After adding nine new players to the 2022 NFL Draft, the Seahawks have officially transitioned into phase two of their offseason program with rookie minicamp, organized team activities, and mandatory minicamp all coming in the near future.
With the draft now in the rearview mirror, general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll will always be on the lookout for ways to improve his team and plenty of quality free agents remain available to sign. But barring an unforeseen trade and / or unexpected frenzy signing veterans, Seattle’s 90-man roster should not be built under any significant changes between now and the start of training camp in late July.
Keeping that assumption in mind while examining the current depth chart, which positions should the Seahawks feel good about? And who are the potential threats to progress toward the start of the season?
As the franchise transitions into the post-Russell Wilson era, here’s a closer look at all six position groups on the offensive side of the ball with additions, departures, and overall position grade:
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Additions: Drew Lock, Levi Lewis
Departures: Russell Wilson
To the surprise of many, Seattle opted to bypass drafting a quarterback last week, skipping out on multiple opportunities to select Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, and Sam Howell. The decision not to grab one of those signal callers indicates the team is not on the high end of an underwhelming draft class and for better or worse, reaffirms the organization’s commitment to moving forward with either Drew Lock or Geno Smith as the starter in 2022. Jacob Eason could also be a wild card to watch, but Lock and Smith have far more experience and the competition will likely be a two-player battle throughout the offseason program in training camp and the preseason.
The Seahawks did add an intriguing undrafted rookie to the mix in Louisiana’s Levi Lewis, an athletic dual-threat quarterback from Louisiana. Although he’s only 5-foot-8, 187 pounds, he led Lafayette to a program-best 13-1 record last season and finished his collegiate career with 74 touchdowns compared to just 18 interceptions. He can also make his legs, as he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground for the Ragin ‘Cajuns. While he is unlikely to be a threat to Lock or Smith, he could be a fun developmental quarterback on the practice squad.
Position Grade: C-
Additions: Kenneth Walker III, Darwin Thompson
Departures: Alex Collins
With the re-signing of Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal in March, the Seahawks had a significant need at running back both short and long-term with veteran Chris Carson’s status uncertain coming off neck surgery. Still, it was a bit of a shock to see the team use one of their two second-round picks on Michigan State standout Kenneth Walker III, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best back in 2021, with so many other pressing needs. on the roster.
While Carroll didn’t rule out the possibility of Carson returning, his comments two days after the draft were not encouraging and using a premium pick suggests a Seattle is not sure the former 1,000-yard rusher will be able to play again. With the dynamic all-around ball carrier added to the backfield as an insurance policy, Walker should compete for substantial playing time alongside Penny right away after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, giving the team an exciting pair of complementary runners. Behind them, former Miami teammates Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas will once again duke it out for third down back duties and play extensive special teams, while Josh Johnson and Darwin Thompson will also be in the mix.
Position Grade: B +
AdditionsBo Melton, Dareke Young, Jake Herslow
Departures: John Ursua
Much to the delight of Seahawks fans everywhere, DK Metcalf wasn’t traded before or during the draft and is currently optimistic he will receive a lucrative extension to stay with the franchise long-term. The same can be said for Tyler Lockett, whose name briefly cropped up in trade rumors after Wilson was dealt. Both star wideouts will be back in uniform catching passes from Lock and Smith, keeping one of the best one-two receiving punches in the NFL intact.
Behind Metcalf and Lockett, Seattle will be the fastest second-year receiver Dee Eskridge on banking with the offseason program without injuries that dogged him as a rookie. He missed a big chunk of OTAs and training camp with a concussion before the season opener sidelined him for seven games. Freddie Swain will also return for his third season catching 25 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. At the bottom of the depth chart at the Bolstering competition, seventh-round selections Bo Melton and Dareke Young will bring elite athletic profiles to the field. Aim to make their mark on offense and special teams while returning against veterans Penny Hart, Cody Thompson, and Aaron Fuller.
Position Grade: A-
Additions: Noah Fant
Departures: Gerald Everett
Coming to Seattle as part of the Wilson trade, the Athletic Fantasy had its fifth-year option picked up by the organization and will have two seasons to earn itself a second contract. Given his chemistry with Lock out of his time together in Denver and the presence of Metcalf and Lockett drawing attention to opposing defenses, he could be a candidate for a career year after a change of scenery. He should see widespread snaps in groups of 12 personnel with standout blocking tight end Will Dissly, who was re-signed to a three-year, $ 24 million contract in March and will look to add a bit more factor to his passing game.
After battling foot problems each of his first two seasons, former Stanford tight end Colby Parkinson faces a critical third season. He has flashed in training camp as a seam-stretching matchup nightmare and priority red zone target, but the inability to stay healthy limited his chances of making an impact on game day. If he wants to move out of a consistent role moving forward, availability will be key to establishing a rapport with the new starting quarterback. As a wild card to watch, Tyler Mabry will be back for a third season while his special teams value gives him a shot at making the 53-man roster after spending the past two years on the practice squad.
Position Grade: B-
Additions: Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas
Departures: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Jamarco Jones
While replacing Wilson is the most important objective for Seattle in the long run, the team hasn’t had a much bigger tackle heading into the 2022 NFL Draft and attacked the deficiency head on. First, Carroll and Schneider used pick no. 9 to select cross, the light-footed pass protecting virtuoso out of Mississippi State who should one day be a starter safeguarding Lock or Smith’s blind side. Doubling down on a huge area of concern, they stayed in state two rounds after picking Lucas out of Washington State, keeping the Everett native in the Puget Sound region for a chance to vie for him on immediate playing time as well.
But if Lucas wants to start early, he’s going to have to beat out a pair of second-year blockers in Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe. Curhan, who signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie last spring, impressed in five starts replacing Brandon Shell at the tail end of last season and that experience should serve him well in a competition. Forsythe also saw snaps against the 49ers at right tackle and the former sixth-round pick out of Florida has plus-athleticism that could help push him to a starting role opposite of Cross. It’s also possible Forsythe could have had a direct competition for Lucas on the left side with Greg Eiland seeing snaps there as well. There is a ton of youth at this position but also plenty of upside down the road.
Position Grade: C +
Guards / Centers
Additions: Austin Blythe, Shamarious Gilmore
Departures: Ethan Pocic
While the Seahawks made seismic changes at the bookend positions, the team maintained status quo in the interior for the most part. With that said, a switch was made at center by reuniting former Rams starter Austin Blythe with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and line coach Andy Dickerson as a replacement for Pocic, who signed with the Browns in free agency. Aside from that move, however, guards Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson will both return as expected starters with Phil Haynes coming back as a swing reserve behind them.
From a depth standpoint, Seattle didn’t draft any guards or centers, instead opting to bring back Kyle Fuller on a one-year deal and sign Georgia State’s Shamarious Gilmore as an undrafted free agent. Filling out the depth chart, Dakoda Shepley will compete against Fuller back up to Blythe after being taken off the waivers from the 49ers last season and guard Pierre-Olivier Lestage will return to spend the practice squad last season.
Position Grade: B-
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