The Seahawks surprised most of the pundits in 2022 by making the playoffs. Their winning season was fueled by more than a few surprising performances. These are my candidates for the surprises of 2023.
The Seahawks opened more than few eyes by making the playoffs last year, when most writers and talking heads picked them to finish last in the NFC West. The 12s had faith, and the Hawks themselves certainly had faith. They never would have been in that position without the surprising contributions of several key players. No one was a bigger surprise than Geno Smith, of course. Okay, not to him, but to almost everyone,
The question for 2023 is, who is this year's version of Geno? Not that I think there's another eight-year vet on the Hawks that's gonna bust out an MVP-caliber season from nowhere - but you know what I mean. Although Mario Edwards does fit the criteria - except he'd need to get about 18 sacks to have a comparable year, and that's not happening. No, I don't think Edwards will be one of our big surprises in 2023. These gentlemen, though, I fully expect to make serious contributions to Seattle's push to not only make the post-season but make some serious noise when they get there.
Sure, there's an heir apparent at center for the Seahawks, but don't count out the veteran
Surprise season No. 1: Seahawks center Evan Brown
I do indeed believe that Olu Oluwatimi will be the Seahawks center in 2023 and that he'll eventually be outstanding. Please note the use of the term eventually. Olu will be a Pro Bowler in 2024, but it will take him some time to get up to speed. That's where Evan Brown comes in.
Brown bounced around the league for a few years before finding a home with the Lions in 2021. When their own Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow went down, Brown stepped in and only gave up one sack and eight QB hits. Brown is an upgrade over the retired Austin Blythe and showed he's capable of moving to guard as needed, too, as he did for all of 2022.
I expect Brown to start off the season at center, and Oluwatimi to take over after the bye. At that point, Brown can fill in at center or guard. With the injuries we've seen in the past, I wouldn't be surprised to see the former Lions starter get three or four starts at guard, in addition to the five at center. Yes, I'm aware that this means I see Olu as having the better season, as I have him taking the center job from Brown and holding it for the next ten years or so. That doesn't mean Brown won't be valuable all year. I see that as a surprisingly good year.