Seahawks poised for super bowl run after strong draft class
By Joshua Smith
With a strong draft class ready to step in and contribute in a big way, the Seattle Seahawks are ready for another championship run.
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider is one of the best in the league. He’s assembled a powerhouse roster, and the team’s recent draft classes only makes it stronger.
The Seahawks 2015 draft class produced rookie sensation Tyler Lockett, who set the world on fire both as a wide receiver and as a return man. Defensive end Frank Clark also had an impact and offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, held up well against the Cardinals in his only start last season. Hopefully all three of those players can continue to make strides and fill even bigger roles this season. However it is the most recent draft class that Seahawks fans should be most excited about.
The Seahawks 2016 draft class has a good chance of being even better than that of 2015. Germain Ifedi is an unknown and could be the lone bust in Seattle’s draft class this year. However, Jarran Reed will start immediately at defensive tackle and I believe he will have the biggest impact of any defensive rookie in the NFL this season. He won’t get enough sacks or tackles for loss to be voted defensive rookie of the year but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be deserving of the award.
C. J. Prosise will contribute immediately on special teams as a punt and kick coverage guy. His value to the Seahawks beyond that will depend on his ability to hang onto the football and how Darrell Bevell uses him in the passing game. He has the ability to be a dynamic weapon.
Nick Vannett was a terrific selection by the Seahawks and proves that Seattle is looking to return to form as one of the most physical teams in the NFL. Vannett should start day one and day two thousand and one for that matter.
You can never know for sure when forecasting a player’s future, but Vannett fills a huge need for the Seahawks and should have a very long career in Seattle.
My colleague here at 12th Man Rising, Keith Meyers, explains in a recent post that Rees Odhiambo will likely fill the role of swing-tackle that Alvin Bailey previously occupied. Hopefully the Seahawks give him a shot to develop on the outside of the O-line before throwing him into the interior where six other recent draft picks are already competing for only three spots. If he stays healthy, at worst Odhiambo will be a rich man’s version of Alvin Bailey.
With Alex Collins the concern is same as with C. J. Prosise, can he avoid coughing up the football. Unlike Prosise, Collins appears to have very little versatility so if he’s going to have an impact his rookie season it’s going to be as first and second down running back.
Quinton Jefferson came out a year early and was a highly productive pass rusher during his final season at Maryland. Hopefully Frank Clark and Cassius Marsh will give the Seahawks enough in obvious passing situations that Jefferson won’t be needed that badly. If the two incumbents fail to deliver however, I think Jefferson could give the Seahawks something.
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And then there’s Joey Hunt. As Jon Gruden would say, “I love this guy, man.” Pro Football Focus gave Hunt the best pass protection grade of any offensive lineman in this year’s class. Obviously that doesn’t mean that he is a sure bet to become the next Jeff Saturday, otherwise he would have gone in the first two rounds. There are a lot of factors that PFF’s analytical grading system can’t take into consideration. Regardless of the context, as a Seahawks fan whenever you add someone to the O-line who is known as a good pass protector you have to breathe a sigh of relief.
I also like Kenny Lawler. He was very productive at Cal and provides a big target for Russell Wilson. I think his closest NFL comparison is former Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd, a possession receiver with the ability to make the spectacular catch.
The Seahawks have lacked a reliable receiver with a big catch radius who can out maneuver opponents in the end zone throughout much of Russell Wilson’s tenure, which is why they traded for Jimmy Graham. Nobody really knows what Graham is going to give Seattle next season, so this is great pick. If Paul Richardson can hold up for an entire season, the Seahawks could actually have one of the most dynamic group of receivers in the NFL.
Lets face it, Zac Brooks is such an unknown quantity that there really isn’t much to say about him but spending a seventh round pick on an unknown isn’t much of a risk.
I said in a previous post that if Seattle played it’s cards right we could come out of this talent-loaded draft with all of our needs mostly filled, putting the Seahawks in prime position to reclaim their rightful place atop the NFC. They did just that.
They didn’t address the pass rush as much as I would have liked, indicating that Pete Carroll and company have faith that Frank Clark can continue to lose weight and be that edge rusher the Seahawks need. I hope so. Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh, Quinton Jefferson and the rest of the third down pass rushers are going to be X factors this season.
We know that Seattle’s pass protection is likely going to be subpar again this season and that Germain Ifedi is going to struggle mightily in his rookie season. Hey, a lot of good tackles in the league today struggled during their rookie seasons too. There really wasn’t anything Seattle could do this offseason to vastly improve in that respect.
Another important area the Seahawks needed to address was backup QB. Nobody knows yet if Trevone Boykin can play at the next level and so it remains to be seen if this need was actually filled by signing him, but he does fit for Seattle.
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Apart from the Ifedi pick, I love everything Seattle did in this draft. The biggest X factors for the Seahawks in 2016 are going to be health and pass rush. There’s always a lot of luck involved in going deep in the playoffs. Seattle should be the NFC favorite, and if things fall into place we will be.