Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks have done a good job of keeping their championship-winning roster intact since the conclusion of last season, and they added some good pieces to it in this past weekend's draft.
The most important name on their list of draftees is Justin Britt, a former left tackle for Missouri who will fit in nicely as Seattle's new right tackle. He's a mammoth blocker that stands at 6'6" and weighs 325 pounds, and is the ornery type of lineman that will do well in Tom Cable's scheme.
Paul Richardson is another draft selection that will likely pay dividends before long, largely because of his speed. He's not particularly big, but his body type and athleticism is reminiscent of—ironically—former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate.
These two head an overall solid draft class that will help fill out the roster of Seattle and make them better as a team. There will be some shifting done all over their depth chart, but it looks like the Seahawks won't be missing a beat when opening day rolls around.
Russell Wilson leads a group of athletic quarterbacks that possess the ability to run as well as pass. Wilson is clearly the best of the group, and there's little to no doubt that he'll be the quarterback of this team come opening day—though, there will be a competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot.
Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor will both be vying for the primary backup role, and it's definitely a toss-up. Jackson is more familiar with the system, but one could argue that, if Wilson were to go down with injury, Pryor would be the best option to implement in his place.
Neither quarterback is an extraordinarily confident choice for the coaches, but at first glance it is Jackson who holds the edge at this point in time.
|Third string||Christine Michael|
Marshawn Lynch was the heart and soul of this offense last season, and will once again be leading Seattle's offensive charge in 2013.
He's a bruising runner that can not only juke defenders but also outrun them. Lynch is certainly impressive when he hits the afterburners through an opening, but his backups aren't to be discounted—they both share some of the same qualities as Lynch.
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are both pretty big backs that can run effectively behind the Seattle offensive line, the only problem is that there's just not many carries to go around when Beast Mode is ahead of you on the depth chart.
If they choose to, the Seahawks could really have some success in a multiple-back system where the carries are divvied up a bit more evenly. Given the athleticism of Russell Wilson, Seattle could get pretty creative in multiple-back packages or when moving Wilson out of the pocket.
Because they've drafted so well, the Seahawks have several dependable pieces to implement in their running game and are better because of it.
|Starters||Sidney Rice||Percy Harvin (slot)||Doug Baldwin|
|Backups||Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette||Paul Richardson||Kevin Norwood|
Despite losing Golden Tate in free agency, Seattle has firmed up their receiving corps and are in a good position going forward. Re-signing Sidney Rice was huge, and he'll be depended upon to really step up now that Tate is gone and he'll be playing the lead role.
Percy Harvin should also be a productive piece of the offense if he can stay healthy, but they drafted some insurance just in case. Paul Richardson of Colorado is a smaller, speedier receiver who will be great to have in the slot when Harvin isn't. He could also be used out of the backfield as a receiver, or possibly on reverses.
Richardson ran a 4.33 at the NFL combine, and that type of athleticism will come in handy when the Seahawks take on the defenses that are in the NFC West.
Aside from Richardson, Seattle also selected Kevin Norwood on the third day of the draft—a pretty underrated pick in my opinion. Norwood was very productive in the pass-happy offense of Alabama, and was one of A.J. McCarron's best friends; he's a big reason why McCarron was able to break all those records.
He may not have a big role in the offense quite yet, but Norwood will be able to contribute sooner than later, and should develop into a pretty solid NFL receiver.
|Third string||Cooper Helfet|
Seattle opted to ignore the tight end position in the draft, despite having a prime opportunity to draft a top-ranked prospect at the bottom of the first round. That being said, they're not exactly helpless at the position.
They do still have Zach Miller who, while used sparingly in 2013, did reel in five touchdowns and was dependable for Russell Wilson more often than not.
He's not the game-changing tight end that would bust open this offensive attack, but he's good enough. There's not a whole lot of talent behind him in Luke Willson or Cooper Helfet, but tight ends aren't really featured in the Seahawks' game plan anyways.
While drafting a guy like Austin Seferian-Jenkins with the 32nd overall pick would've been a really respectable move, Seattle will be just fine on the tight end front.
|Starters||Russell Okung, LT||James Carpenter, LG||Max Unger, C||J.R. Sweezy, RG||Justin Britt, RT|
|Backups||Alvin Bailey||Greg Van Roten||Lemuel Jeanpierre||Jared Smith||Michael Bowie, Garrett Scott|
Seattle didn't get a whole lot of opportunities to address the offensive line like they needed to in the draft, but they did bring in one prospect who will compete for a spot right away. The first lineman they drafted was Justin Britt of Missouri, a physical lineman who will likely take over the right tackle position once the season officially starts.
Aside from Britt, the Seahawks also drafted Garrett Scott of Marshall who will serve as a depth player more than anything at this time.
Outside of the rookies, it'll be the usual suspects up front for Seattle.
Russell Okung leads the pack as their most talented blocker, but James Carpenter and Max Unger have also been productive for them in the past. J.R. Sweezy isn't terrible, but he will likely be replaced the next chance the team gets.
Overall, this is a pretty good group, and one that Seattle can be comfortable will heading into next season.
|Starters||Michael Bennett, DE||Tony McDaniel, DT||Brandon Mebane, DT||Cliff Avril, DE|
|Backups||Greg Scruggs, Cassius Marsh||Jordan Hill, Jimmy Staten||Dewayne Cherrington||Benson Mayowa|
The defensive line is one of the strongest positions on the Seahawks' roster and is headline by their vaunted pair of defensive ends. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett make for one of the best tandems in the league.
Individually they're impressive enough, but ever since they got paired up they've produced big time for Seattle.
These two pass-rushers act as the bookends to the big men in the middle of Seattle's defensive line, Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane. Neither of them are stars, but they fit what the Seahawks do on defense and play pretty well for them.
There's not much talent worth noting behind the starters, but Seattle did pick up an interesting defensive end prospect in the draft. Cassius Marsh of UCLA is a versatile end with the talent to play a few different spots on the defensive line.
Marsh is great at shedding blockers and getting into the opponent's backfield, and that ability will be what helps him break into Seattle's rotation along the defensive line.
|Starters||Bruce Irvin, OLB||Bobby Wagner, MLB||Malcolm Smith, OLB|
|Backups||Mike Taylor||K.J. Wright, Heath Farwell||Mike Morgan|
Linebacker is another position of strength for the Seahawks, and they boast one of the best trios in the league. Bruce Irvin is a pass-rushing specialist who has shown steady development over his first couple of seasons in the NFL and is clearly getting better as time progresses.
After Irvin comes Bobby Wagner. An athletic "Mike" linebacker who can not only rush the passer, Wagner is also rather competent in coverage—he intercepted a pair of passes last season and defended seven more.
Wagner has solidified himself as a stalwart linebacker for Seattle and will only improve from here.
Behind Wagner sits another young and talented linebacker, K.J. Wright. Wright plays a smaller role defensively but is just as dependable as the men ahead of him on the depth chart.
Shifting gears, the not-so-unsung hero of the group is Malcolm Smith, the reigning Super Bowl MVP. Smith is a standout player against the run and is also good in coverage. Pass-rushing isn't his strong suit, but he is capable of getting to the passer and bringing him down.
This is a very talented group of backers and is one of the most well-balanced corps that the league has to offer.
|Starters||Richard Sherman, LCB||Byron Maxwell, RCB|
|Backups||Tharold Simon, A.J. Jefferson||Jeremy Lane, Chandler Fenner|
Even though they lost Brandon Browner to the New England Patriots, Seattle's Legion of Boom will remain intact. Replacing Browner will be Byron Maxwell, a similar-in-size corner who played well in his absence towards the end of the 2013 season.
He's tremendous in coverage and is very good at bringing receivers down in the open field. Maxwell will be asked to step into a much bigger role in 2014, but after watching how he played down the stretch for the team last season, it's hard to predict that he'll do anything other than perform well.
The man he will be playing across from requires no introduction. There's little argument against the notion that Richard Sherman is a top-five cornerback in the league, and that's largely because of his athletically physical nature—if that makes sense. Sherman moves very well for a big cornerback, and is able to match with most receivers in the league because of his size.
He's rarely outrun or beaten, and that's because of his balanced skill set.
This will be a very tough pair for any team to game plan against, and they will once again be a major part of Seattle's top-ranked defense.
|Starters||Kam Chancellor||Earl Thomas|
|Backups||Terrance Parks||Eric Pinkins|
The secondary of the Seahawks is known for it's physicality, and a lot of that reputation is because of their safeties. Kam Chancellor is one of the biggest and hardest-hitting safeties in the NFL, and Earl Thomas is arguably the best free safety in the league.
Thomas is outstanding in coverage and is a constant threat to take the ball away from the other team. He also performs well in run defense and is as close to a sure-tackler as the Seahawks have.
Chancellor is also a beast in coverage, and uses his 6'3", 232-pound frame to lay the lumber on opposing receivers and jar the ball out of their hands before they can complete the catch. He's also a major part of their run defense as he plays downhill and can use his rare combination of size and speed to close in on the ball carrier and shut the play down.
Backing up these two are Terrance Parks and Eric Pinkins, two young defenders who've yet to show what they're fully capable of. Pinkins was drafted by Seattle in the sixth round of this year's draft, and will likely split his reps between playing safety and cornerback.
At 6'2", 230 pounds, Pinkins is a near-carbon copy of Chancellor, and Seattle will have a lot of fun figuring out where to put him.
|Punt Returner||Percy Harvin, Paul Richardson|
|Kick Returner||Percy Harvin, Paul Richardson|
It's looking like the Seattle special teamers will largely remain the same as they were last year, with the exception of a couple minor changes. Jon Ryan and Steven Hauschka have been playing great for awhile now and will continue to be relied upon for deep punts and clutch field goals.
The (potential) difference in their special teams unit will be the possible emergence of Paul Richardson. Admittedly, it is too early to assume anyone will exceed expectations, but Richardson's ability is hard to ignore, and they may decide to let him take over the punt/kick returner positions.
Given Harvin's injury-prone nature, the team should consider minimizing his reps as a returner in an effort to decrease the chance of him getting hurt.
Richardson now gives Seattle the option of resting Harvin a little more by letting him act as their return man part of the time.