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Wassell: How confident are we in each Seahawks position group?

Bradley McDougald and Justin Coleman will step up in the Seahawks' secondary. (AP)

I came across this NFL.com piece Thursday on the NFL’s deepest position groups, and before I even read it my guess was that the Seahawks would not be mentioned on the list.

I was right.

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Five years ago, Seattle’s secondary would have been at the top – and maybe the running game as well. It left me wondering how far away from being dominant any of these position groups are at this point. Let’s run through them and see how confident we are.

Rating Scale

Low: Question marks galore.
Moderate: We’ve seen enough to be hopeful.
High: There’s either proven talent or I’m just really optimistic.

Running back

I’m more excited about what a healthy Chris Carson and first-round pick Rashaad Penny might be able to do than I was about Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls last season. I’ll take something I’m unsure or optimistic about over something I’m sure will fail any day of the week.

Confidence Level: High

Offensive line

Two of the five positions are a certainty. Duane Brown (left tackle) and Justin Britt (center) are set in stone. Ethan Pocic (left guard) has shown improvement. Former Giant D.J. Fluker followed his OL coach Mike Solari to Seattle with big expectations and not much of a track record, although after speaking with several people in New York they seem to like his potential. Germain Ifedi has the furthest to go, but maybe he can start by cutting down on the holding penalties.

Confidence Level: Low

Wide receiver

Other than Russell Wilson and maybe Bobby Wagner, Doug Baldwin is the most reliably productive player on the team. The comfort of having him there makes me feel better about how the rest of this group shakes out. It would be nice if Tyler Lockett got back to his 2015 self and Amara Darboh found a way to get on the field. Plus, there’s no player I’m rooting for more than Brandon Marshall to have a bounce-back year from the nightmare that was 2017 in New York. He’s a good guy with a great career that deserves to ride it out on a high note.

Confidence Level: High

Defensive line

If Frank Clark wants a payday, this is the time to earn it. Flashes of brilliance and athletic ability are nice in your first few years. Now he needs to put it all together. He’s as close to a featured pass-rusher as anything the Seahawks have. Jarran Reed and Nazair Jones have shown themselves as good pieces and Dion Jordan is as good of a reclamation project as we’ve seen in recent years. Will they be able to pile up the sack numbers? I’m not sure.

Confidence Level: Moderate

Linebacker

Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are a rock-solid combination. One is an exceptional talent and the other has improved every year, turning himself into a Pro Bowler. Veteran players that you don’t have to worry about are a luxury on any team. Anything that Barkevious Mingo brings to this group is a bonus. For more on these guys, consult Dave Wyman on Twitter. (Editor’s note: Dave Wyman does not have Twitter.)

Confidence Level: High

Secondary

Lord knows what’s going on in Earl Thomas’s head. It’s entirely possible that even though he’s unhappy, his undying love for the game of football may supersede any financial needs he has and we’ll get the usual Hall of Fame-worthy year from him. The player with the title of “most pressure on him” goes to Shaquill Griffin. Good luck replacing Richard Sherman. Fair or unfair, the type of year that Sherman has in San Francisco will influence the perception of Griffin, regardless of his performance – which I expect to be a good one. As for how the rest of this group shakes out (Bradley McDougald, Byron Maxwell), there’s potential – a concept that the 2018 Seahawks are relying on at every turn.

Confidence Level: Moderate

Special teams

Sebastian Janikowski in any colors other than black and silver just seems odd. A back injury put him on injured reserve before the 2017 season began. Unfortunately, my gut feeling on Blair Walsh turned out to be correct last season. At least Janikowski isn’t directly tied to any infamous field goal attempts. I don’t know how to assess a punting competition because I’ve never seen one before. The fact that Seattle traded up in the draft to get Michael Dickson means it’s his job to lose. It’s a shame that kickoff returns have been minimized because watching Lockett do his thing a few years ago was the most exciting thing about the second half of the Pete Carroll era.

Confidence Level: Low

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson is the most electrifying player in the sport. I don’t care who the backup is.

Confidence Level: High

Coaching

It’s still Pete Carroll. He’s proven time and time again that he knows what he’s doing, even when the rest of the world doubts him (except that one time). Between he and new defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., the defense should be in good hands. New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is interesting because as a member of the Jets and Rams coaching staffs, he was known as a run-only guy. There’s no doubt we’ll see plenty of that, but will he be as creative as some say he can be in the passing game?

Confidence Level: High

So there ya go. It’s a mixed bag at best, but there’s plenty to build on. I’ll take your comments off the air.

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