It was a somewhat sleepless Seattle in February, when rumors surfaced about Russell Wilson possibly wanting to leave town. Wilson — while admitting that there were some frustrations after the season — recently ended any talk of him leaving the Seahawks. With that, Seattle’s Super Bowl window is still open, as the Seahawks have built a formidable roster ahead of the 2021 season.
Seattle has improved a roster that won 12 games last season before being upset by the Rams in the wild-card round. It also managed to re-sign/extend some of their key players long-term, a list that includes Tyler Lockett, Ethan Pocic, and Chris Carson. The Seahawks changed offensive coordinators, as Shane Waldron looks to carry over the success he had in Los Angeles.
With training camp around the corner, we decided to take a look at the Broncos’ projected depth chart as well as the team’s possible Week 1 starting lineup.
Rookies are denoted with (*)
To help improve Wilson’s protection, the Seahawks acquired right guard Gabe Jackson, a starter on the Raiders’ offensive line from 2014-20. Wilson still has one of the NFL’s top receiving duos in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, along with a new weapon in the form of rookie receiver D’Wayne Eskridge. Despite being just 5-foot-9, Eskridge made Mid-American Conference defensive backs look silly last season. In just six games, Eskridge caught eight touchdowns while averaging 23.3 yards per reception.
“Aggressive, explosive and dynamic,” Eskridge said when asked to assess his game. “I can do multiple things on the offensive and defensive side, and I can also go and perform well on special teams, so I just bring a whole other juice.”
Despite Chris Carson’s injury, the Seahawks finished 12th in the NFL in rushing and sixth in yards-per-carry average in 2020. That being said, their running game was largely saved by Wilson, who finished second on the team in rushing attempts and rushing yards. Along with Carson, the Seahawks will need bigger contributions this season from Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas and Alex Collins. Fans should specifically keep an eye on Penny, a former first-round pick who is now more than a full year removed from a major knee injury sustained near the end of the 2019 season.
No one gave up more passing yards than Seattle in 2020. With that in mind, the Seahawks went out and signed veteran cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and Pierre Desir. They also signed defensive ends Kerry Hyder (who recorded 8.5 sacks for the 49ers last season) and Aldon Smith (five sacks with the Cowboys in 2020) to help bolster their pass rush.
Seattle also spent one of its three draft picks to select former Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown. In Brown, Seattle is getting a versatile, physical defender who has a penchant for making big plays at big moments. His two long kickoff returns and an interception helped the Sooners edge Iowa State in last year’s Big 12 Championship Game. His college highlights also included a game-saving tackle vs. Baylor (2019) and a pivotal sack/safety in a win over Texas (2018). Brown is also looking to make his mark as a gunner on special teams.
“Somebody needs to make a play, and I want to always be that guy that you can count on,” said Brown, who broke up 31 passes for the Sooners. “Accountability is big for me… That’s when you can really count on me to make that play, I’m not going to let my teammates down. I’m there for my teammates, and I’d rather be the guy that’s lifting us up rather than be the weight on our shoulders.”
Seattle may turn to some familiar faces to help solidify its needs at linebacker and cornerback. Specifically, the Seahawks could bring back K.J. Wright, who remains on the open market. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has not ruled out the possibility of bringing back Richard Sherman, the leader of Seattle’s 2013 championship defense.
A Pro Bowler with the Jets in 2018, Jason Myers is entering his third season as the Seahawks’ kicker. While he missed four extra point attempts, Myers made each of his 24 field goal attempts in 2020. Reed led the Seahawks with a 27.4 yards per kickoff return average last season. Eskridge averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff return during his final season at Western Michigan.