In observance of Keith’s weekend of lists, I’ve brought to light 5 possibly forgotten Seahawks players who could allow more versatility in the draft. This article is also kind of a catch-all for a couple other thoughts: the Super Bowl and Tez’s Hall of Fame bid.
He’s a relative unknown among casual Seahawks fans. Personally, I’ve been high on Taua since scouting his college teammate Colin Kaepernick last year. The Bills picked him up as a UDFA but was claimed by the Hawks nine days after being released from Buffalo. He was cut by the Seahawks as well but re-claimed when Kentwan Balmer was released. He’s currently signed on a futures contract.
Taua is 5’10”, 213lbs but only ran a 4.6 forty yard dash at the combine. His college highlight tape is a collection of long runs, but he’ll neither get the huge gaps to run through nor will that “breakaway” speed translate against superior competition in the NFL. What he does possess is excellent pass protection, very good pass catching ability in underneath routes, and a bruising, pounding skill set similar (albeit less violent) to Marshawn Lynch. He averaged 6.5 yards/carry over four seasons with Nevada and in one preseason game with the Hawks ran 46 yards on 9 carries (5.1 avg) and a TD against Oakland.
He’s a durable back with immense lower body strength, and, in my opinion, would be an excellent third down complement to Lynch. He should get a long look in training camp.
In his end of season press conference, Pete Carroll reminded us that Dexter Davis is still waiting to show what he’s got. Davis’ ability obviously won’t prevent PC/ JS from drafting a superior talent like Courtney Upshaw but it could allow the front office to spend later round picks addressing depth at other positions like tight end or safety (where starters aren’t needed but promising depth is sparse).
I’m intrigued by his potential, as he was a very good special teamer and flashed pass rush ability in his first two preseason games (sack vs. TEN, sack/ fumble vs. GB). He had a solid yet unspectacular 2010, playing special teams and situational DE, but has been on IR nearly the entire 2011. It will be fun to see him compete with whomever Pete drafts and it’s a storyline I’m sure we’ll follow closely next year.
3) Jameson Konz H-Back (sort of)
Konz is another 2010 draft pick whose career thus far has been sidetracked by injuries. He sat on IR the entire 2010 season with a hip injury, was cut in 2011, re-signed to the practice squad, played special teams in one game against the Giants this year, then tore his ACL and has been on IR since.
He’s a guy Pete has kept around based purely on intrigue and potential. He doesn’t have a set position, as he’s been used at TE, DE, and LB, but his potential is similar to Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots, whom we’ll get to see in a few hours in the Super Bowl.
Konz as an H-back, that is, a blocker and receiver from the TE position as well as a backfield runner, is a wrinkle this offense would love to implement. He could be a nightmare matchup for opposing D-coordinators and he’s one of the players I’m most excited about following next preseason. I love what the Pats are doing with Hernandez, creating and exploiting mismatches, and I hope the Seahawks can eventually get the talent to implement a similar model.
Konz has the potential to be that touchdown maker Pete Carroll covets.
These last two entries will be short, as these guys aren’t so much forgotten as they are waiting to be used. Lockette is another guy with intriguing capabilities as a big play receiver, as evidenced by his 61-yard TD against Arizona. He’s also another guy Carroll mentioned in his end of season presser, as someone who can become the playmaker, the touchdown getter.
This draft class is deep at WR, and our current corps of pass catchers is fairly deep as well. With Mike Williams reportedly trying to slim down this offseason, it doesn’t seem like the position will be addressed early in April. That being said, Sidney Rice’s injury risk may raise dark horse candidates like Justin Blackmon or Kendall Wright up the Hawks’ big board.
Before the season began, after quarterback of course, I was most worried about the cornerbacks. Marcus Trufant hadn’t been the same since his injury and Walter Thurmond had shown potential but had yet to prove himself. Both players got injured early. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner’s emergence as viable starters was the single biggest surprise to me this season and I would even go so far as to say Sherman can be the next elite lock-down corner in the NFL. Browner matched up well with bigger receivers and now has a pro bowl on his resume. Imagine how spectacular this secondary could be with a consistent pass rush.
That’s great and all, but remember that cat Walter Thurmond? He’ll be back from injury and ready to push the starters to play better than they already have. He’s good enough, in my opinion, to overthrow Browner, but at the very least his presence will elevate the level of play from every player in the secondary.
On a side note, I give a huge congrats to Cortez Kennedy and his bid into the Hall of Fame. He deserves it, and I’m proud to see another Seahawk going to Canton. Tez was one of, if not the most, dominant defensive tackles during his career and it’s nice to see him recognized with the highest honor.
Also, enjoy the Super Bowl! I was going to write about possible free agent targets playing today but there’s really nobody I’d imagine Carroll would show interest in. There are a few ex-Seahawks playing (Deon Grant, Deion Branch, Niko Koutouvides, Rocky Bernard) as well as players I had really hoped the Hawks would draft (Jason Pierre- Paul, Patrick Chung). I absolutely love what the Patriots do on offense (as I mentioned above), putting guys like Woodhead, Edelman, and Hernandez all over the field, exploiting mismatches, and it’s also fun to watch the Giants pass rush (and Victor Cruz).
Well, let’s hope for a good game, I’m off to the grocery store for some pizza and beer.