Moore: Ranking the Seahawks’ position groups post 2020 draft
How would you rate the Seahawks’ position groups now that the draft is over?
I’ll take a shot at it, from worst to first:
10) Defensive tackles: Still mildly surprised they re-signed Jarran Reed off of the lackluster season he had, but they still believe he can be closer to the 10.5-sack player that he was in 2018. I have my doubts. They’ve also got Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, Demarcus Christmas and a few swing guys who play inside and out but will no doubt add a veteran free agent like they have in the past. This position was part of a big problem last year – stopping the run.
9) Defensive ends/edge rushers: Should be better than last year with free-agent additions Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa and draft additions Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. Pete Carroll is also expecting improvement from L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green. Maybe Shaquem Griffin can help too. From post-draft comments, Carroll sounded like he’s good to go with this group. But Seahawks need to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney or get one of the remaining free-agent pass rushers to get this defense back to above average or at least average again.
8) Offensive line: Possibly four new starters to go with left tackle Duane Brown in 2020. They’ve got competent contenders to replace released starters Justin Britt at center and D.J. Fluker at right guard. Free-agent acquisition Brandon Shell should be an upgrade from Germain Ifedi at right tackle. No one but Brown jumps out from a line that, for the most part, has run-blocked well but allowed Russell Wilson to be sacked nearly 100 times the past two years.
7) Running back: I love Chris Carson, and we finally saw some tantalizing glimpses from Rashaad Penny last year, but they’re both returning from injuries. Their backups are youngsters – Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. Still feel like they need to add a veteran to this group, and Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman are available candidates.
6) Tight ends: They’ve certainly got a lot of them, but what do Greg Olsen and Luke Willson have left? There are questions about Will Dissly too, coming off his second major injury in as many years. I probably like Jacob Hollister more than the Seahawks do. If they felt all that comfortable about this position, they wouldn’t have drafted two tight ends, Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan, rookies who could be part-time contributors.
5) Linebackers: Yeah, I know their first-round choice Jordyn Brooks is being added to an already good group featuring Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright and a perceived up-and-comer in Cody Barton. So maybe rating the linebackers fifth is not giving them enough credit. But Wagner did not play to a level warranting $18 million a year when his extension kicks in this season. And Wright is still effective but turns 31 in July. Also rating this group in the middle of the pack because of the poor run defense and hoping Brooks won’t make Carroll feel like he can play so much base defense again this year.
4) Cornerbacks: Love the trade for Quinton Dunbar, who will likely replace Tre Flowers at right cornerback. Everyone else seems to love Shaquill Griffin more than I do. The metrics say he’s a good left cornerback. The lack of interceptions – 31 games in a row without a pick – say that he’s not as good as the metrics say he is. If Flowers loses his job to Dunbar, could he compete for playing time with Ugo Amari at the nickel spot?
3) Safeties: I’ll second guess this high rating before you do. But Quandre Diggs made a huge difference when he took over for Tedric Thompson at free safety – the Seahawks produced 15 takeaways in his first give games as the starter. And Bradley McDougald wasn’t terrific but still good enough to hold off Marquise Blair at strong safety. Improved safety and cornerback play should increase sack total from a year ago even if the Seahawks don’t add another pass rusher. The Seahawks didn’t draft a safety, an indication that they like who they have. Undrafted free agent Chris Miller from Baylor is a possible sleeper – Brock Huard calls him an “absolute heat-seeking missile.”
2) Wide receivers: What? Rating the receivers the second-best position group? When you’ve got so-so third-receiver candidates in David Moore and Phillip Dorsett along with John Ursua, in his second year, and rookie Freddie Swain? Yep, rating them this high because of the firepower from Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, one of the best tandems in the league.
1) Quarterback: Russell Wilson is a future Hall of Famer and still firmly in his prime at 31. He’s the reason the Seahawks are Super Bowl candidates every year. And you’re right, I like the possibility that a Coug, Anthony Gordon, could be his backup this year even if it’s more likely that they re-sign Geno Smith.