By Jarrod Patterson @J_M_Patterson on August 7, 2014
The 2014 NFL Preseason is officially underway, and soon the defending Super Bowl champs will clash once again with the AFC Champion Denver Broncos. Of course, this matchup will have far less importance, but it will be the first of several tests thrown at the Seattle Seahawks this preseason. Once again, every position is up for grabs as competition will be key. With that in mind, here are 10 Seahawks to keep an eye on this preseason.
Much was expected of OLB Korey Toomer when he was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he was cut and signed to the practice squad his rookie year, then spent the 2013 season on the reserve/non-football injury list. However, reports out of Seahawks training camp say that Toomer is playing better than ever, and it's possible this young man has turned a corner and could vie for playing time.
After rushing for over 1,200 career rushing yards and 10 TDs during his tenure at LSU, FB Spencer Ware declared for the 2013 NFL Draft following his Junior season. Last year, as a rookie for the Seahawks, Ware had just three carries for 10 yards as he was beat out by fellow FB Derrick Coleman for the starting job. This year, Ware will attempt to overtake Coleman with his size and explosiveness as a blocker, ball carrier and receiver.
Bruce Irvin may have been the most shocking first-round pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Taken by Seattle with the 15th overall pick, Irvin instantly acquired his share of critics. However, they were quickly silenced after the former WVU product posted eight sacks as a rookie. Last year, Irvin moved from DE to SAM LB, splitting time with Malcolm Smith. Yet with the departure of Chris Clemons, Irvin could be headed back to the LEO DE position.
Many Seahawk fans were disappointed with the offseason departure of WR Golden Tate. It's an understandable reaction given the playmaking ability he brought to Seattle's offense. However, there may already be a replacement in waiting in Seattle hometown hero Jermaine Kearse. Clearly, Kearse has developed a healthy rapport with QB Russell Wilson and could be a breakout candidate if he can build on his impressive playoff run.
Scruggs is a player who was drafted in the seventh round, and while he has battled through injuries, he's just too talented to let go. At 6-foot-3 and weighing 285 pounds, he has the the size and strength to kick inside to DT on passing downs as well as play off the edge at the DE position. He has immense upside as a rotational pass-rusher, and now that he is healthy, Scruggs has a chance to prove Seattle was wise to keep him around.
Given the offseason departure of former Seahawks RT Breno Giacomini via free agency, Seattle knew they would have to upgrade the talent along their offensive line. Enter second-round draft pick Justin Britt out of the University of Missouri. At 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, he has the size and strength to be a true bookend tackle on the right side. However, he is a rookie, so pushing him for the job will be newly acquired veteran Eric Winston.
CB Jeremy Lane has already firmly entrenched himself as the premier special teams ace in Seattle. However, with the offseason departure of former starting slot CB Walter Thurmond III, Lane has recently set his sights on replacing Thurmond as the No. 3. Standing in his way is Seattle's newly acquired CB and former NY Giant Terrell Thomas, who played under coach Carroll at USC and should provide substantial competition for Lane.
Hill may have the greatest breakout potential of any player currently on Seattle's roster. As a third-round draft pick in 2013, he was expected to step into the D-line rotation and immediately provide a boost to the interior pass-rush with his first step anticipation and non-stop motor. Unfortunately, his rookie year was plagued by injuries; he finished with just 1.5 sacks and seven tackles. Look for Hill to have a much greater impact in 2014.
This one is a no-brainer. Percy Harvin is arguably the biggest name on the Seahawks' offense, but while he was able to make a few spectacular plays at key moments last season, Seattle fans want proof that No. 11 can stay on the field all season. Head coach Pete Carroll has already stated his intention to keep Harvin on limited practices throughout the year. Maybe that will be the answer, maybe not. Either way, people will be watching closely.
The big news out of Seahawks training camp this season was the holdout of starting RB Marshawn Lynch. While he was temporarily sidelined looking for a better contract, backup RB Christine Michael was showing why Seattle is standing their ground with Lynch. Michael has greatly improved his pass-protection abilities and looks more explosive than ever. This man is the reason Lynch will not get an extension, and he will show why this preseason.
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