Where does Seahawks roster stand after signing Geno Smith?
Seaside Joe 1139: Offense, Defense, and Draft Needs
The Seattle Seahawks will add several key players in the early-third of the 2022 NFL Draft, perhaps even filling a few current needs, but for the most part I think Pete Carroll’s intentions for who will be starting next season are now out in the open.
QB-Drew Lock, Geno Smith
As I wrote on Friday, Lock could be good enough to be maybe the 20th-best QB in the NFL. That sounds promising but the truth is that at least one-third of the league’s starters are constantly in flux and maybe Lock/Geno end up as the worst QB1 and QB2 in the NFL. There’s no question it is the biggest weak spot on the team. Unfortunately, the Seahawks will not get an answer this year, so Pete is going to do what Pete knows how to do, which is run the ball at a bunch of defenses who are not adequately setup to defend a power running scheme.
RB-Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson
Carroll said late in the season that the Seahawks “did change schemes and principles” with regards to the running game. “When Rashaad stepped up, he really brought it to life.” Interestingly, Penny didn’t see it that way, saying that the schemes didn’t change but that the offensive line paved the way for his incredible finish to the season.
In any case, I said after the season that Rashaad Penny would be the Seahawks’ top free agent priority on offense and the team re-signed him to a one-year contract. My feeling on Chris Carson was that he’d be released, but the team seems to be waiting out the draft and to see how Carson’s neck feels after surgery in December. The Seahawks are more of a threat to draft a RB early than a QB early and it’s not even close.
TE-Will Dissly, Noah Fant
At 24, Fant might only be a limited version of the tight end he could become in the future. Maybe as soon as 2022. The Seahawks picked up his fifth-year option for 2023 but what could be more motivating for Fant than to prove he’s a complete tight end—not only a receiving threat—and to earn a contract extension that pays him $40 million guaranteed? Fant will make $2.2 million in 2022 and $6.8 million in 2023, but the going rate for a top-five tight end would be at least $14 million per season.
I think Dissly, only 25 himself, is a greater threat to get the most snaps at tight end in Seattle next season. Perhaps the duo will rub off on each other, Dissly improves his receiving, Fant improves his blocking, and the Seahawks are in 12 personnel all day.
WR-Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Freddie Swain
Though I will continue to support the premise of the Seahawks drafting a wide receiver with one of their first three picks, it’s hard to not see Lockett and Metcalf as practically “overkill” for Lock and Geno already. I mean, let’s be sure that Seattle has a QB who can even get it to those two before we start stocking the shelves in the back?
If Eskridge turns out to be a decent receiver, there will be no snaps left at wideout for a rookie. This didn’t bother the Rams over the last two years—L.A. picked Van Jefferson in the second round in 2021, then Tutu Atwell in the second round in 2022, and both were afterthoughts during their rookie seasons—and drafting a wideout is a long-term play to prepare for an inevitable changeover at the position around 2023 or 2024…
But for now, the Seahawks don’t have much room left over for another receiver. If they’re running more 2TE sets in 2022, if they’re planning on Eskridge to blossom into the number three receiver, if they want to hand the ball off 55-percent of the time, then there’s really nothing left to do at receiver. If the Seahawks can get Khalil Shakir or Alec Pierce, someone of that ilk in round three, then that’s a shot that I think is worth taking to prepare for a softer QB landing in 2023.
Who are the 30 wide receivers ready to contribute as rookies in 2022?
iOL-Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, Phil Haynes
Practically a repeat of last season’s interior. The thing about the 2022 NFL Draft class is that I think it’s so underwhelming overall that some teams may feel content to simply come out with a great center or a great guard, and forget the lower-percentage shots at a tackle or edge rusher. Sure, the Seahawks could do that.
My only rebuttal is that the Cowboys had three Hall of Fame offensive linemen together for five of six years between 2014 and 2019. They were a good team that ultimately went 2-3 in the postseason over that period of time and Dallas still hasn’t been to an NFC Championship game since 1995. This isn’t the fault of the offensive line of course. It makes me wonder, could the Cowboys have done anything differently during that rebuild to become more successful? Should they have picked Travis Frederick over Zach Ertz and Darius Slay? Should they have picked Zack Martin over Brandin Cooks and Davante Adams?
It’s the interior of the offensive line… Can you name the three starters on the interior of the Rams’ offensive line that helped pave the way for a historic season by Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp? Or the three who nearly got Joe Burrow a ring during his second NFL season? Lewis, Blythe, and Jackson/Haynes is plenty. Now and in the future.
OT-Jake Curhan, Stone Forsythe
It won’t be these two starting at tackle next season. I expect that Duane Brown and/or Brandon Shell will be re-signed. It’s probably most realistic to think that Brown is going to leave in free agency, once a team can sign him without it impacting the compensatory pick formula. Shell could be choosing between the Broncos and Seahawks.
I think the worst case scenario—and it is moderately concerning—is that one of Curhan/Forsythe will be starting opposite of a rookie first or early second round pick. I will be surprised if any of these rookie tackles enters the NFL as a plug-and-play offensive lineman. There’s no “Rashawn Slater” this year. Anyone who is expected to start in Week 1 will likely go through some major growing pains, which is why I would lean towards Seattle picking someone who is adept at run blocking already and that should rule out Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas.
If the Seahawks can’t run behind their left tackle, it’s going to be an even longer season with Lock and/or Geno under center.
2022 Draft Needs Priorities: OT (preference: LT), RB, WR, C, G, QB, TE
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
iDL-Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods, Bryan Mone
Poona Ford is a good football player. He’s just not a “$10 million” football player. The types of defensive tackles who change the outcome of football games in the modern era are the ones who affect the other team’s passing game in negative ways. That’s not Poona’s strength. His 15 pressures last season ranked 27th among defensive tackles. It’s one thing to compare him to Aaron Donald, a player who dwarfs everybody else, but it’s another to point out that he’s well behind the pressure rates of guys like Jonathan Allen, Chris Jones (34 each) and Cam Heyward (32).
Or even the pressure brought by John Franklin-Myers, Larry Ogunjobi, and Javon Hargrave (~25 each).
The Seahawks signed one of those 25 pressure guys: Jefferson had 25 pressures and 4.5 sacks with the Raiders last season. But this isn’t our first rodeo with Q-Jeff and it’s fair to say that if Seattle thought there was a special interior pass rusher in this draft, maybe Devonte Wyatt or Logan Hall, that they would have to consider it. Jordan Davis? Despite his insane athleticism, that simply hasn’t been his strength.
However, signing Jefferson and bringing back Woods means that the team really doesn’t have a spot open here and that may push any DT pick towards the back end of Seattle’s class, if at all.
DE-Shelby Harris, L.J. Collier
I’ll talk about “EDGE” players in a minute. But a more traditional 3-4 defense would include a player like Red Bryant in the early 2010s. He’s not going to get those sacks, he’s not going to show up on a ton of highlights, he won’t be trending on Twitter very often for the right reasons. The Seahawks made sure that they got the 30-year-old Harris in the trade not because he gets to the quarterback very often (21 sacks over the last five seasons) but because he’s going to eat 500 snaps and play decent run defense in a familiar system.
I’d be surprised if Seattle drafts anyone who could replace Harris at his position. If they’re going to draft any “defensive end” in the first round, he better be J.J. Watt.
EDGE-Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, Alton Robinson
This ain’t it. This situation may actually be more dire than the situation at offensive tackle. Set aside for a moment whether or not Taylor will actually develop into a great pass rusher—he certainly might—will he play in 17 games?
The Nwosu signing provides insurance, bringing in a more reliable player who has only missed three games over four seasons, but I equate this to being the “Gerald Everett of defense” type of transaction. Teams-Do-Not-Let-Great-Edge-Rushers-Go and when they do, they don’t sign modest two-year deals. Yes, Nwosu could be Pete’s next Chris Clemons or Cliff Avril, I’m all for it. But Seaside Joe takes the most realistic approach possible and on this planet, Uchenna Nwosu doesn’t have the same type of ceiling that a first round pick would have.
One of the Seahawks’ first three picks in the draft is going to add a player to this group. The reason that Seattle made a push to sign Trent Brown may be due to John Schneider’s intention to draft an edge rusher in the top-10. Without Brown, Brown, or Shell, those intentions may have to change.
ILB-Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton
This is fine. I’ve seen mocks that have Devin Lloyd going to the Seahawks at nine. That’s balderdash. The Seahawks’ fortunes are not going to change much by drafting another linebacker who doesn’t rush the passer. Micah Parsons is only “Micah Parsons” because he had 13 sacks and 30 QB hits as a rookie.
This is fine.
S-Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Marquise Blair
It’s fun to think about adding exciting safeties because Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were such special players to have together in the early 2010s. I think the safety position is generally underrated, we know how big of an impact those guys had but also the Patriots kept together the same safety duo for most of the past decade too.
But not even buyers remorse on Adams or a fall by Kyle Hamilton or Lewis Cine could compel Seattle to draft a safety before they address all their other needs.
CB-Sidney Jones, Justin Coleman, Artie Burns, Tre Brown, Ugo Amadi
As obvious as it is that this group is missing a CB1, I don’t think fans should overrate the importance of having that player. The Bengals got great value from a cornerbacks group that they created by signing castoffs last year: Mike Hilton, Chidobe Awuzie, and Eli Apple.
As I wrote in this week’s write-up covering Every 2022 NFL Draft CB by Arm Length, it may be important to have one “shutdown” guy but anything more than that could be overkill. And not every team needs to have one. It’s great if you can get it, but don’t underestimate Pete’s ability to confidently run out this group next year and not think twice about it.
If the team drafts Sauce Gardner or Derek Stingley, that’s fine, but I believe that in order for Pete Carroll to make that decision, he has to both LOVE the corner prospect and he has to kind of HATE the prospects at Tackle and Edge. I am not quite sure that after looking over the roster that I can get on board with the premise that Pete wouldn’t rather reach for help at OT or EDGE than he would make a defensible pick at cornerback.
Is cornerback a need for the Seahawks? I think it’s actually fair to say that Pete may not think that it is. After failing to re-sign D.J. Reed, which Pete had wanted to do along with re-signing Sidney Jones, it seems the answer was to add both Justin Coleman and Artie Burns. No, these aren’t great players but I think that for Seattle’s defense, having a shutdown corner right now isn’t as important as having more players playing in the box who can help create turnovers.
2022 Draft Needs Priorities: EDGE (OLB), DT (Pass Rush), CB1, DE, ILB, CB (Slot), S, DT (Run)
The Seahawks would save about $3.5 million if they found a rookie kicker to replace Jason Myers. Given that their starting QB is about to make that much, it’s not a small sum. Seattle could target a day three receiver or corner who doubles as a punt returner.
I just hope it ends the speculation these media "wizards" push about Baker Mayfield soon to be a Seahawk!