Seattle is coming off a good 2020 season where they finished 12-4. Other than the short episode of rumblings that Russell Wilson was disgruntled, GM John Schneider stayed under the radar this off-season for the most part as “making a big splash” would be the exact opposite from the appropriate description of the Seahawks summer. There were small upgrades and downgrades with the departures and additions on the roster, but with Schneider needing to re-sign some key pieces it left little cap space for new players. Let’s take a look at the 2021 draft class of 3 rookies as well as some of the other additions and subtractions to the roster.
At the cost of trading for S Jamal Adams, the Seahawks gave their first and third round pick of 2021 as well as their first round pick of 2022 to the Jets. So their first selection from the 2021 draft was in the 2nd round at the 56th pick, where they chose WR D’Wayne Eskridge out of Western Michigan. Standing at 5’9, 190 lbs, although a bit vertically challenged, he is a speedster with a sub 4.4 40 time. He should be able to contribute immediately as a return man. He’s an athlete with track star speed, but his route tree could use a little development. This is fine as Seattle has a good track record of developing its players. Eskridge has had a few minor health issues keeping his Summer limited but he should be ready to go and on paper he is a great fit for OC Shane Waldron’s scheme. The times he has been on the field this camp, he has looked good.
Seattle’s next selection came from Tampa Bay, and it was in the 4th round at pick 137, choosing CB Tre Brown, out of Oklahoma. At 5’10, 185 lbs, not the ideal height, but he is tenacious and physical. The Seahawks are basically in open competition mode at this point, as their CB’s are jockeying for position in the pecking order, so Brown will definitely have a fair opportunity. He also has a good chance to compete for time on special teams, due to his success as a return man in college.
After making a few pick-swap trades, Seattle ended up with one more selection in round 6, pick 28, taking OT Stone Forsythe. This was somewhat of a surprisingly good steal as many had him graded as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. A true giant at 6’8, 307 lbs, Forsythe started at Florida his junior and senior year. He’ll be a backup tackle behind Brown and Shell but both of which may be on their way out next year. This is fine as it gives him time to refine his run blocking. In college as a pass-blocker, he was extremely successful. He has had some growing pains this summer but OC Shane Waldron is pleased with what he has seen so far.
Draft Grade – C+
The Seahawks only had 3 picks but they did address appropriate position groups, and making the trade up to pick Forsythe was also a good move. The bad news is Seattle lost CB’s Quinton Dunbar and Shaq Griffin in free agency. Griffin had a bit too high of a price tag. The good news is, in addition to drafting Brown, they signed CB Ahkello Witherspoon who so far is having a great summer. He has great size and athleticism, and they got him cheap on a 1 year deal for 4 million dollars. They also get back Tre Flowers, and Damarious Randall
In the front seven, the Seahawks are very optimistic about both the sophomore campaigns of LB Jordyn Brooks, DE Darrell Taylor, and DE Alton Robinson. They are hoping to get production at a bargain as they are all still on rookie deals. In free agency Schneider was able to grab both DE Kerry Hyder from the 9ers, who had a great 2020 season, and DE Aldon Smith who we all know has great potential and talent but his issues have always come off the field. Both were signed at a bargain to say the least. In addition they also re-signed Carlos Dunlap who was able to contribute 8 sacks last year.
Offensively, Seattle re-signed C Ethan Piocic, who is currently dealing with a hamstring, but the moves that were of a more significant impact were the signing of TE Gerald Everett (1 year, 6 million), and G Gabe Jackson (3 year, 22.5 million). Jackson is a beast and other fellow starting guard Damian Lewis is expected to perform at a high level as well. Everett is a freakish athlete and could possibly be due for a breakout year due to the fact that he already has a rapport with OC Waldron, and he and Russell Wilson have fallen into a bromance this summer.
Off-Season Grade – B
As a Seattle fan you shouldn’t be too worried. The past 3 years in a row have shown as long as you have a healthy Russell Wilson, you are most likely going to see 10+ wins. The thing is, although Vegas has them at a middle of the road type of schedule, they have a very tough division, and on top of that they have to play the Colts, Packers, Vikings, Titans, Steelers, Saints, and WFT. All of which are potential playoff contenders. However, the track record speaks for itself as HC Pete Carroll has not had a losing season in a decade.
Prediction – 10-7
The schedule shows about 4 significantly weaker opponents (Lions, Bears, Texans, Jags). This leaves 13 games against teams that are expected to be above 500 (at least in my opinion). So if they can win 6 out of 13 here then that puts them at 10 and most likely a playoff berth.