is at quarterback, he said he didn’t know. It’s the truth. How can he know? It’s the same for Joe Schoen in New York with the Giants, Omar Khan with the Steelers, Tom Telesco in Las Vegas and others. How can they possibly know?

There are multiple intriguing quarterbacks in college football. In a year they might be offered millions in NIL to snub turning pro. They might suffer disappointing seasons and transfer, as many do these days. They might rise up boards like Jayden Daniels, becoming unattainable unless you’re picking in the top-two.

We bemoan quarterback purgatory, and I do too, but we have to acknowledge the challenge of breaking out of it. It’s incredibly difficult.

I don’t have an issue that in three years since the Russell Wilson trade the Seahawks haven’t been able to find a long term solution. The 2022 quarterback class was bad. I don’t think it was realistic for them to trade up to #1 in 2023 — and they likely would’ve been outbid by David Tepper whatever they offered. If they didn’t rate Will Levis enough to take him, they shouldn’t force the pick. This year, with six quarterbacks going in the top-12, it was again extremely difficult to acquire a man for the future.

The issue I have is they aren’t even taking shots later on. Schneider has repeatedly said their intention is to draft a quarterback every year — but that wears thin when the record is two selected in 15 drafts. A case in point — the Packers took a no-risk flier on Michael Pratt this year. The Seahawks, instead, drafted a tackle from Findlay. The Packers are secure with Jordan Love but follow the plan Schneider lays out to take shots. The Seahawks never do.

It was reported they liked Howell in the 2022 draft but couldn’t even bring themselves to spend a fourth rounder on him immediately after trading Wilson. That was the ideal time to take a shot like that. If they won’t do it then, when will they ever?

I wish they’d take more chances, buy more raffle tickets.

What have they got to lose?

In terms of the players on the roster, Smith remains a useful bridge. Eventually, in order to make the most of a bridge, you need to acquire the player you’re bridging to. I think Smith is a streaky player — he was at West Virginia, he has been in the pro’s and the last two years were no different. He is capable, in my view, of making Seattle competitive week-to-week. I also think he’s unlikely to lead this team to where it wants to go. I believe the Seahawks feel that way too — which is why they not so discreetly put the feelers out for a trade market a few weeks ago.

I don’t have that much faith in Howell, although I’d never write him off. Regardless of circumstances, 21 interceptions is a lot last season. He was PFF’s 33rd ranked QB, one place above Zach Wilson and one below Gardner Minshew. I also appreciate there were some good games last year, some impressive throws and the Rams were also competing to acquire him.

This, I think, is the dilemma you face as a team in Seattle’s situation. I sort of just want to start Howell. Let’s see what he can do — if he floats you might have your guy. If he sinks, well maybe you lose enough games to draft a good quarterback. With Smith, I think you’ll always be in the middle ground area. Therefore, you’re never truly motivated to move on (the ‘it could be a lot worse’ angle) but you’re unwilling to take the kind of risk that could present an opportunity — either in the form of Howell or a high pick — to get better.

I understand why. The coaches want to be as competitive as possible. The GM and ownership say the same. Therefore, Geno — the presumed better and certainly more experienced player — starts. I do have a fear that Smith will always play just well enough to make it questionable whether they should move on — producing a number of wins not conducive with picking early enough to go quarterback, while never leading the team to true contender status.

This is how you stay in the middle ground. Yet there’s no obvious way out. All they can do, I suspect, is keep on keeping on until the right opportunity emerges. It can happen, as the Ravens understand with 32nd overall pick Lamar Jackson, or the Seahawks themselves with 75th overall pick Russell Wilson. Hopefully it happens soon though, or the Seahawks are likely going to always be chasing the NFL’s elite.

Running backs

Kenneth Walker, Zach Charbonnet, Kenny McIntosh, George Holani

When they were both drafted, the idea of a Walker/Charbonnet tandem sounded exciting. Both players are extremely talented. Yet Pete Carroll and Shane Waldron couldn’t deliver a functioning ground game. Thus, the two second round picks used on the pair were a total and utter waste through 2022 and 2023.

This has to be a fresh start and there has to be a plan to get things going. A lot of that will be down to superior blocking and scheming up front. Then there has to be an actual plan to get the best out of both players. The reps last season felt haphazard and all over the place. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason why Walker or Charbonnet were on the field at any given time.

There needs to be so much more creation, commitment and problem-solving in the running game — and frankly Ryan Grubb can’t do any worse than the previous offensive staff. When I interviewed Jack Westover recently, he noted how Grubb would tear up whole blocking schemes if he decided another plan was better for the following season. It’s that level of bold scheming, willingness to try new things and adaptability that will give Seattle’s offense a chance to shine.

It’d also be nice to see McIntosh stay healthy this year, plus Holani just screams ‘Seahawks’ with his frame and running style. He’s a quality UDFA addition.

Wide receivers

DK Metcalf, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Tyler Lockett, Jake Bobo, D’Wayne Eskridge, Laviska Shenault, Dareke Young, Cody White, Easop Winston, Hayden Hatten

Without a doubt this is the strength of the offense. I believe we’re going to see a new commitment to make Metcalf the receiver he’s always threatened to be — a league-leading threat. I’d expect Geno Smith to be challenged to exploit 1v1 opportunities more often, with far more intricate scheming to set up those opportunities. Health-permitting, I’d wager Metcalf is about to have the best season of his career.

In support, the Seahawks will likely do a far better job utilising Smith-Njigba this year. It’s quite exciting to imagine what he could be. Grubb did an excellent job featuring a true #1 at Washington while still making the most of his second, third and fourth weapons. The sky’s the limit for the talented JSN who could be set for a major breakout season.

Lockett may see a continued reduction in targets as JSN’s role grows — but he remains an invaluable cog in the offense. Expect critical touchdowns in big moments, plus key conversions. All of the excitement about the offense a year ago that was never realised, could be about to explode into life.

The Seahawks have strong depth at receiver too. It’ll be interesting to see how the new staff use Bobo. Young was highly rated after his rookie season and had an unfortunate 12 months with injury last year. Schneider admitted the old staff likely would’ve moved on from Eskridge but he wants to see what Grubb and co. can do with him. Shenault and Eskridge might be competing more for the kick-return role under the new rules — but let’s see if there are plans on offense too. Meanwhile, White, Winston and new UDFA Hatton all have something to offer so it’ll be interesting to see them in the pre-season.

Tight ends

Noah Fant, Pharaoh Brown, AJ Barner, Jack Westover, Tyler Mabry, Brady Russell

Fant has endured a lot of misfortune in his career. Drafted by a team coached by Vic Fangio, with Drew Lock at quarterback, then shipped off to Seattle to play for Waldron/Carroll. In the right offense with the right coordinator, he could be an established pass-catching threat. Instead, he’s still in prove-it mode.

He has everything you need physically to be an X-factor. It’ll be a big task for Ryan Grubb to bring out his talent and make this a career year for the 26-year-old.

Bringing in Brown as a blocker felt like a savvy move but I thought the Barner pick in round four was a reach. He has minimal athletic upside and is currently undersized to be a blocking tight end. I admire his attitude and determination and I hope to be proven wrong — but I think there were superior tight ends available in round four.

Westover’s clutch ability and versatility could get him on the roster as an UDFA. It does feel, though, like the success and failure of this group will rest on Fant finally realising his potential.

Offensive line

Charles Cross, Abe Lucas, Laken Tomlinson, Olu Oluwatimi, Christian Haynes, Anthony Bradford, George Fant, Stone Fortsyth, Michael Jerell, Max Pircher, Raiqwon O’Neal, Sataoa Laumea, Nick Harris, Garret Greenfield, McClendon Curtis, Tremayne Anchrum

The selection of Haynes in round three was a big positive. However, I don’t think the Seahawks did enough this year to seriously improve on the O-line and concerns have to remain.

Cross to me has been underwhelming. I gave him a second round grade in 2022 and thought, within that draft class, he deserved to be selected between picks 20-40. I think there’s very little evidence so far of a player capable of becoming a leading player at a vital position. I hope the new staff are able to work on some of his flaws to enable him to take a step forward in 2024.

Lucas’ knee injury is a concern. If he comes back and returns to 2022 form it’ll be a huge relief. He is Seattle’s most talented and aggressive offensive lineman and I don’t think it’s close. He was a huge loss last season.

Haynes should slot in at right guard and provide similar aggression. They could emerge as quite a pairing on the right side. I think Haynes’ upside is somewhat capped but if he can tie down the right guard spot and just provide consistent, reliable play (which is the expectation) that’ll be good enough.

Center remains a huge question mark. Can Olu Oluwatimi play? Is Nick Harris good enough if he can’t? Is 32-year-old Laken Tomlinson still capable of playing left guard at even a middling level? What if he isn’t?

Aside from that, there’s a collection of younger linemen and just a whole bunch of question marks and unknowns.

They haven’t been able to add proven veterans on the market with plug-and-play reliability. The draft picks have been more miss-than-hit aside from one player — who missed nearly all of last season with a knee injury that the former Head Coach referred to as ‘chronic’.

While the D-line has seen major repair work over the last 12 months to the point where it could end up being the identity of the team, the O-line remains a serious work in progress. You can’t help but feel it needs further investment in terms of cap space and picks. The worry has to be that while the Seahawks have dynamic weapons at receiver, tight end and running back — it could all be derailed if the offensive line continues to struggle.

If you missed my review of the defensive roster, click here.