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With draft complete, what is Seahawks’ biggest question mark?

Apr 30, 2024, 3:01 PM

Seattle Seahawks Buffalo Bills Tyrel Dodson Pittsburgh Steelers 2022...

New Seattle Seahawks linebacker Tyrel Dodson celebrates while playing for Buffalo in 2022. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

(Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Under new coach Mike Macdonald, the Seattle Seahawks made major changes at inside linebacker this offseason.

Seahawks ’24 NFL Draft Breakdown: A look at all 8 Seattle picks

Seattle parted ways with its two starting inside linebackers, moving on from franchise icon Bobby Wagner and former first-round pick Jordyn Brooks. The Seahawks replaced them with a pair of free agents, signing former former Buffalo Bills starter Tyrel Dodson and former Miami Dolphins starter Jerome Baker to one-year deals. They also selected UTEP linebacker Tyrice Knight in the fourth round of the NFL Draft this past weekend.

With the dust settled from free agency and the draft, where does Seattle stand at inside linebacker now?

Stacy Rost and former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus discussed the status of the position group Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“They had big questions about linebacker after moving on from Bobby and Jordyn, and after the draft and after free agency still do,” Rost said. “And that’s gonna be the story of training camp. Now you and I and everyone else knows exactly what we’re going to be focusing on when we start this thing. Is Tyrice Knight playing for playing time? Is Dodson solid? How’s Baker doing?

“We’re going to be looking at these names knowing how important (they are) to Mike Macdonald’s defense. Does he have the pieces he needs to have the defense he wants, or to have the groundwork for it? Is this a need that we’re going to have heading into the 2025 NFL Draft? I was hoping it was a question that could have been solved in free agency and the draft, but it just wasn’t.”

Dodson had a breakout season last year with Buffalo, posting the highest Pro Football Focus grade of any linebacker in the NFL. However, he was on the field for just 51% of the Bills’ defensive snaps and has just 15 career starts over four seasons. Baker made 82 starts in six seasons with Miami, but finished 41st out of 82 qualified linebackers in PFF grading last year.

“If there’s any question on this defense right now, it’s the linebacker spot,” Bumpus said. “So, did they address it? They addressed it. Did they find the replacement for Jordyn and Bobby? No, I don’t think so. I think they found (players) who they like and who they are up for developing to see if they can be the replacement. That’s why Baker’s on a one-year deal, because they’re not sure. That’s why Dodson’s on a one-year deal. Any of these guys can impress and show up and be the guy, but we’re just not sure because we haven’t seen much of them.”

Bumpus compared it to the construction currently taking place at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“Their baggage claim and all that stuff, it’s functional,” Bumpus said. “It’s still usable, but it’s under construction. That’s how I look at the linebacker spot. … This defense is still going to be functional. I think you’ve done a good job with the D-line. The back end is going to be good. The defense gonna be all right, (but) how violent and how much production can you get at that linebacker group? I don’t know.

“I knew what I was gonna get out of Jordyn Brooks. I knew I was gonna get a guy who was decent in coverage with those deep crosses going across the middle (and) a guy who was gonna fly to the football and play with intensity. I knew with Bobby Wagner you were gonna get a smart football player who was gonna be where he needs to be. … Whether you liked it or not, you knew what you were gonna get. With this group, you just don’t know.”

Listen to the full conversation from Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Bump and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports.

More Seattle Seahawks draft coverage

• Lefko: The message the Seahawks’ 2024 draft class sends
• Salk: With draft done, what we should expect from these Seahawks
• Rost: Seahawks’ future still relies heavily on previous draft classes
• What experts are saying about Seahawks’ draft class
• AP NFL Draft grades: How did Seattle Seahawks, NFC West rivals fare?

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