Rost: 2 top Seahawks defenders make predictions for Week 1

Sep 8, 2023, 9:44 AM

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks makes a reception on Sept. 12, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The return of the NFL season has already brought one surprise: the Lions’ 21-20 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, the latter of whom hadn’t lost a season opener since 2014. Few people called Detroit’s win, but those who did had a chance to revel not only in the win but in their own prediction. Because let’s face it: calling your shot is sometimes just as fun as the heart-pumping, fast-paced NFL action itself.
What Julian Love said about Seattle Seahawks’ secondary before Week 1

During this week’s episode of The Huddle, we asked two Seahawks guests, Riq Woolen and Julian Love, to make a prediction for Week 1’s matchup against the Rams.

Riq Woolen’s prediction for Week 1

We asked Woolen to make a prediction for any player besides himself. His answer?

“DK. I believe he’s gonna go for 100 yards this game,” Woolen said.

No disrespect meant to the Rams — we threw out 100 receiving yards as an option for a prediction — but let’s take a closer look at the Rams’ secondary. Because a big day on offense could be in store, after all.

The Rams and Seahawks are two of the youngest teams in the NFL, but the Rams secondary is especially inexperienced. Gone is All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey, now with Miami. In his place is a combination of Cobie Durant (2022 fourth rounder), Ahkello Witherspoon and Derion Kendrick (2022 sixtth rounder). Jordan Fuller and Russ Yeast (2022 seventh rounder) are the starting safeties, alongside backup John Johnson.

The Rams allowed the 12th-most passing yards per game last season (though that was still on a defense with a few now-departed veterans). Pro Football Focus has Kendrick as the second-worst graded corner in 2022 (43.7). Making matters worse for the defense as a whole, PFF also has the Rams with the lowest-ranked linebacker unit.

As a secondary, the Rams feel like a group primed for an explosive game from Seahawks receivers (and if Smith didn’t spread the ball around as much as he does, Metcalf would be an easy Week 1 start for fantasy owners). As a team, they’re tougher to predict. They’ve got a fortified offensive line and a returning pair of stars.

“I think the question (of how good they’ll be) depends on whether you’re asking externally or internally,” Rams play-by-play voice JB Long told The Huddle Thursday. “Internally they’ve had this kind of steady, balanced swagger that makes me think they have something up their sleeve. And I believe the Rams with Sean McVay back in a good place, with Aaron Donald on the field, with Matthew Stafford instead of John Wolford or Baker Mayfield quarterbacking against the Seahawks, they have every reason to believe they are going to be a team that can contend in an NFC that’s wide open. Whether or not that belief in themselves is validated by the roster they have with 15 rookies, many of whom you’ll see on Sunday, remains to be seen. But it feels like they’ve got something up their sleeve, I just don’t know what that is.”

Julian Love’s 2023 prediction for the defense

Seahawks safety Julian Love opted to look a bit further ahead than Week 1 and instead made a season-long prediction.

“I’m not gonna go individual, I’ll go defense,” Love said. “I think we’re gonna be top five in turnovers in the league this year. That’s a mark that I think with the talent we have is attainable. I think that’s what we see ourselves doing.”

The Seahawks have evert reason to believe their secondary can be their biggest strength defensively this season. They just need to get healthy, first. Safety Jamal Adams and corner Devon Witherspoon, the latter of whom returned to practice this week, remain sidelined.

The Seahawks were 10th in total takeaways last season (25) thanks to a standout rookie campaign from 2022 fifth-rounder Riq Woolen, who tied as a league leader in interceptions. Quandre Diggs continued his consistent production, taking four picks for his fifth consecutive season with at least three interceptions. Starting nickel Coby Bryant meanwhile had four forced fumbles.

As far as what a top-five team would look like, that number is closer to 30. Dallas led the league in total takeaways last season with 33 (16 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles). Rounding out the top five were the Patriots (30), 49ers (30), Bills (27) and Texans (27).

Catch the first hour of The Huddle at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Mark Sanchez: ‘So much meat on the bone’ for Seahawks in 2023
• K.J. Wright’s Seattle Seahawks predictions for 2023 season
• Huard: The 2 surprises from Seattle Seahawks’ Week 1 depth chart
• GM Schneider: Seahawks’ most improved position is DBs
• NFL Network’s Wyche: Chris Jones to Seahawks ‘would make a lot of sense’
• In Seahawks return, Bobby Wagner still feels at top of his game
• Rost on Seahawks: Making the case for each team to win NFC West
• Huard: Why is Seattle Seahawks’ ‘home run’ Geno deal now a ‘grand slam?’

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