It’s not yet preseason game one, but here’s a silly prediction of who makes the defense with the Seahawks in 2018.
The Seahawks will certainly look a lot different in 2018 than they have in recent seasons. Michael Bennett was traded. Cliff Avril couldn’t play due to injury. Richard Sherman was released. And Earl Thomas is holding out.
Want a guess at who actually lines up for Seattle on defense in 2018? Here are several guesses.
Starters: Justin Coleman (nickel), Shaquill Griffin (left corner) and Byron Maxwell (right corner)
Backups: Tre Flowers and Neiko Thorpe
Why?: At this point, the starters are set. Coleman was a gift from the heavens in 2017 and solidified the Seahawks at nickel, a position that needed a lot of help. Griffin will move to the left side in his second season and face the best receivers from opposing teams. Maxwell was good after coming back to Seattle halfway through last year.
Flowers has made a fairly smooth transition from college safety to cornerback in training camp. But he hasn’t faced real competition yet. And Thorpe brings experience as a backup and is a good special teams player.
Starters: Earl Thomas (maybe? – free safety) and Bradley McDougald (strong safety)
Backups: Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill
Why?: Obviously the biggest question here is whether Thomas chooses to come back and play. If he doesn’t, then there are a lot of possibilities. Thompson could move in to the free safety starter. Or Hill could go to strong safety and McDougald could move to Thomas’s place. Or Maurice Alexander could make the team and be a starter.
Let’s hope Thomas decides to play by week one of the real games and the world is a better place.
Starters: K.J. Wright (outside) and Bobby Wagner (middle)
Backups: Shaquem Griffin, Barkevious Mingo and D.J. Alexander
Why?: Marcus Smith might technically be a linebacker but due to a lack of depth at defensive end I am going with Smith as a backup on the defensive line. Wagner and Wright are stars and have no challengers to starting. Mingo will be used to try to get to the quarterback but he has been underwhelming so far in his NFL career. Griffin could be extremely productive on special teams and be a starter at linebacker in three years.
Starters: Frank Clark and…Dion Jordan?
Backups: Marcus Smith, Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin
Why?: Well, this position is basically a mess. And this is one group in the NFL that a team wanting to get to the playoffs cannot afford to have be in question. Clark has been held back due to a minor injury. Jordan hasn’t stayed healthy his entire career. Green and Martin may have potential but have yet to prove they can do anything productive.
If the Seahawks do not make the playoffs this year, lack of good play from this unit could be the reason.
Starters: Jarran Reed and Nazair Jones
Backups: Tom Johnson and Poona Ford
Why?: Reed and Jones could be the starters at tackle for years in Seattle and good ones. Johnson brings veteran production. I am still amazed Ford went undrafted. He is short, sure. But he has great strength and ability to supply interior pass rush. Seattle will need help from the interior seeing as how the ends may not be all that great.