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Seahawks Thursday Checklist: Which players could benefit from playing other positions?
Seaside Joe 1303, 9/29/22: Plus Week 4 rooting guide and what is John Schneider's worst trade?
The Seattle Seahawks worked out a few players this week, including a potential replacement for Nick Bellore. Not just as a linebacker…I mean all-things Nick Bellore.
Undrafted free agent rookie Abram Smith caught my attention last year when he rushed for 1,601 yards with 12 touchdowns at Baylor, an explosive season for a senior who had only carried the ball 12 times in his career prior to 2021. That’s because Smith had moved around the field a few times in his career and as recently as 2020 had made 48 tackles and recorded one sack as a linebacker.
A three-star running back recruit in 2017, Smith failed to move up the depth chart on offense through three seasons, so Baylor’s coaching staff moved him to the other side of the ball and at one point he led the team in tackles for four straight weeks. But when the time came to find a new starting running back last spring, coaches gave him another shot at offense and he was one of the best players on that side of the ball too.
I do think it is important to not overrate his stats as a running back at Baylor (it’s also a little odd that Matt Rhule, the head coach at Baylor for Smith’s first three years in the program, hasn’t re-connected with him), but he averaged 6.2 yards per carry and rushed for at least 115 yards on nine separate occasions.
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It’s surprising that Smith was not drafted, but he is not the type of player who comes in right away and plays—there is work to be done and his days of moving positions may not be over. Smith was signed by the Saints after the draft and did not survive final cuts, however there were positive reports about his play in camp and preseason. He also had a workout with the Texans this week, so Abram Smith could find a team soon. Getting him linked up with Bellore couldn’t hurt either.
It also has me wondering—as does this tweet about fullbacks from Baker Breadman—about players on the Seahawks who could thrive or contribute at other positions.
The player in question here is L.A. Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek, a seventh round pick in 2021 out of Notre Dame. The Rams have been using Skowronek in a variety of ways and he has been the team’s second-best wideout this season after Cooper Kupp…even out-playing Allen Robinson thus far. Skowronek has 10 catches for 107 yards, but more interestingly the 6’3, 224 lb gadget has also been lining up as a fullback/h-back/tight-end/whatever-you-need-back too.
It’s worth acknowledging when a receiver starts catching passes out of the backfield as a fullback. It’s another when that player is working for Sean McVay. That means that it could be the sign of an upcoming trend. Either because McVay started it or because McVay found it somewhere else and utilized it.
What I do know for sure is that it’s working right now and it’s helping a recent seventh round pick (who had some issues with drops last season) bring value to L.A.’s loaded (but underwhelming so far) receiver room. And it’s bringing more attention to the….RETURN OF THE FULLBACK POSITION! (echo)
We already know how much Kyle Shanahan likes his fullback. We’ve also seen his former offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel, do wonders with former Raiders fullback Alec Ingold this year.
The Ravens have one of the top offenses in the NFL and while Lamar Jackson deservedly gets all the attention, they also heavily utilize a fullback.
I have no evidence to support this, but it seems like more college offenses are utilizing not just fullbacks or multiple running backs—the option offense appears to be making a nice little comeback. Yes, this is something that Grayson McCall does exclusively. I also see options dominating Sundays at times and we recently saw the Seahawks employ four running backs in the backfield simultaneously. I could see Seattle favoring a quarterback who will excel in those read-option situations, not just the guy with the strongest arm or weirdest arm angles, because of Pete Carroll’s adoration for running the football.
And as we saw with the Rams, it’s possible that a fullback or additional backfield option already exists somewhere on the roster and he just doesn’t know it yet. Which players could be used in multiple offensive roles:
WR Dareke Young-to-FB: At 6’2, 224 lbs, with a 4.44 40-yard dash, Young projects perfectly into a dual-threat role. Young carried the ball 88 times for 658 yards with eight touchdowns over the 2018-2019 seasons.
WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Dee Eskridge-to-RB: I’m surprised we haven’t seen any runs from either of these receivers yet. I’m looking for those jet sweeps any day now.
G Phil Haynes-to-C: Seattle has worked out Haynes at center several times before with nothing to show for it. But they also recently brought back Joey Hunt for a workout, so it seems like Pete Carroll isn’t entirely comfortable with Austin Blythe and Kyle Fuller. The Seahawks situation at guard seems a mess and Haynes hasn’t been a part of the clean up yet.
RB Kenneth Walker-to-Slot WR: I wrote about this in the offseason—look for there to be a more blurred line between “RB” and “WR” with NFL teams. Teams may favor RBs who can regularly line up as slot receivers and Walker has the skills to get it done.
TE Will Dissly-to-FB: Dissly has lined up in the backfield from time to time already. At 6’4, 265 lbs, he’s a monster to have to deal with if you’re a linebacker coming through the lane. Dissly has one career carry for seven yards.
What are your thoughts? Who am I missing (other than Bellore) and what else could be done to help find new talents on offense among those already on the roster? Tell me!
What is John Schneider/Pete Carroll’s worst trade?
Another tweet to acknowledge: Is trading two first round picks for Jamal Adams the worst trade of the regime?
I understand this sentiment. But it’s not the answer for me. The way I see it, nobody questioned the Jets when they used the number six pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Jamal Adams. Three years later, as Adams should have been entering his prime, Seattle traded two first round picks for him—and they were under the impression both would be late first round picks.
Essentially, what if the Seahawks had traded pick 29 and a 2018 first round pick to move up to number six in the draft for Adams in 2017? A similar jump to the Falcons moving up for Julio Jones once upon a time. The Seahawks did have to pay Adams a large sum of money, but they would have had to do that (with fan encouragement to do so) if they had been the ones to draft Adams.
In my opinion, Seattle sacrificed one late first round pick to get Adams. The rest of what Adams/the Jets received is all part of the deal, you don’t get any player for free. This might not be agreeable—maybe you just don’t think Jamal Adams is worth that sacrifice—but I still wouldn’t say it’s close to the worst trade that the Seahawks have made. Jamal Adams is a good player that the entire NFL said was “worth” the 6th pick in the draft AND a large contract extension.
Instead, I think Pete Carroll’s ambivalence towards the center position, coupled with his insanely poor track record for not knowing how to utilize star players when Seattle makes those acquisitions, is what makes Max Unger+1st round pick for Jimmy Graham+4th round pick the worst trade for the regime.
From back-to-back Super Bowls to never being the same. Graham felt like a direct “Here you go, buddy” for Russell Wilson and he was a much worse weapon for the Seahawks than he was for the Saints, despite making two Pro Bowls and catching 16 touchdowns over his final two seasons in Seattle.
What do you say?
Week 4 Rooting Guide - The Schedule and who Seahawks fans should “root” against
These are my opinions on who to root for, but they won’t always be the right choices, so tell me in the comments who you are rooting for/against.
1-2 Bengals vs 3-0 Dolphins (TNF)
Root for: Bengals
Give Cincy another win, let’s get undefeated teams out of here.
1-2 Vikings vs 1-2 Saints
Root for: Saints
Jameis Winston in danger of missing this game and New Orleans plays Seattle in Week 5; Let’s not make the Saints quite so desperate next week.
1-2 Jets vs 1-2 Steelers
Root for: Jets
I could see the Steelers rebounding from a 1-3 start more than I could see Jets doing so.
1-2 Bears vs 2-1 Giants
Root for: Giants
I’m more terrified of the Giants drafting a QB in 2023 than I am the Bears.
1-2 Titans vs 1-1-1 Colts
Root for: Colts
Indy got really lucky against KC, they look like a terrible team to me and I believe they’re bad enough to lose 13+ games. They will draft a QB next year.
1-2 Chargers vs 0-2-1 Texans
Root for: Texans
Get Houston as many wins as possible!
2-1 Browns vs 1-2 Falcons
Root for: Falcons
Get Atlanta as many wins as possible!
1-2 Commanders vs 2-1 Cowboys
Root for: Commanders
Get Washington as many wins as possible!
2-1 Jaguars vs 3-0 Eagles
Root for: Jaguars
No more undefeated teams.
2-1 Bills vs 2-1 Ravens
Root for: Ravens
I’m not sure, I have no rooting interest here. Should I?
1-2 Cardinals vs 1-2 Panthers
Root for: Panthers
Carolina will have a new HC, GM, and QB in 2023. Get them some wins!
2-1 Broncos vs 0-3 Raiders (non-Seahawks game of the week)
Root for: Raiders
A Raiders win opens up the #1 pick and gives Denver a better draft pick to send to Seattle.
1-2 Patriots vs 2-1 Packers
Root for: Patriots
I’m feeling more sure that the Patriots are comfortable long-term with Mac Jones, despite his recent injury. But get them a win.
2-1 Chiefs vs 2-1 Bucs
Root for: Bucs
In the event that Tom Brady maybe does show his age this year, better to make sure Tampa Bay has won as many games as possible.
2-1 Rams vs 1-2 49ers
Root for: 49ers
A .500 NFC West couldn’t hurt, right? Maybe you see it differently. Let me know!
QB Survivor 2023
In case you’ve missed it, check out updates on QB Survivor 2023—a first-of-its kind contest to determine the one and only QB of the Future for the Seattle Seahawks in next year’s draft! 24 quarterbacks, 4 tribes, 1 winner: