DANNY AND GALLANT

Gallant: What Seahawks should do next after shoring up defensive line

Mar 27, 2021, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:16 pm
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Pete Carroll's Seahawks make big moves along the defensive line this week. (Getty)
(Getty)

After Thursday’s Seahawks moves, I felt relieved, relaxed, and ready for a take-cation.

Rost: Three thoughts on the Seahawks’ big D-line shuffle

In bringing back defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Seattle was able to keep the man whose arrival marked a defensive transformation – at a discount. And after an entire offseason wondering if the Hawks would bring back Jadeveon Clowney (and another the year before when I was still in Houston wondering if he’d be back with the Texans), I’m thrilled to know I’m not in for another summer of “Groundhog Day”-esque radio. Those repetitive days of “Is Clowney coming home?” radio felt a lot more like Tom Cruise’s experience in “Live, Die, Repeat.”

Barring a new deal for linebacker K.J. Wright, I’m guessing there won’t be many headline-worthy Seahawks acquisitions before the NFL Draft. I like that they stuck to their traditional process, opting for names like Gabe Jackson, Kerry Hyder, Gerald Everett, Akhello Witherspoon (not to mention re-signing Chris Carson) instead of swinging for the fences on big money players like Joe Thuney and Kenny Golladay.

But for all those moves, they’ve taken a bit of a step back defensively after cornerback Shaquill Griffin signed with the Jaguars and defensive tackle Jarran Reed was released.

With the NFL Draft, post-June cuts, and surprise preseason releases ahead of us, we’re far from seeing the ’21 Hawks in their final form. Here’s what I’m hoping for the remainder of the offseason:

1. Sign a veteran (and potential starter) cornerback.

The NFC West is a quarterback arms race. The 49ers just made a trade to upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo. The Rams traded for Matt Stafford. The Cardinals’ Kyler Murray should be a better quarterback next year. And the Seahawks are trying their best to keep Russell Wilson – the Skynet of NFC West QBs – from turning on them.

I like D.J. Reed, but it’s a little too optimistic for my taste to go into next season assuming he’ll be able to duplicate his stellar ’20 at cornerback for Seattle in a division that’s upgrading at quarterback. And it may be a naïve to believe Akhello Witherspoon – like Reed another former Niners cornerback – would join Reed to form a starting tandem of Hawks cornerbacks that played for San Francisco within the past year.

The Seahawks need at least one more veteran option to compete for a starting position. My guess? It’ll be Quinton Dunbar, especially since there doesn’t seem to be much interest in him from other teams in free agency.

2. Draft a wide receiver.

The Seahawks struck gold when DK Metcalf fell into their lap at the end of the second round in 2019. And while they don’t have a first-round pick, there’s a chance that another great receiver in another (supposedly) loaded draft class could fall into their lap at the back of the second round. Freddie Swain showed promise as a rookie in 2020, but as Kansas City’s shown over the last couple of seasons, you can never have enough offensive weapons.

3. Draft at least one offensive lineman.

Given their lack of early draft picks, it’s unlikely that the Seahawks will be able to find an immediate starter in the draft like they did last year with guard Damien Lewis. Still, I’m of the belief that you draft at least one offensive lineman in every draft. You’re unlikely to draft the next Duane Brown towards the back of the draft, but you may as well buy a lottery ticket.

Follow Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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Gallant: What Seahawks should do next after shoring up defensive line