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Seahawks need Bradley McDougald in 2019, but how will he bounce back from injury?

Seahawks' Bradley McDougald had offseason surgery to repair a partially-torn patellar tendon. (AP)

The Seahawks kick off training camp on July 25, and until then, Brock Huard and Mike Salk will count down the top 25 most intriguing Seahawks every weekday at 8:30 a.m. Their list continues with No. 16: S Bradley McDougald.

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Quick Look

• Originally signed with Seattle as a free agent in March 2017.
• Was Earl Thomas’ backup to start, but ultimately played at both free and strong safety.
• Signed a three-year, $13.95 million extension with Seattle in March 2018.
• Led all Seahawks safeties last year in passes defended (9), solo tackles (66), and forced fumbles (3). Tied for first in interceptions (3).
• Had offseason surgery to repair a partially-torn patellar tendon. Expected to return in training camp.

What Brock Huard is saying

“Free safety? Strong safety? I don’t know; it’s kind of like Marquise Blair the other day. Until they get this thing figured out, we don’t know. And (the absence of McDougald, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and Jarran Reed from the playing field) probably spoke to why the offense seemed to make a lot more noise and a lot more plays. This defense needs those voices back. And I think you could contend that a Legion of Boom and a defense run by Pete Carroll has to have a secondary that makes things happen. They cannot be bystanders. Maybe in some systems they can, but not this scheme and not this system. You need ball hawks. You need people with personality on the back end. You need people who have a voice. And I think in many ways there’s ample opportunity for Bradley McDougald to continue to enhance that in 2019…

“To me, it’s just all about his health. I don’t know if I’d put him quite on the Mike Iupati, D.J. Fluker list. But at his size, to come up and tackle and do everything he’s got to do, I sure how he can play 14 or 15 games.”

What the Seahawks are saying

“We’ve moved him around and liked him wherever we can play him and wherever we needed him,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “Because he’s such an adept coverage guy, a one-on-one guy, we have no restrictions playing him wherever we need to. So he will get matched up at times, we’ll put him in spots depending on who we’re playing, because of that flexibility.”

Why is he on this list?

“A couple of things on McDougald,” Mike Salk said. “Number one, he’s the third-best free agent signing under Pete Carroll and John Schneider (behind Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril). Most of the other really good acquisitions have not been through free agency. It’s just because of the value. People thought McDougald was a backup safety, and he’s turned himself into a starting-caliber player. He’s the one you trust most right now out of everybody in the secondary on this team, and that’s been the case for a couple of years… I would say, with Frank Clark gone, Bradley McDougald is the guy I expect to provide much of the leadership on this defense, much of the edge to this defense, and quite a bit of the swagger and fun factor that we’ve generally come to expect from a Seahawks defense.”

Brock and Salk’s 25 Most Intriguing Seahawks

No. 25: G Phil Haynes
No. 24: LB Shaquem Griffin
No. 23: T/TE George Fant
No. 22: WR David Moore
No. 21: RB/WR J.D. McKissic
No. 20: RB Travis Homer
No. 19: G Mike Iupati
No. 18: S Marquise Blair
No 17: LB Mychal Kendricks