Seahawks season preview: Jim Moore ranks Seattle’s 11 position groups
How would you rate the Seahawks’ position groups going into the 2019 season? Here’s my stab at it.
Russell Wilson is a top five player at his position and the best quarterback in franchise history. Those two things aren’t really debatable anymore. And Geno Smith looks to be one of the better backups in the league.
Bobby Wagner is the NFL’s best middle linebacker, and Mychal Kendricks is one of the top outside linebackers. K.J. Wright is in the twilight of his career but can still be an impact player. If Wright falters or any of the other starters suffer injuries, Cody Barton will be ready to take over.
3. Defensive line
Narrowly edges the offensive line in these rankings after the acquisition of Jadeveon Clowney. Seahawks now appear to have one of the better pass-rushing combinations in the league with Clowney and Ziggy Ansah. Of course, this is predicated on both players being healthy. Also like the potential for a vastly improved run defense with Poona Ford and veteran Al Woods manning the middle of the line. Clowney’s a good run defender too. Plus Jarran Reed will be back from his six-game suspension next month, further solidifying the D-line and providing another pass-rusher.
4. Offensive line
Helped Seahawks lead the league in rushing last year. Only downside: The O-line needs to do a better job of protecting Wilson this year. Wait, that’s not the only downside, there’s this too – starting guards Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker are injury prone and will be fortunate to play 10 games each.
Michael Dickson was an All-Pro in his rookie season, proving that he was worth a fifth-round pick. This guy does magical stuff with his right foot.
Free-agent acquisition Jason Myers had a Pro Bowl season for the Jets in 2018. The Seahawks, who had him in training camp last year, should have kept him instead of Sebastian Janikowski but made up for it by getting him back. Kicking problems that have troubled the Seahawks the last two years should end with Myers here.
7. Running backs
You could argue that this position group should be rated higher since Chris Carson is one of the more productive backs in the league, but Rashaad Penny lowers the ranking until he shows he was worth a first-round pick in the 2018 draft. C.J. Prosise would also raise the ranking if you could count on him being available. And the Seahawks must think a lot of rookie Travis Homer because he beat out J.D. McKissic for a roster spot.
8. Tight ends
Will Dissly is listed as the starter, but he’s coming off a torn patellar tendon. Nick Vannett has never truly met expectations of a third-round draft choice. And Ed Dickson is on the injured reserve and can’t return until the ninth game of the season. George Fant’s the wild card here and should be fun to watch if the Seahawks throw to him.
Another debatable spot in the rankings, but I’m not sold on starters Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin as elite corners. They strike me as being passable thus far, but it’s early in their careers. I really like rookie Ugo Amadi as a possible starter at the nickel corner spot, and Neiko Thorpe is a mainstay on special teams.
Bradley McDougald is an above-average strong safety, but I’d venture to say that Tedric Thompson is a middle-of-the-road free safety who could be challenged by rookie Marquise Blair at some point this season. Lano Hill made the team but doesn’t help the safeties’ ranking.
11. Wide receivers
Tyler Lockett is the only sure thing in this group. DK Metcalf arrives with plenty of hype but he had an injury-plagued career at Ole Miss. Jaron Brown is not a No. 2 receiver but he’s expected to be one here. David Moore is out for the first game and maybe more with a broken arm. There are questions about him even when he’s healthy. Gary Jennings is lucky to have made the team. In my mind, rookie John Ursua, a seventh-round pick, has a better chance to be the No. 2 receiver than Brown.
More from Moore: Seahawks may regret not adding to WR corps