Where will Seahawks improve the most? It’s a battle between 2 positions
With NFL free agency largely quieted down, it’s worth taking the time to look at what the Seahawks have done this offseason and where they could take a step forward next season.
Friday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant, co-hosts Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant took turns explaining their choices for the area that could see the most improvement for the Seahawks in 2020, and they fell on opposite sides of the ball with their answers.
Let’s break down what they had to say.
Paul Gallant’s pick: Seahawks’ tight ends
Seattle’s first notable move after the end of the 2019 season was the signing of veteran tight end Greg Olsen, and he’s far from the only transaction at the position the team has made. Seattle also drafted a pair of tight ends in April (Stanford’s Colby Parkinson in the fourth round and LSU’s Stephen Sullivan in the seventh), re-signed Luke Willson and brought back Jacob Hollister from restricted free agency. And then there’s the fact that Will Dissly, who has had stellar production in the limited time he’s been healthy in his two pro seasons, is expected to be fully recovered from last year’s season-ending Achilles injury in time for the 2020 campaign.
It’s not just the position itself that Gallant says will be the most improved, but the offensive formation that the state of the tight end position lends itself to.
What Paul said: “You might have in your passing game the four best that you could have possibly have in terms of when you go into 12 personnel – which means that you have two tight ends, you have two wide receivers, one running back – with (wide receivers) Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf plus a healthy Greg Olsen and a healthy Will Dissly, that’s right up there. Maybe the Chiefs, the Bucs can argue that they have a better group, the Rams could maybe say they’re on the same page, the Browns if you really want to get crazy. But that’s where I think that they got best. In the 12 personnel that they probably want to run a lot of so that they can run the football but also pass, they’re going to be a very, very difficult matchup for a lot of teams in the league. Teams are going to have to figure out whether or not they want to run their base defense against them so that they can match up size-wise with the tight ends that the Seahawks will have out there, or they’re gonna have to decide, ‘Well, we can’t really cover these guys who size-wise are so big, so we’re gonna have to put our nickel personnel out there,’ which would maybe make it easier to run the football. If there’s an area that I can say that they did get better at, I definitively can say that.”
Danny O’Neil’s pick: The secondary
This may seem like an odd choice, but there is logic behind it. O’Neil thinks that while the trade acquisition of cornerback Quinton Dunbar is the lone key addition to the position group, it’s more about how he thinks Seattle’s returning defensive backs will come along in 2020.
Chief among them is safety Quandre Diggs, who burst onto the scene in the middle of the 2019 season after coming over in a trade from the Detroit Lions and is now entering his first full year with the Seahawks. But there’s also second-year players Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi, who Seattle chose in the 2019 NFL Draft with second- and fourth-round picks, respectively.
Dunbar, who was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the second-best cornerback in the NFL last season, is expected to compete with incumbent starter Tre Flowers for the corner spot opposite Shaquill Griffin, though there is certainly a question about that following his arrest and charges stemming from an alleged armed robbery last month in Florida. O’Neil has been following the details of the case (as has Gallant) and thinks Dunbar will be able to play in 2020, however.
What Danny said: “It’s hard to take much of what has happened (with Dunbar’s case) at face value. … I don’t think there’s going to be long-term availability questions with him. None of us are in position to say that, but it certainly sounds like the fact that he’s back working out with the team, even though it’s virtually and he’s in Florida, that he’s going to play a role in the secondary this season – a significant role. I think with the addition of him, the competition that creates with Tre Flowers, the depth that that creates, and then you combine with the fact that Diggs is going to spend a whole season with them and Blair will have had an entire offseason and he’ll be in his second year, I just feel that their secondary is going to be the biggest area of improvement.”
This is just a sampling of the full conversation from Danny and Gallant, which you can hear beginning at the 24:50 mark in this podcast.
Further reading on Seahawks TEs and secondary
• DeAngelo Hall: Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin could be a top CB duo
• Mike Salk: Seahawks need to let Marquise Blair play safety, not nickel corner
• Pete Carroll says Seahawks may use more nickel defense in 2020
• Jake Heaps: Why Greg Olsen will lead Hawks tight ends in catches