Seahawks’ biggest questions, Part 2: Are they forgetting something?
Earlier this week, I began looking at the Seahawks’ unanswered questions following the draft, including some about Jadeveon Clowney and their draft picks. You can read that post here.
As promised, there are more than those four initial questions. Here is Part 2.
Is there such a thing as too much competition?
It’s going to be hard to trim a roster down to 53 players when they can’t actually compete against each other on a field, let alone determining who actually plays. With that in mind, I asked Seahawks general manager John Schneider the question above last week on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant (listen here).
“The answer is no,” answered Schneider. “We’re going to acquire as many good players regardless of position as we possibly can. And you’ll see us continue to do that as we shape this roster. In a unique year, we’ve focused on people who don’t have to have their hands held as much as others would in previous years.”
I hope he’s right and that they have landed those kind of players. COVID-19 has dramatically altered the league’s landscape, especially when it comes to offseason programs. Young players are really going to have their work cut out for them. Learning a scheme from a ‘textbook’ is one thing. Actually getting a feel for how fast the NFL is compared to college? Another entirely.
Where will all the competition take place?
Time for some hastily-made competition power rankings!
• 1. Offensive line: There’s like 300 of them. (OK, 17.)
• 2. Tight end: I was surprised that the Seahawks drafted Colby Parkinson in the fourth round, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Greg Olsen signed a one-year deal. Will Dissly is coming off a torn Achilles. Jacob Hollister played well last season but he leaves a lot to be desired as a blocker. And Luke Willson’s had an unfortunate bout with injuries over the last few years.
• 3. Cornerback: Will Tre Flowers be able to hold off Quinton Dunbar for the No. 2 spot?
• 4. Nickelback: Ugo Amadi is the favorite but he won’t be given anything. Who else will be fighting for the spot? Could it be Marquise Blair?
• 5. Returner: Do the Seahawks still want Tyler Lockett performing those duties? Or do they turn it over to someone younger? Between Amadi, fourth-round pick DeeJay Dallas, and sixth-rounder Freddie Swain, they have three alternate options who took kicks to the house in college.
Who will win the Seahawks’ Thunderdome of O-linemen?
The only thing we know for certain? Duane Brown is the left tackle. After that, things get murky.
First off, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, and Germain Ifedi are gone, as is George Fant. Bare minimum, they’ll have to replace 60% of the offensive line, including the entire right side. And while they brought back last year’s left guard Mike Iupati, there’s a chance that he won’t be resuming duties either.
New to the mix? Third-round guard Damien Lewis, former first-round guard Chance Warmack, interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney, tackle Brandon Shell, and former first-round tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. They’ll join swing tackle Jamarco Jones, guards Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons, and last year’s fill-in center Joey Hunt as the most likely candidates to start on the offensive line.
NFL coaches hate that the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement limits offseason practice time. With COVID-19 disrupting the offseason even further, the Seahawks will have to be very careful determining how they divvy out practice reps at a crowded position.
Did the Seahawks forget something?
I think the Seahawks have been very cavalier about their running back situation this offseason. They seem very comfortable with Chris Carson’s recovery from a hip fracture and OK with Rashaad Penny likely starting the season on the PUP list after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of depth behind them.
Carson has a history of injuries: a torn ACL in high school, a broken ankle in 2017, minor hip issues in 2018, and the broken hip that ended his 2019. If Carson goes down, can the Seahawks’ running game rely on Dallas or Travis Homer? Would they turn to Marshawn Lynch again, or another veteran option? I hope it’s the latter, specifically Carlos Hyde.