Rookies who could have biggest impact on Seahawks’ success in 2023

May 16, 2023, 10:21 AM

Seattle Seahawks draft Olu Oluwatimi...

Michigan center lineman Olusegun Oluwatimi on Nov. 5, 2022. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Following a sunny Seahawks rookie camp on the shores of Lake Washington, we found ourselves answering a simple question on Bump and Stacy: Which of the Seattle Seahawks’ 10 drafted rookies could have the biggest impact on the team’s success in 2023?

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We’re not talking about who you want to see take off. The hope, for instance, is that cornerback Devon Witherspoon — the highest draft pick ever under John Schneider and Pete Carroll – becomes a stalwart in the secondary. Missing on a high pick hurts more than missing on a Day 3 selection. So yes, everyone hopes Witherspoon is impactful.

This question instead is about where the impact can be.

That half of the question led to two different answers on Bump and Stacy this week, and neither was a first-rounder.

Stacy: DT Cameron Young

Over the past two weeks, Bump and I have spoken to both Carroll and defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. Both had glowing reviews of Young, a fourth-round defensive tackle out of Mississippi State.

The Seahawks have high round picks and high-end contracts invested elsewhere on the roster. And while the question concerns only rookies, there are also rookies who will be watched a little more closely, like Witherspoon and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

But neither of those two play nose tackle, a position this team desperately needs with Al Woods gone and Bryan Mone coming back from an ACL injury. If Young is promising enough, the Seahawks will be looking at him for meaningful reps early – and with so little depth already on the defensive line, they may need those reps anyway. All the better if he ends up being this year’s hidden gem. You’d also love to see this team hit on a defensive lineman.

Bump: C Olu Oluwatimi

It might be a surprise that both answers are Day 3 picks, but is it any surprise they’re both in the trenches?

Strength on both lines is part of what’s kept the 49ers so competitive for years and what led the Eagles to the Super Bowl last season. The Seahawks are better on the offensive side of things right now, having found two stellar rookie tackles last season. Former third-round pick Damien Lewis can play either guard spot and free agent addition Evan Brown is the likely starter this fall. But center has been a revolving door for this team since Max Unger. There’s real intrigue with the potential of finding a long term answer there, especially one who can grow with both Abe Lucas and Charles Cross.

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