Seahawks off-season progress: the defensive edition

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09: Running back Thomas Rawls
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09: Running back Thomas Rawls /
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Bradley McDougald, Shaquill Griffin
GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 09: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals completes a pass against defensive back Bradley McDougald #30 and cornerback Shaquill Griffin #26 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /


Shaq Griffin, Justin Coleman, DeAndre Elliott, Mike Tyson, Neiko Thorpe, Alex Carter

I believe Shaquill Griffin is our next star for the Seahawks.  He is fast, smart and tackles very well.  He played pretty well last year and I expect a big leap forward this season.

Justin Coleman was an afterthought last season when we traded for him.  By the end of the season, he was a player we couldn’t get by without.  He was an ideal nickel for us and made plays throughout the season.  Coleman solidifies our nickel defense very well.

Elliott was expected to be a big contributor before his pre-season injury last year.  If he can come back and show the speed and tackling skills he showed during the pre-season, and he will earn a spot on this team.

Mike Tyson didn’t show us anything last year.  However, Carroll and Schneider were very high on him.  He was big, fast and physical and that got him drafted here.  This year will be his opportunity to make the roster.

Thorpe has been a special teams star.  I expect this is his role this year as well, but he has the potential for more.

Carter will not likely be here.

Need:  I am listing this as a need, because I think we need to bring back Byron Maxwell to give us a veteran in this group.  I also expect at least 1 corner to compete via the draft.

Free Safety:

Earl Thomas, Maurice Alexander, Bradley McDougald, Tedric Thompson, Akeem King

Earl Thomas is here right now.  He recently came out and shouted out his love for Seattle and said he wants to stay here.  This is arguable the best free safety in the game.  If he is here, this rates as the one of the best position groups in football.

We have detailed what Mo Alexander brings to the team, here.  Although he played strong safety last year, he graded much higher the year before when he started at free safety.  The big thing here is he does bring the versatility to play either position capably.

McDougald is listed just in case Thomas leaves town.  He can play either position.

Tedric Thompson was a highly thought of draft pick last year, who played very well at Colorado.  He is a long lean player who should take a step forward this year.

King is the wildcard here.  He is very big, fast and physical.  He is a long shot, but the kind of guy worth watching in pre-season.

Need:  I am calling this a need until the rumors are over with regarding Earl Thomas.  Expect them to at least look at a safety in the draft.

Strong Safety:

Kam Chancellor, Bradley McDougald, Maurice Alexander, Delano Hill

Kam Chancellor is one of my favorite Seahawks players of all time.  That being said, I think it is time for him to hang up the cleats.  I know he wants to come back and be the player that he was, and if he can, I would love it.  But not if it costs him his neck.

Bradley McDougald was a nice revelation last year.  Having played both strong and free, he showed skills to be good in either position.  While he isn’t the hitter Chancellor was, he is better in coverage.  With the NFL getting to be more and more pass happy, McDougald’s skill set is a great fit.

Alexander played strong safety last year with the Rams, but I see his fit at free safety.

Delano Hill showed his hitting prowess in the pre-season last year, but didn’t show much during the season.  He is a fierce hitter, not as good in coverage.  He is closer to Chancellor than the other candidates, but they all bring better coverage skills.  At the very least, this is a special teams star.

Need:  Although I don’t find this to be a major need, I am calling it one.  Until the Earl Thomas saga ends, both safety positions can be considered a need.  If Thomas leaves McDougald may shift to free safety.  That would leave Alexander and Hill battling it out for the starting role.  That is the reason this is still a need.  1 more player to add to that competition wouldn’t be bad.  However, I don’t expect much movement here.  I believe a free safety would be brought in before a strong safety looking at the group.

Related Story: Seahawks off-season progress on offense


When I look at the Seahawks defense, it reminds me of the years before this team went to the Super Bowl.  It isn’t loaded with stars as it was last year, but it should still be formidable.  We may not finish first in points allowed as we did for 5 years straight, but it will still be good.  A rotational defensive line of old, a defensive coordinator of old in Ken Norton Jr.  Hopefully we can bring that spark, and the fear to opponents again with this group.