What ESPN’s Mina Kimes will be watching closely with Seahawks

Aug 22, 2022, 5:54 PM

Seahawks Boye Mafe...

Seahawks pass rusher Boye Mafe runs past Chicago's Shon Coleman on Aug. 18. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The focus with the Seahawks has been on the quarterback battle throughout training camp, but that’s not likely to be the case once the season gets going. That’s because the future of the franchise will be built around other players on the roster.

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ESPN’s Mina Kimes, an analyst on NFL Live, always has her eyes on the Seahawks not just because of her job but also because she grew up a fan of the team. This year she’ll be watching the team in a different way, however, which she expects will be like a lot of Hawks fans.

“With a year like this, which is not quite a rebuild – I guess they’re calling it a retool – I think priority No. 1 is just hoping that you see development from the younger players,” Kimes said Monday when she joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. “Whether that’s a Boye Mafe or a Charles Cross, an Abe Lucas, who of course penalties aside looks very good in the preseason, you just want to see them continue to develop.”

There is a lot of speculation that the Seahawks will go after a quarterback in the NFL Draft next spring, which puts more importance on the players around whoever plays QB this season, whether that’s Drew Lock or Geno Smith.

“Nobody has any delusions, I think, that this is a team that’s going to make a deep playoff run, but you want to see the pieces in place so that next year if they draft a quarterback or go after one in free agency, it feels like the foundation is set for you for the next playoff team,” Kimes said.

Left tackle Cross, pass rusher Mafe and right tackle Lucas – Seattle’s top three picks from the 2022 draft – are all players Kimes is watching closely.

“You’re focusing on players and their development, and watching Seattle, there’s things to be encouraged by, there’s things to be frustrated by. I mentioned the two offensive tackles, aside from the false starts by Charles Cross, obviously really encouraging signs from both him and Abe Lucas both in pass protection and run blocking. Charles Cross, coming from more of that Air Raid, spread-them-out offense (at Mississippi State), something I wanted to see (was) how does he look in both the pass and the run game, and so far the early returns are really good.

“On the other side of the ball, defensively I think Boye Mafe, who’s their second-round pick this year, has definitely flashed some of that explosiveness and motor you saw in college. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me, the tackling (by the Seahawks in the preseason) has been pretty lackluster, so looking at some of these defensive players, the young corners, the young linebackers, you want to see improvement on that side of the ball.”

While the Seahawks aren’t expected to challenge for the NFC West championship this year, Kimes can’t help but be interested in following one of their rivals. That’s because the San Francisco 49ers, who will probably cut ties with Jimmy Garappolo soon, are switching to Trey Lance at QB a year after making the NFC title game.

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“I’m really keen on watching the San Francisco 49ers this year with Trey Lance as the quarterback just from a pure football nerd standpoint. I’ve really wanted to see, what does (49ers head coach) Kyle Shanahan do with a quarterback with a big arm and incredible rushing ability given that he’s one of the most brilliant run game designers in the history of the sport? We only got to see glimpses of it last year, and Trey Lance himself having played so little football in college is obviously still adjusting to the game. Just seeing a full season with him surrounded by what I think is really the best environment of any second-year quarterback, that’s gonna be really fascinating.”

You can listen to Kimes’ full conversation with Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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What ESPN’s Mina Kimes will be watching closely with Seahawks