Mark Schlereth shares what he thinks of Seahawks entering 2023

Jul 29, 2023, 1:36 PM

Seattle Seahawks roster...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to take the field on Jan. 14, 2023. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Former NFL offensive lineman Mark Schlereth, a FOX Sports NFL analyst who’s also a host at Seattle Sports’ sister station in Denver, joined his former teammate Dave Wyman and his co-host Bob Stelton on Friday to talk about the NFL and, naturally, the Seahawks came up.

Schlereth dove into his opinion of where the Hawks stand heading into the 2023 season after a surprise playoff run last year.

“You look at the Seahawks, and one of the things they do is they really do a great job of not only picking out what they want the draft, but actually developing those players,” Schlereth told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob. “And I don’t think a lot of teams do probably give Pete Carroll and his staff enough credit for what they were able to do.”

A big part of the Seahawks’ success last year was the play of their rookie class. Of the nine-man draft class, five became regular starters by year’s end and two more were contributors, too.

“You look at (offensive tackles) Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas and (cornerback) Tariq Woolen and (nickel cornerback) Coby Bryant, (running back) Ken Walker. You got a draft class from last year that just flat-out produced and were big time. And Woolen obviously was a Pro Bowl player,” Schlereth said.

This year, the Seahawks had two picks in each of the first two rounds and 10 selections total. Schlereth thought this year’s draft was a bit of a continuation from 2022’s class.

“You look at this year’s draft and what they might be able to accomplish in this year’s draft continuing to build the back end of their defense,” Schlereth said, pointing to No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon, a cornerback. ” … It’s kind of the New England Patriots philosophy, if you will, of letting guys leave maybe before they’re completely finished, but letting them leave and developing young guys behind them. They really did a good job in the draft last year, and those players came out and played exceptionally well.”

Schlereth also pointed to quarterback Geno Smith and how he “surprised us all” last season when he became a Pro Bowler. Thanks in large part to Smith and the last two drafts, Schlereth thinks the Seahawks are “a really good football team.”

Ultimately, it comes down to the defense, which had its share of struggles last year, particularly against the run.

“They’ve gotta fix their run game. I was looking at some film earlier today of San Francisco just (running through them),” Schlereth said. “… (The Seahawks) were a big group up front, but getting reached, inability to get off blocks, inability to play the Niners when they shifted. And (the 49ers) created exactly what they wanted through tight end shifts, through fullback shifts, and really exploited the edge of the Seahawks defense. So they’ve got to fix that, obviously.

“With some younger players, some guys that have a little bit more movement. They’re gonna play that kind of 3-4 reduction front, either the 35 or 37 stuff, or five-man front. But they’ve got to get some guys inside that can get off blocks, that aren’t going to get reached, that can stack dudes, get off and make plays. And that’s what they didn’t have last year, and obviously that’s why there’s so many changes inside this year.”

Listen to the full conversation with Schlereth at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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