The Seattle Seahawks have a young roster that was intentionally rebuilt after the team traded Russell Wilson in 2022. The trade of Wilson has turned out to be extremely one-sided in favor of Seattle, of course, but besides that, the truth is that Seattle has made great decisions on many players in the last two NFL drafts. Seattle is 5-2 and will likely be better next year than they are now.
When I was thinking of potential hopes for Seattle against a good Baltimore Ravens team in Week 9, I wasn't trying to think only of rookies. The hopes just kind of turned out that way for this week. And that's not a bad thing.
Seattle will collectively have to play well defensively in facing quarterback Lamar Jackson, obviously. Veterans like Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs will need to have good games. But the Seahawks might steal Week 9 because of the four rookies that follow.
Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Zach Charbonnet is ready to take off
Seattle Sports morning host Mike Salk said this week that he thinks Zach Charbonnet is better than Kenneth Walker III. Maybe Salk was just trying to stir some reaction, because there is no real basis for saying Charbonnet is better than Walker at this point, but Charbonnet is a different kind of back than Walker. And Charbonnet, with a more straight-ahead running style than Walker, might be just what the Seahawks need against a really good Ravens defense in Week 9.
Seattle dropping back to throw as much as they have this season (the Seahawks are 14th in the league in pass-to-run ratio and threw the ball the fifth-most per percentage in Week 8) is not likely to work against a Baltimore team that leads the NFL in sacks and quarterback rating allowed. Seattle needs to try running more and keep with the plan even if at first they are getting stuffed quite a bit. Charbonnet has the ability to run for 100 yards against any team (he's also averaging 5.8 yards per rush in 2023) and Week 9 could be the first 100-yard rushing game in his career.
Seattle's rookie receivers are getting better
In the last two games, rookie receivers Jake Bobo and Jaxon Smith-Njigba have combined for four touchdowns. There is no way an opposing defense could or should (yet) want to make either receiver a focus of their game plan going into a game against the Seahawks which means JSN and Bobo should almost always see one-on-one coverage.
Bobo isn't blazing fast, of course, but he is quick off the line and that makes him difficult to cover at times. JSN is now beginning to get his feel of the offense and quarterback Geno Smith is more comfortable getting him the ball. With a Ravens defense trying to stop Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Bobo and JSN could sneak in to get a touchdown that is the difference in the game.
Seattle has Devon Witherspoon
The Seahawks are 5-1 in the games that Devon Witherspoon has played. This isn't a coincidence. First, as we have all seen, Witherspoon is a fantastic football player. He is the third-high-est-graded cornerback in the NFL currently, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He is the highest-graded corner in terms of pass rush.
Witherspoon can change the Seahawks' defense in much the same way safety Jamal Adams does. The rookie corner is versatile and fast, great in coverage, and very good against the run. He might be the X-factor for Seattle in Week 9 because the Ravens haven't played against him yet and they simply might not be prepared for exactly how good Witherspoon is.