Which young players are Seahawks pinning the most hope on in 2020?
The Seahawks didn’t make a large splash this offseason as many expected they would and now, the thought is the team will be banking on its younger guys to develop into impact players this upcoming season.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy has said multiple times this week that he thinks the Seahawks are relying on hope for the 2020 campaign more than they have in previous years. He joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Friday morning and, sticking with the hope theme, was asked which young players Seattle is hoping will become a true impact player that directly ties into the team’s success.
“Realistically to pin their hopes on, they are going to have to count on quite a few of these guys,” he said.
Heaps started on the defensive side of the ball, where the Seahawks were poor last year, giving up the sixth-most yards and 11th-most points last season. One 2019 draft pick could play a major factor if he gets on the field, Heaps said.
“You look at Marquise Blair and you have Pete Carroll talk about how they’re looking to find a role for him, that they’ve mapped out a role for him, and ultimately, you hope that Marquise Blair can answer the challenge because of his 4.4 speed, his physicality, his playmaking ability that he showed and displayed in short and limited times in being out there on the field,” he said.
Blair, a second-round pick last year, started a few games last season before trade acquisition Quandre Diggs was healthy enough to take the field. From that point on, he played primarily on special teams. A hard hitter, many hope that Blair can surpass veteran Bradley McDougald at strong safety, but if he can’t, Carroll said they’ll look at playing Blair at nickel corner.
The area on the Seahawks’ roster that has been under the microscope the most since last year is pass rush. The team racked up just 28 sacks in 2019, which was tied for the second-fewest sacks in the league. With Jadeveon Clowney having not re-signed – at least not yet – recent draft picks and even rookies will need to produce in order for the defense to improve.
“You’re also looking at (2019 first-round defensive end) L.J. Collier taking a huge step forward. (2018 third-round defensive end) Rasheem Green is another one,” Heaps said. “And then you are going to have to rely on some of these young rookies, too. Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor, specifically, you need those guys to contribute for you as young rookies and that’s going to be an interesting position because as we have come to learn over the years and time is that it’s very difficult to count on rookies at the defensive line position to have them immediately contribute if they’re not necessarily a top-10 or top-15 pick.”
While the defense will likely be under the most scrutiny in 2020, Heaps did say a young member of the offense will likely be thrown into the fire and need to show results out of the gate.
“Damien Lewis, their (2020) third-round pick, they need him to be a bona fide guy,” Heaps said. “They need him to be mature and physical and tough. In a limited offseason, it’s going to be extremely difficult to make that transition as a young rookie offensive guard to step in Day 1 at the NFL level and really contribute at a high level, but they need it to happen with the decisions that they ended up deciding to make across that offensive line.”
Lewis is seen as a favorite to start at right guard after the team released veteran D.J. Fluker in order to clear up some cap space.
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