JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks’ depth reminiscent of 2013 after perfect preseason

Sep 1, 2017, 2:15 PM
Terence Garvin is one of several key additions to Seattle's linebackers corps. (AP)...
Terence Garvin is one of several key additions to Seattle's linebackers corps. (AP)
(AP)

One of the keys for the Seahawks on Thursday night was to simply finish the preseason and not go into overtime.

The fourth quarter started with the Seahawks and Raiders tied at 10-10, and with the game going the way it was, it looked as though overtime was a real possibility. The Raiders got a field goal to take the lead, but backup quarterback candidate Austin Davis drove the Seahawks to a game-winning touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler and a 17-13 win.

O’Neil: Boykin struggles in final preseason game

What the Seahawks proved going 4-0 in the preseason is that this is probably the their deepest team since they won the Super Bowl in 2013. Sure, there are questions about the offensive line, but O-line coach Tom Cable has more talent to work with than he did last year.

Let’s look back at what stood out from the Seahawks’ preseason.

This might be one of the deepest groups of linebackers Pete Carroll has had. Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin and D.J. Alexander upgraded the position that already featured Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Dewey McDonald also moved over from safety to linebacker. Wilhoite, Garvin, Alexander and McDonald are excellent special teams players, as well. The Seahawks now have better speed and tackling ability at linebacker.

The pass rush is faster. Cassius Marsh’s advancement as an inside or outside pass-rusher gives the Seahawks at least four good rushers in their “Cheetah” package that includes Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Frank Clark. David Bass and Marcus Smith are interesting additions as edge rushers and special teams players. Third-round choice Nazair Jones also shows some potential as an inside pass-rusher, and Friday’s addition of one-time Pro Bowler Sheldon Richardson in the Jermaine Kearse trade only helps matters.

The preseason put the backup quarterback position in flux. Trevone Boykin looked as though he was going to win the job with two good performances in the first two preseason games. Mistakes, including bad throws and interceptions, plagued him over the next two games. All of the sudden Austin Davis, who is smart and steady, may be on the verge of beating him out for the roster spot.

We know the top four running backs who should make the roster. That would be Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and seventh-round pick Chris Carson. What we don’t know is how those backs will be rotated. Carroll hasn’t announced whether Lacy or Rawls will be the starter, but you figure it will be Lacy for the season opener in Green Bay against his former team. The preseason showed that the Seahawks have six backs with talent, but two – Alex Collins and Mike Davis – probably won’t make the roster.

Kasen Williams was the pleasant surprise at wide receiver. The former Washington Husky might have been the most improved player from 2015 to 2016, but a hamstring injury slowed him down last year. Williams jumped draft choices Amara Darboh and David Moore as well as 2016 seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler, and he probably had a hand in Seattle deciding to trade Kearse.

Depth has developed at cornerback. Even though the Seahawks lost cornerback DeAndre Elliott with an ankle injury on Thursday night, the Seahawks developed two decent outside corners in Shaquill Griffin and Pierre Desir. They also traded for cornerback Justin Coleman from the New England Patriots on Friday. Coleman was on the Seahawks practice squad in 2015 and might be a candidate for the slot if the Seahawks trade Jeremy Lane or don’t keep Tramaine Brock.

• The offensive line finished the preseason stable. Rees Odiahambo is set at left tackle, and the right side is getting better with Germain Ifedi at tackle and Mark Glowinski at guard. It’s a deeper group than last year.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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