Seahawks defense position-by-position breakdown to start 2017

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Wide receiver Albert Wilson (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Wide receiver Albert Wilson (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks have finalized their 53-man roster for week one and have started getting their practice squad together too. Here’s how Seattle will lineup defensively to start 2017. Plus, prediction (basically wild guesses) on how each unit will do.

The defensive cuts for the Seahawks were a bit less surprising than the offensive ones. Seattle’s defense had no real Kasen Williams this preseason. (By the way, we did an offensive breakdown yesterday.) But the team did make multiple moves on Friday and Saturday that changed their defensive personnel a bit. Gone are Cassius Marsh and Ahtyba Rubin. Some new Seahawks are Sheldon Richardson and Justin Coleman.

Here’s who is on the roster and how they might do.

Defensive line

Starters (on run downs): Defensive end Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and defensive end Cliff Avril

Backups: Frank Clark, Nazair Jones, Marcus Smith and David Bass

Summary: There are several new players along the line in Seattle: Bass, Smith, Jones – the rookie, and Richardson. The Seahawks backups are more of the speed rush and smaller size type, except for Jones. This means Seattle is thinking of getting to the quarterback more in 2017 and less about the run. This is a good thing.

Prediction: Best case scenario, Richardson is motivated and is a beast. Imagine an obvious passing down with Clark, Bennett, Avril and Richardson. This frees up the rest of the defense to do quite a bit. Worst case, Richardson is thinking about next offseason and the smaller line gets run on.


Starters: K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner

Backups: Michael Wilhoite, D.J. Alexander, Terence Garvin and Dewey McDonald

Summary: I am only going with two linebackers starting because the majority of the time the Seahawks will be in 4-2-5. Wright and Wagner? Are they the best linebacker due in the NFL? Possibly. Alexander is there for special teams. I like McDonald. I thought he had a very good preseason and is active and athletic. The same for Garvin. Wilhoite will probably fill the SAM role when Seattle is 4-3-4.

Prediction: Wagner is a machine again and proves he is the best middle linebacker in the NFL. Garvin and McDonald wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks and do well covering tight ends. The is the best and deepest group of linebackers the Seahawks have had since 2013.


Starters: Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and Shaquill Griffin

Backups: Neiko Thorpe and Justin Coleman

Summary: Besides Sherman, there are a lot of question marks at corner. How good can Griffin be to start his career? Are Thorpe and Coleman reliable backups?

Prediction: For the first time in a while, I am worried about the cornerback position. There are so many “ifs.” If Griffin can play opposite Sherman well, the Seahawks will be fine. But can he? If Lane can have his best year since 2014, nickel will be in good shape. But will he? If Thorpe and Coleman can be solid backups, the Seahawks will be a good group. But there are no certain players here except Sherman. That could be a problem. Plus, week one will be ugly against Aaron Rodgers.


Starters: Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas

Backups: Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson

Summary: Isn’t it good to have Thomas back? He was clearly missed after he left last season with injury and the defense was not the same. Thomas has been flying around this preseason making big hits. In other words, he’s been Earl Thomas. Behind Thomas and Chancellor are three newcomers to Seattle. Hill showed in the preseason he has excellent potential in coverage and likes to hit when playing the run. He could very well be Chancellor replacement one day.

Related Story: Who's on the Seahawks practice squad?

Prediction: The safety group should be very good, if they stay healthy. I think Chancellor misses a couple of games but not Thomas. McDougald gets a lot of snaps in the slot. The run defense and pass coverage are both better in 2017, but not only because Thomas is back. McDougald earns his next paycheck in Seattle. Chancellor makes the Pro Bowl. Thompson rarely plays.