Is David Hawthorne the Best Seahawks linebacker?

I am really going out on a limb here, but I think David “The Heater” Hawthorne may turn out to be the best Seahawks linebacker in the upcoming season. I DO NOT think he is the best linebacker on the roster, however, based on outside circumstances such as durability, confidence, legal and contract status, Hawthorne seems to have the most upside right now.

Lofa Tatupu is clearly the best linebacker and maybe the best player on the Seahawks roster… when he’s healthy. Tatupu missed a considerable amount of time last year with a significant injury and is already being bothered by a hamstring. Tatupu has always been known to be a General on the field. He has played with a violent tenacity delivering hits twice his size to opposing defenders on a regular bases throughout his career, however, that style of play tends to catch up to the smaller guys a little bit faster. I would never question his commitment and effort, however, his durability may start to become a concern.

Aaron Curry has already missed more preseason practices this year than last. At the beginning of his 2009 rookie campaign, Curry looked like he was going to have a monster season, but then Tatupu was injured and Curry’s role changed. Curry never had the chance to do what he does best, rush the passer. Instead he was constantly dropping into coverage and losing a little bit more confidence with each week. Curry had had 5 games with 3 or less tackles and only reached double digit tackles in 1 game last year. I expect Pete Carroll has big plans for Curry this year, however, I find that I am only HOPING for a big year from Curry whereas last year I was EXPECTING one.

Leroy Hill has had a rough two years concerning his brushes with the law and pending court date. And let’s not forget how great Tim Ruskell handled his contract negotiations by franchising him during the prime period of free agency only to remove the tag sometime later, and even some more time later sign him to a hefty long term contract. The whole thing looked extremely disorganized and gave the impression that The Seahawks used the, “fly by the seat of your pants” strategy when dealing with their free agents. Don’t believe me…? Steve Hutchinson. My point is that the Seahawks did not exactly roll out the Red Carpet for Hill’s long-term deal like they did for Tatupu. Factor in the public’s reaction to the pot and domestic violence charges, and you have a guy who might be wanting to start over in a new city. What do you think Detroit would give up for Hill? Before all his issues, I remember Hill as a run stopping machine who played mad and embarrassed some of the NFL’s most elite runners in big games. Hill was also capable of shutting down a premier wide receiver in the 2005 NFC Championship game when he was assigned to Steve Smith exclusively and held him to 5 catches for a mere 33 yards. I hope he can comeback, but Leroy has to get himself right before he can help the Seahawks.

David Hawthorne “The Heater” was easily the Seahawks’ best linebacker in 2009. He led the team with 117 total tackles also picking up 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. More than that, Hawthorne became a leader by example on and off the field. The Heater’s first start was week 3, and he responded with 16 total Tackles. and 1 interception. In week 9, The Heater had 2 picks against Detroit. For weeks at a time, The Heater seemed like the only thing keeping the Seahawks defense warm last year. Off the field, Hawthorne is rumored to have spent a great amount of time at Lofa Tatupu’s house going over the Seahawks’ defensive schemes. My favorite thing about Hawthorne is that he is slated to make $391,240 this season and reported to camp on time. This is a “contract” year for Hawthorne, and as much as I hate to say it, IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Especially when a guy is as underpaid as Hawthorne this season. Look for the Heater to turn it up even more in 2010, especially if his peers can stay healthy and out of trouble. More competition and less attention on game day coupled with a “contract” year may be the perfect situation for David Hawthorne to, once again, become the best Seahawks line backer in 2010. It would be best to leave the kitchen now.

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Tags: Aaron Curry Contract David Hawthorne Defense LeRoy Hill Linebacker Lofa Tatupu Seahawks

  • Pablo

    Good read Riley! What concerns me this year is the playing time and a new position. If Lofa Tatupu is healthy and playing at his best, then Hawthorne will have to be content with the OLB spot. If Leroy Hill is healthy and get through his troubles without a scratch, then it could possibly mean Hawthorne doesn’t get as much playing time as he would want. I agree with you. This guy needs to be on the field especially during a contract year. Most of the time players play their best during those years. I would imagine that Hawthorne will be nothing less. The depth chart on indicates that Leroy Hill is on the 1st string team while Hawthorne sits on the 2nd behind Lofa. Hopefully by September, Hawthorne is playing somewhere on the 1st team. I don’t care where he’s at! A player of that caliber and magnitude can’t be sitting on the bench during his contract year! You hearing me Pete?

  • HawkBlogger

    My only strong disagreement to your post is that you think it’s a stretch to call Hawthorne the best LB on the team, and that Lofa is perhaps the best player on the whole team. Lofa has been on a steady decline since his rookie campaign, with momentary flashes, but very little production. He and Hawthorne played the exact same position, behind the exact same line and Lofa averaged 5.3 tackles/game vs. 9.1 for Hawthorne. It’s not close. More here:

  • Riley Moore

    “My only strong disagreement to your post is that… Lofa is perhaps the best player on the whole team. Lofa has been on a steady decline since his rookie campaign, with momentary flashes, but very little production.”

    My point was that he may prove to be less durable. His stats actually increased during his 2nd and 3rd season when compared to his 1st. In other words, HE IMPROVED ON HIS ROOKIE SEASON. Rookie season: 104 tackles 2nd season: 122 3rd season: 109.

  • HawkBlogger

    You are right that is an overstatement to say Tatupu’s been in a steady decline since his rookie season, but I stand by the statement that his most impactful year was his rookie year. He added 4 sacks, and had 3 INT. He has not had more than 1.5 sacks in a season since then. His tackling was nearly flawless that year as well. Tatupu was not alone, in that LeRoy Hill has never come close to his 2005 impact when he had 7.5 sacks (no more 3 since). Hawthorne had 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 3 INT while only starting 10(!!) games last season. Tatupu has a lot to prove for me to admit he is anywhere close to the LB Hawthorne is.

  • Riley Moore

    I think the interesting thing with Hawthorne going into this season is how he reacts to the attention. After other teams watch the film, they will try to expose Hawthorne’s tendancies. I think this had a lot to do with your points concerning Tatupu. Whatever the case may be, I think we can both agree that Hawthorne has earned the right to be touted as the best linebacker on the team.