As long as this team still has Russell Wilson I think they have a shot to make the playoffs and possibly further under his leadership. I am shocked how little love he gets for being such a young quarterback who has led his team to two Super Bowls and one win. Even Eli Manning and Joe Flacco get more credit for their Super Bowl wins. In my opinion, at this juncture I think Wilson is a top 10 quarterback and may soon be higher if he continues to play at a high level. The main problem holding him back is their dreadful offensive line that does him absolutely no favors. Of course, this defense helps him a lot, but being such a savvy young player I just do not think Wilson gets the credit he deserves. Plus, as roster moves go I doubt he goes anywhere while I can see Sherman and the rest of the defensive players eventually moving else where. This season just for that reason to me is their last legitimate shot with this group to make the Super Bowl because windows close fast in the NFL and the Seahawks window is just barely open still.
As mentioned above I think Wilson is a stud of a quarterback and because he is a bit more athletic he constantly gets labeled as a running quarterback. Yes, he can move out of the pocket and kill you if you do not keep an eye on him when he gets out of the pocket. However, if you watch him he keeps his eyes down field and always looks to throw the ball to a receiver rather than run himself. I do think he tried to do too much last year because his line was terrible and his running game was inconsistent. The problem is I doubt this line gets any better for Wilson this year with a line consisting of Rees Odhiambo at left tackle, Luke Joeckel at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Mark Glowinski at right guard, and Germain Ifedi at right tackle. Yikes, I doubt Wilson can sleep well at night behind that line. I just do not understand this new NFL where offensive lines are so neglected by teams and they go crazy for the flashy receivers and running backs. Without a good line neither of those units will have any success and in Seattle the line occupies just 2% of the salary cap among their starters. That's not a recipe for success even with a good o-line coach like Tom Cable who has done a decent job with duct taping this line together. Their receivers are solid with Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson, and Lockett who create a nice diverse passing attack. They also still have Jimmy Nelson who to me has been disappointing after trading Pro Bowl center Max Unger for him, which to me was the start of their downturn to the line. Their running game to me is going to be the same injured and inconsistent bunch with Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Procise. Overall, I think this offense could be so much better if the Seahawks spent more resources on the line instead of using former basketball players, defensive ends, and first round busts.
This defense of course will be the better of the two units on this roster, but to me this may be the beginning of the end for their dominance. Of course they still sport one of the best secondaries with Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas at safety. Along with Richard Sherman at corner and a solid enough Jeremy Lane. The depth at corner is their only weakness, but I can see Shaq Griffin the rookie turning into a possible heir apparent to Sherman who is an up coming free agent. They even found solid safety depth with rookies Tedric Thompson, Michael Tyson, and Delano Hill who of course will not be as good as Thomas if he leaves in free agency, but at least the Seahawks are trying to develop possible replacements. Their linebackers are a nice strength with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright being two of the best in the league. The spot next to them is open for grabs, but very rarely are there three linebackers on the field for many snaps with teams running wide open offenses. I do worry about their pass rush up front that consists of Michael Bennett and not much else anywhere else. Cliff Avril is a nice player, but at his age and coming off an injury already I think he is going on the back end of his career. Then former second rounder Frank Clark has not proven the risk to take him was worth it. On the interior they have an old Ahtyba Rubin and run stuffer Jarran Reed. They were hoping Malik McDowell could give them an inside presence, but he is on the shelf for the year already. Overall, this line to me will be strained if anyone gets hurt and may make their secondary look more vulnerable than it has been in previous years.
In the end, I absolutely expect the Seahawks to win this division where the Cardinals, Rams, and 49ers are either going into rebuilding mode or trying to come out of it. None of them should cause any trouble outside of maybe a surprise lose to the Rams or Cardinals who play them well, but I think it will be a slim chance. The rest of their schedule is manageable with match ups against the Colts, Texans, Redskins, and Eagles at home and have match ups against the Cowboys and Jags on the road that they should win. Their tough match ups are road trips to Green Bay, Tennessee, and to the Giants where the East Coast trips can get to them like it has in the past. In the end, I expect them to have a strong 12-4 season due to their solid defense and with Wilson under center. If they lose any blockers however, I think it can be a huge detriment to their chance to make it far in the playoffs.
2 (3) - Malik McDowell DT - I mocked this selection to the Seahawks many times, though I expected them to get him with their original 2nd round pick instead of them getting their guy by trading back twice. To me the enigmatic talent with some baggage was the high upside type pick the Seahawks gamble with and if they could find a way to make him more motivated they may have landed that interior pass rusher they have been looking for. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe concussion that has him out indefinitely. So, we may need a bit until we see him make a real impact.
2 (26) - Ethan Pocic OL - Another selection I thought was a good pick for the Seahawks and actually had him mocked to them in the first round multiple times. I thought his versatility played right into what they look for in a blocker and not only that, but he has a bunch of talent to be a consistently good blocker. His size is a bit odd being too tall for a center and has too short of arms for playing tackle. I think he will be a stout guard sooner rather than later. They have him penciled in as a right tackle on their depth chart, but I hope they put him at right guard where his run blocking process would play up better.
3 (26) - Shaquill Griffin CB - I feel like the Seahawks are pretty predictable when mocking their draft since I had Griffin to them also a few times. His arm length, press coverage ability, and closing speed is something that the Seattle loves out of their corners. Plus, I think Sherman will be gone after this year since their cap space is getting crunched and I would rather keep Thomas over Sherman and his loud mouth. Griffin will probably out play Jeremy Lane for the outside job by the end of the year and could be the heir apparent to Sherman.
3 (31) - Delano Hill S - A nice depth pick for the safety unit that had at the time Chancellor and Thomas as up coming free agents. They smartly locked up Chancellor, but Thomas is still scheduled as a free agent this off season. Hill however, was not on my radar as a prospect and according to other analysts he is a nice physical in the box safety. He will probably be a special teamer to begin his career.
3 (38) - Nazair Jones DT - Another nice possible interior pass rusher here for the Seahawks. I liked Jones as a do it all kind of tackle who can give you a little pass rushing threat and can stop the run efficiently. I doubt he will be anything more than a rotational player in the end, but a nice one with enough upside to turn into a consistent starter.
3 (42) - Amara Darboh WR - If I were an NFL GM I would never draft a receiver coming out of Michigan. More often than not they never pan out like Braylon Edwards all those years back to Devin Funchess to Mario Manningham none of which, ever played up to their hype. Darboh to me will be along the same lines as Funchess as being too big to create separation at receiver and too small to be a tight end and block consistently. I think he will turn into a general bust who only lasts in the league for three years.
4 (4) - Tedric Thompson S - I thought it was odd that the Colorado corners received so much more love over the safety who was also part of one of the country's best passing defenses. He's a good all around talent who can cover and stop the run very well. His calling card is being a ball hawk and in my opinion he will turn into a better pick than Hill was the round prior. The only drawback is playing time unless they let Earl Thomas walk or he retires early like he mentioned last year.
6 (3) - Michael Tyson S - I do not understand their obsession with drafting safeties this year when they have more pressing needs on the offensive line. Tyson is another old school inside the box safety who can stop the run just like Hill. So to me this is a wasted throw away pick that might not even make the final roster.
6 (26) - Justin Senior OT - This ended up being a wasted pick since his knees have forced the Seahawks to put him on the IR and then place him on the waiver wire for other teams to take a shot on him. He does have potential, but with bad knees I doubt a team will take a chance on him.
7 (8) - David Moore WR - A nice depth receiver for a position that has been a bit of a mixed bag with health for the Seahawks lately. He can maybe work his way into the rotation if a few injuries do occur. He will obviously need to earn his cuts on special teams to make the team out of camp.
7 (31) - Christopher Carson RB - Running back has been a shaky position since Marshawn Lynch's brief retirement. Rawls and company have not been able to stay healthy to create a consistent running attack. Carson is a banger between the tackles and could maybe make the roster as a goal line back, but I doubt he makes the roster.
2018 Off Season:
I think the Seahawks did the right thing in the draft trading down and gathering a bunch of picks in the draft to start reloading their roster. With a lot of money dedicated to Wilson and their defensive studs they are limited in the money they can use to resign soon to be free agents or other free agents in future off seasons. I do expect them to try as hard as they can to keep Thomas instead of Sherman due to the safeties higher caliber of talent and ability to make a big impact. Plus, Thomas is not as much of a locker room headache as Sherman has been and I think this coaching staff is ready to be rid of him. The biggest key to me for this team is to retool this offensive line so Wilson is not running for his life and getting battered. Even if it is just an okay o-line Wilson can move the chains, but this to me may be the worst line going into the season. I also think they should find a new young running back to help balance out the offense and let Wilson defer the ball more often instead of trying to do everything on his own.
My 2018 Mock Selections:
1 (29) - Jordan Whitehead S Pittsburgh