Start bench or cut: Seahawks 2020 linebacker room
By Lee Vowell
The Seahawks might have the best group of linebackers in the NFL in 2020. But who should they cut before the 2020 season starts?
The Seahawks linebacker room in 2020 will not be the same in 2021. Maybe Seattle keeps K.J. Wright or maybe they trade him. Bobby Wagner might still be the best linebacker in the NFL but he is expensive. This group, possibly the most important in the Seahawks defense in 2020, will change next year.
Of course, this post is about this coming season. So will the Seahawks start at linebacker this year and who will be depth and who will be cut? This is my best guess.
The starters for 2020 will be Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. If the Seahawks are smart, and relying on Ken Norton Jr. to lead the defense might prove they aren’t that smart, then Seattle would get back to a 4-2-5 base. This means only two linebackers on the field most downs and those two would be Wagner and Wright.
Wagner will call out the plays and make the most tackles. He is a beast. Wright will play receivers more and crunch down on some run plays. Wagner and Wright have both been good. Wagner will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Wright will not be with Seattle in 2021.
This is the future, and it could be a very good one, for the Seahawks at linebacker: Cody Barton and Jordyn Brooks. In the future, Barton will play the role of Wright and Brooks will be Wagner. Barton and Brooks are locks to make the team and should play a lot of downs for the Seahawks.
Barton might look better than Brooks early in 2020, though. He will have a year of experience and know the Seattle defense better. But Brooks has the physical skill to be very good and versatile and cover lots of ground and make huge hits. Sounds like Wagner, right?
The other players get a bit stranger. Bruce Irvin is listed as a linebacker but at this stage of his career, he isn’t. He is more of a defensive end on passing downs. Irvin will make the team but he might eat up someone’s spot at edge rusher and not a linebacker. If Seattle thinks of him more as a linebacker, Ben Burr-Kirven might be gone.
My feeling is that Burr-Kirven makes the team almost more as a special teams player. Shaquem Griffin makes the team, too. But he will be a special teams player and then be used as a pass rusher more in 2020 than he has been. Irvin is a defensive end.
The Seahawks will keep six linebackers and a lot of this is because they like to use their linebackers on special teams. So the group will be Wagner, Wright, Griffin, Burr-Kirven, Brooks and Barton.
The cuts will be Emmanuel Ellerbee and Sutton Smith. This is a pretty easy group to decide who gets cut or benched or who starts. But then, this is the Seahawks so anything is possible.