By Jordan Wevers @JordanWevers on May 20, 2014
Not a whole lot of offseason changes for the Seahawks via the draft or free agency. But that's a good thing, right? The core of Pete Carroll's Super Bowl XLVIII squad will be returning. The only noticeable departures are DE Chris Clemons (JAX), WR Golden Tate (DET) and T Paul McQuistan (CLE). The Seahawks weren't big spenders either, acquiring mostly depth with their free-agent signings.
The dual-threat pivot should be due for a big payday in the near future. Competing for second command will be the newly acquired Terrelle Pryor and the recently re-signed Tarvaris Jackson.
Nothing new to report here either. Beast Mode figures to be a large part of the Seahawks' offensive game plan in 2014. Pete Carroll regularly employs the use of a fullback to help open holes for the power-running game and Lynch, a four-time Pro Bowler.
Injuries have been a concern for both these players in recent years. Harvin provides versatility and speed, but Rice, when healthy, is a large target to have on the perimeter and is capable of playing like an All-Pro. Look for Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse to continue to improve and see a good chunk of snaps, but also for rookie burner Paul Richardson to play a lot in the slot and stretch out defenses vertically as well.
Some experts thought Seattle would use their first-round draft pick to select TE Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech in order to employ two-tight end sets and give Wilson another target. Instead, the Seahawks traded out of the first round. Miller is big and strong, and an apt blocker, but certainly not a focal point of the offense.
Okung is the franchise left tackle and was the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He's yet to make it through a full regular season schedule, so durability is an issue. With McQuistan's departure, that leaves second-year Michael Bowie and this year's second-round draft pick Justin Britt, a Missouri product, to supplant McQuistan. Britt has a reach advantage on Bowie, and comes from the ultra-competitive SEC where he held his own at LT.
Carpenter is a former first-round draft pick with good potential, but has durability issues. Sweezy, aside from having one of the cooler names on the team, is a converted college DE, making him the best athlete on the Seahawks' offensive line. If there's a battle in training camp, look for Stephen Schilling, formerly of the San Diego Chargers, to push either Carpenter or Sweezy for playing time.
Max Unger has been the anchor of his unit since 2009. He holds the most experience and is a large reason why Marshawn Lynch has been a perennial Pro Bowler since arriving in Seattle in 2010.
No one on the defensive line had more than 8.5 sacks in 2013. Chris Clemons has departed, so Cassius Marsh out of UCLA was drafted to add depth. There may not be an All-Pro on this unit, but they are consistent, veterans and great at pressuring opposing teams' quarterbacks.
Neither of these guys boast any individual awards or accolades, but the Seahawks' defense is great because everyone plays the system and knows their role. Mebane had 5.5 sacks in 2008, so he is capable of getting after the quarterback. McDaniel has great work ethic, as he is an eight-year veteran who was given an opportunity in the league as an undrafted free agent.
Malcolm Smith being named the Super Bowl MVP epitomizes the Seahawks' fundamentally sound approach to their world class unit. He's a former seventh-round draft pick, as opposed to Irvin who was the 15th overall selection in 2012. If you are smart, do not freelance and play with heart; it's not hard to be an impact player of Seattle's defense.
Considered one of the best MLBs in his draft class, Wagner was a steal at 47th overall in 2012 out of Utah State. Over his first two regular seasons in the NFL, he has recorded 293 total tackles. Comparatively, MLB Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers was selected ninth overall in the same draft, and he has 331 total tackles in his first two seasons. Wagner has seven career sacks and five INTs. Kuechly has three and six, respectively.
Sherman is outspoken and a media distraction. But he's also very smart, physical and hungry. Hopefully his new payday won't change that. If the Seahawks really wanted to make some noise and give their secondary a world class tag, they should have made an attempt to sign Aqib Talib. His size and style of play would have been a perfect fit to replace Brandon Browner. Byron Maxwell is going to have a very busy 2014.
Thomas is a ball hawk with great range who plays with intensity. He's perhaps the closest thing to an Ed Reed in his prime in the NFL right now.
Chancellor is a large specimen at the safety position at 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds. He's great for playing in the box, or fighting for jump balls down field against tall receivers and tight ends.
Seattle re-signed Steven Hauschka to do the kicking, and Canadian Jon Ryan will continue to do the punting in the Pacific Northwest. WR Paul Richardson was the first player selected by the Seahawks in the 2014 draft, and draws comparisons to DeSean Jackson. Look for him to be the primary return specialist in order to ease some of the workload off Harvin. This will be where Richardson makes an immediate impact until he learns the playbook well.
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