The Seahawks’ Projected Plan at QB For 2022

Seattle Seahawks QB Drew Lock
USA Today Sports

Throughout the first five rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, observers watched closely to see if the Seattle Seahawks would take a potential successor to Russell Wilson at quarterback. But as every round passed, it became apparent that Seattle was not going to select a quarterback. Afterwards, Pete Carroll made it clear that he and the Seahawks were comfortable with who the team already had on the roster at QB. 

A trade for Baker Mayfield has not materialized, and Carroll indicated that Geno Smith, who backed up Wilson for the past three seasons, has the early edge in the competition for the starting job because of his familiarity with the Seahawks offense. Drew Lock, acquired in the Wilson trade, is still widely perceived to be the favorite to win the QB competition. Whomever Pete Carroll chooses in the end will have a direct effect on the betting odds.

Why Did the Seahawks Avoid the QB Position in the NFL Draft?

Whether it’s Smith or Lock emerging as the starter, most onlookers believe the Seattle quarterback situation is one of the most uncertain in the league ahead of the new season. So why did the Seahawks pass on a quarterback when some of the top-rated ones were available even into the fifth round? And what is the plan going forward? 

The consensus among draft experts is that the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback class was weaker than in many previous seasons. Most teams who passed on the top quarterbacks for the first two rounds seemed to hold the same belief. By not selecting a quarterback when many fans and analysts believed they should, Seattle sent a message that Carroll and John Schneider were willing to go with whoever they had internally. 

This is not the first time that Carroll and Schneider have chosen to take their chances with less decorated passers while building key pieces of the team around the quarterback position. After the 2010 season, they made an unpopular move to move on from Matt Hasselbeck and went with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst for the 2011 campaign. Meanwhile, the team was in a process of constructing a strong defensive foundation while Marshawn Lynch had arrived as an offensive focal point.

In 2012, Wilson was drafted and became a final and essential piece to a championship puzzle after the Seahawks went 7-9 in 2011. 

Now, as the post-Wilson era begins in Seattle, the Seahawks have focused on strengthening the rest of the roster outside of the quarterback position. They have given any quarterback who starts, though, a supporting cast that can help pave a path to success. There is improved pass protection, a very potent running game, and two established standout wide receivers in place along with a tight end with considerable potential. 

In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Seahawks drafted offensive tackles with two of their first three picks. First-round selection Charles Cross was regarded by many draftniks as the best pure pass blocker available. Seattle also drafted RB Kenneth Walker in the second round, and he could prove to be the best pure runner in the incoming class. A healthy Rashaad Penny and Walker might be the most potent RB duo in the NFL, and that is not an overstatement.

Penny played at an All-Pro level down the stretch last year. Walker has a lot of upside as a runner with good patience, vision, elusiveness, tackle-breaking abilities, and he also can bust loose for long gainers. 

Smith or Lock will have the support of an improved offensive line, a possibly outstanding running game, plus D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Noah Fant as primary targets. The Carroll vision is to employ a balanced offense with a pounding ground attack, while also asking the quarterback to limit turnovers and connect on timely downfield strikes. 

The defense was also fortified in the draft with two edge rushers and two cornerbacks, further rounding out the Carroll/Schneider approach. Much like in the pre-Wilson season, the pieces are in place to hopefully contend soon, and the groundwork has been laid for possible future success. 

The Seahawks Chose to Strengthen the Supporting Cast for Their QBs

The Seahawks have also followed a model of teams such as the Dolphins, Jets, and Steelers. Those teams don’t have an established franchise quarterback, yet they have surrounded the position with significant playmaking options and an environment in which the QB has a lot of quality support. That sort of roster construction on offense takes pressure off the QB to carry the offense and asks him to best utilize what is provided.

It’s the exact opposite of what Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are being asked to do. If a team does not have a star quarterback, or even an ideal starter in place, then it makes sense to get the most out of all the complementary players and lean more on the skill position guys to spike the offense. The Seahawks could still seek an upgrade at quarterback, but if not, whoever starts can benefit from a potent group of offensive players around the QB. Any passer who does not succeed in such a scenario won’t be destined to succeed at all. 

The Seahawks brass, though, has been intrigued by the potential of Lock ever since he was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft by Denver. He has the capability to throw a good deep ball and take advantage of working with significant downfield threats in Metcalf and Lockett. Plus, he has obvious familiarity with former Broncos’ teammate Fant. Penny and Walker can challenge defenses consistently and ease pressure on the quarterback. 

Everything seems to be set up for Lock — or possibly Smith — to respectably guide, but not be a pure centerpiece of the offense. Lock and Smith will be free agents in 2023, so they have one season to show they can be quality options. Lock still has some promise in terms of exceeding expectations. 

If it all does not work at QB for the Seahawks in 2022, they can look ahead to a much more appealing class of rookie passers in 2023. For now, though, Lock has a chance to start over in Seattle, and he could start back on a better career track with a strong preseason. 

The Seahawks may indeed take their chances on Lock or Smith this upcoming season. They will see if the experiment yields at least respectable results, or if the team will need to reset at the position after the 2022 campaign. 

Scott Engel is a guest contributor at ATB Network from our friends at The Game Day. Head over to their website to see more of Scott’s work, and be sure to follow The Game Day and Scott on Twitter

The Seattle Seahawks and RAS

In regards to the Seahawks their front office has been in place since 2010. Trends come and go and front offices sometimes change. We are only going back through the 2016 draft which gives us six years worth of drafts to pull data from. You can also find Kent Lee Platte’s website here: ras.football

Quarterbacks:

The Seahawks have only drafted one quarterback since Russell Wilson, Alex McGough in 2018. So obviously not much to go off there. He did post an RAS score of 7.82.

Running backs:

To the running backs, the Seahawks have drafted 7 since 2016, which equals out to at least one a year. If you average out the scores you get a 6.81, which is only a bit above average. If Look at all the picks though outside of two guys Alex Collins and Deejay Davis they all scored a 7.28 or higher. This shows that overall Schneider and Carroll like their running backs to be relatively athletic. Looking further into the numbers the Seahawks like to draft bigger backs. five of the seven weight 217 pounds or more. They are all between 5’10-6’0. One key seems to be 40 speed. All of the running backs drafted have at least average speed or better.

Six of the seven outside of Alex Collins all scored at least average in explosion. Agility does not seem to be something that Carroll/Schneider emphasize. Three of the seven scored poorly where two only scored average. Going off this data we can say they like bigger backs with good 40 speed and at least average explosion.

Tight end:

Since 2016 the Seahawks have drafted four tight ends. Nick Vanett in 2016, Will Dissly in 2018, and Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan in 2020. Their average RAS scores comes to a very average 5.77. That is mostly brought down by Dissly’s 3.79, although the rest are not all that high either. The highest is Sullivan with a 7.44. All four tight ends weight 250 or more. Interestingly enough they all vary in height. Vannett is 6’6, Dissly is 6’4, Sullivan is 6’5, and Parkinson is 6’7. Three of the four have good to great agility scores.

As for 40 times they do not seem important to the Seahawks. They vary from 4.89 to 4.66. Another interesting thing is three of the four had poor explosion testing. So that seems to be another test they do not find important. Two of them had 33″ arms and the other two had 34 and 35 respectively. So it seems Carroll and Schneider like their tight ends at least 250 and with decent agility scores.

Wide Receiver:

This position is some what interesting. The Seahawks have drafted eight receivers since 2016. The average of those eight is a decent 7.61. The one guy that really brings that grade down is Kenny Lawler, his RAS score was a 2.08. With his score removed the average goes up to 8.39. So it can be surmised that they look for pretty athletic receivers. Looking at the agility scores it seems this is another position that they do not care about agility numbers. Seven of the eight receivers drafted had average to poor agility numbers. Only John Ursua had high level agility scores. The Seahawks front office also seems to prefer receivers over 200 pounds; six of the eight drafted are 200 or over, with even four of the six being 214 or heavier. Five of the eight are over 6’0.

They do seem to prioritize 40 speed. Six of the eight ran 4.45 or faster. Seven of the eight though had a vertical of 35 or better (which is considered about average). Those seven also had broad jump scores of at least 10′ which is considered average, but six of those seven had a broad jump of 10’4″ or better which is considered above average. So it can be said they also prioritize explosion drills. Five of the eight also had above average bench scores. So it seems they like big, physical, explosive but linear fast receivers.

Offensive line:

The Seahawks have drafted eight offensive linemen since 2016. Four tackles, two guards and two centers. The average RAS score of the eight is 6.21. Two of their draft picks really bring the score down. Justin Senior and Jamarco Jones both had sub 1 RAS scores which is terrible, the rest were 7.76 or above. Also right off the bat the Seahawks seem to like bigger offensive linemen. Six of the eight are 310 or heavier, with four of the six being 320+. Their heights are kind of all over from 6’2-6’8, so it does not seem to matter to them. Of the offensive tackles all have had arm length’s of 34″ or more. The interior guys have all been around 33″

We have no testing numbers for Joey Hunt, not even arm measurements. Outside of Jones and Senior the rest all score at least average on explosion testing. As for speed testing, again outside of the two outliers they all tested at least average in speed. The agility testing is all over for them so they must be tests that the Seahawks do not worry about too much when it comes to OL. On the bench testing six of the eight all tested out at least average to very good.

Defensive line:

Since 2016 Carroll/Schneider have only drafted four interior defensive linemen. Jarran Reed in 2016, Nazair Jones and Malik McDowell in 2017, and Demarcus Christmas in 2019. The average RAS score of the four is an even 5. Looking more into those numbers you find that Malik McDowell is the one that really boosts that number up with his score of 9.03. The rest of them are 3.9 or lower. So athleticism does not seem to matter to the Seahawks.

They seem to prefer the linemen on the lighter side. The heaviest one is Reed at 307. Three of the four have a 40 time of 5.11 or faster. Another common factor across the roster is agility scores. They are all either average or below average in agility. Explosion drills are also treated the same.

Edge defenders:

The Seahawks from office has also drafted four edge defenders in the last six drafts. Rasheem Green in 2018, LJ Collier in 2019, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson in 2020. Taylor has no testing on file. So the three that do their RAS scores average out to a solid 7.09, mostly brought down by Collier’s 3.25. So none of them are over 6’4 which is kind of interesting. Two of them actually are under 6’3.

The Seahawks like them on the heavier side, the lightest one is 264. Two of them are over 275. All three have average to good testing numbers on the explosive drills. Green and Robinson had 40 times of 4.73 or faster. They both also had average numbers on agility testing. This might be the one position so far that they at least seem to look at agility numbers. There is not much else to go off in regards to this position, other than they seem to like guys who are relatively athletic.

Linebackers:

Linebacker is definably an interesting study in regards to the Seahawks. Schneider and Carroll have drafted five linebackers in six drafts. Jacob Martin and Shaquem Griffin in 2018, Ben Burr-Kirven and Cody Barton in 2019, and Jordyn Brooks in 2020. The average RAS score of four of the five drafted (Jordyn Brooks didn’t test enough to get a score) was a crazy athletic 8.72. So with those numbers we can assume the Seahawks like their linebackers to be elite athletes. With having athletes of this level there is of course a trade off, three of the four are 237 or smaller-with two of them being 230 or less. Also they are not exceptionally tall. Two of them are 6’2 and the other three are 6’0.

One test that definitely stands out is 40 times. They all run a 4.64 or better, with three of the four running a 4.56 or faster. The four that tested in vertical and broad jump all had at least average numbers there. This does seem to be a position that they prioritize agility testing. three of the four that tested put up elite agility testing and the other had a great 3 cone drill but a less than average short shuttle. The Seahawks definably emphasize speed and agility testing here with at least average explosive testing.

Defensive backs:

As for defensive backs they have drafted eight since 2016. Schneider and Carroll have drafted five corners, and three safeties. The Seahawks here are a bit of a mixed bag. Their average score is a slightly above average 6.91. They have two guys with sub 5 scores, but then they have three with scores over 8.3.

In regards to corners they seem to have two different types. They have three corners that were 6’0-6’3 194+ or 5’9 185-200, Tre Flowers is the talled at 6’3 the other two are 6’0-6’1. With the corners the Seahawks drafted they all ran 4.5 40’s or faster. Again they do not seem to care much about agility drills all the corners were average to poor in those drills. Four of the five put up average to above average scores in the vertical jump and broad jump. So it seems size and speed are of importance at corner with at least average testing in the vert and broad jump.

With the safeties all three are 6’0-6’1, but not exceptionally big, Delano Hill was 216 but Thompson is 204 and Marquise Blair is 196. Again explosion and agility testing was poor or average. Tedric Thompson ran a 4.6 but the other two ran sub 4.5, so it seems they emphasize speed at safety with average size for the most part. Somewhat similar thresholds to their corners.

Final Thoughts:

The Seahawks are anther interesting study in regards to what RAS and pro-day/combine testing says about their draft preferences. Roster wide it seems they do not care about agility drills outside of off ball linebacker and Tight end…kind of. They only take highly athletic linebackers. They like big fast receivers. Their defensive linemen are pretty unathletic. Their corners and safeties are held to similar thresholds. Finally they like their offensive linemen bigger guys with average speed and explosion.

Another Year to Re-define Seahawks Football

The Seattle Seahawks have had a rough couple years trying to re-define their old stereotypes and be the team they can be. After losing to the Patriots on what could be, The worst play call of all-time, the Seahawks have yet to fully bounce back. Going on almost six years since that point in time, and nothing has changed since that point. Russell Wilson being the quarterback of the Seahawks seems to be the only thing that is working right, but it has yet to be enough. With some help over the course of free agency, trades, and the draft, they are looking to bring a title back to Seattle in what could be, the most difficult year of Russel’s career.

The Seattle Seahawks have their guy, but his time in the league is closing down each year they wait to truly make a push. With recent developments on the offensive side of the ball, and the defensive side of the ball, they are going to make the push for the Super Bowl yet again. The Seahawks had multiple seasons in the NFC east that was incredibly easy, this year won’t be anywhere close to that. After the off-season that the Rams had, the potential bounce-back of the 49ers, and the Cardinals, the Seahawks are going to have quite the road ahead of them. However, where do expectation lie within the Seahawks organization and fan-base will be something to consider as well.

After getting into the playoff’s last season, and Russell having a great season, it’s clear that they are still in win now mode. With that being said, they will be looking to take on some of the toughest teams in the NFC this year that will lead to a lot of gruesome battle’s ahead. There is a chance that with that being in perspective that the Seahawks may not even make the playoff’s this year. In a win now situation, the Seahawks are not lacking offensive weapons with Chris Carson, D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett, they have one of the best offenses in football. So what could potentially hold them back? The answer is actually extremely simple, their defense.

The Seahawks office has tried to do a lot of different things to help keep teams off the score-board, but when you draft as poorly as they do, they need to do a lot more than just that. Looking at some of the players they have drafted over the past couple seasons: Jordyn Brooks in the first round, Deejay Dallas, Freddie Swain, L.J. Collier, Cody Barton, and a lot more. Now some of the names mentioned weren’t necessarily ‘bad picks’ but the value of the picks makes the picks bad. When looking to become a true contender, it starts with developing players through the draft process, not just through trades and free agency. That idea and concept has seemed to be lost on them, and it needs to be corrected.

Looking at what the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals have done throughout the course of the last couple seasons, the Seahawks team doesn’t even hold a candle to them. With a head coach that has been holding them back for years, there has yet to be any growth within their team. As a defensive minded head coach, you would expect a good defense… that’s not the case. The Seahawks have had a rough go lately, but that doesn’t come as a surprise when your team selects L.J. Collier and Jordyn Brooks with their first round picks. Making selections like the two I just mentioned is going to be a big problem going forward. You need to have players on your defense who are leaders, but who can also perform, and unfortunately they don’t. So what can they do to change that?

Well at this point in time, there isn’t much they can do, but this off-season is a different story. Looking at their previous draft selections and the development of their draft picks, it’s not unlikely there could be a coaching change. There is only one thing that seems to be a problem each and every year since 2015, Pete Carroll. For those Seahawks fans who follow football, think back to the situation with Earl Thomas. Even while being a beloved fan of the Seahawks, he ended up wanting out due to the coaching and how the team was ran. It’s easy to say that he was just being a baby, but if that was the case, why haven’t they made a run for the Super Bowl since 2015? If they want to win again, they need to let Carrol go.

Alongside letting Carrol go, they should also look to bring in help on the positions of need. With money tied up into only a couple players, they should still be looking to bring in talent to help Wagner, Adams, and Wilson. Wilson has to be prepared to run for hundreds of yards each and every game due to horrendous offensive-line play. How can a quarterback make smart choices with the ball when he has be running outside the pocket for just about every play? The answer is he can’t. When teams started blitzing, like the Cardinals, you could see the decline from that point on. The Seahawks should be taking a note or two from the Chiefs off-season this past year.

The Chiefs had Mahomes run 500 yards in the Super Bowl due to offensive-line play, so what did they do? They signed offensive-linemen to help protect their quarterback. Russell Wilson can be considered by most a top five quarterback in the NFL despite always having to run for his life. If the Seahawks front office was able to take into consideration what it would mean to the organization if they could protect Wilson, they’d be so much better off. That start to any good organization is to make sure you build a team around your quarterback to: Keep him happy, and make sure he can be the best player he can be. There are a lot of problems within the organization, but the fact that they have not gone out to get him some protection shows how little they care about him.

Next, if you go back to the beginning of the off-season you can probably recall about Russ and the organization being in disputes about his role. As the leader, and heart and soul of the team, he felt as though he should be consulted and have an opinion in decisions. With that being said, normally I’d say that isn’t his role on the team but after years of playing with the organization, he felt disrespected. Which can you blame him? His job as the quarterback is to be the leader, but how can you win with a team who doesn’t help you out? It’s the same thing Rodgers had going on this off-season as well. As the quarterback, you should have a say in who you are going to have on your team and players you think would be a fit in the organization.

There are a lot of things that will result in the outcome of the Seahawks this season, but with the roster they have right now, they are going to be in for a tough season. It’ll take a lot of great situational coaching and great play calling, but it is obtainable. Russell is a great leader, and having him under center puts the Seahawks in a great position.

Can Miami be fine without Xavien Howard?

There has been a trend over the past several seasons among NFL playoff teams to spend significant resources on their secondary.

There has been a trend over the past several seasons among NFL playoff teams to spend significant resources on their secondary.

Having at least a solid secondary in the pass centric modern game has become a necessity if you want to give your defense a fighting chance.

The top 3-4 defenses in the league spent the most on their defensive back groups at an average of 18.63 percent. This group had the largest disparity in spending between the top and bottom defenses with a 5.18 percent difference.

Miami runs a “hybrid” defense that consists of 3-4 and 4-3 base; however, with Miami’s positional alignments and roster notes for simple terms it is a 3-4 defense.

All the teams that have made it or won in the playoffs have put copious amounts of money into the secondary. Having a good to great secondary players have been a staple in elite defenses. An argument can be made that spending money on good players in the secondary leads to wins.

Rough estimates from Spotrac detail the money spent on starters:

Super Bowl WinnersSecondary Salary
New England (2019)$38 Million
New England (2017)$16 Million*
Denver (2016)$20.6 Million
Seattle (2014)$15,5 Million*
Baltimore (2013)$14 Million*
*Denotes majority of players on rookie deals

The Salary cap jumped significantly in 2014

The 2019 Patriots Super Bowl winning team had DPOY Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, and Jonathon Jones. These players contributed to the league leading #1 Defense manned by Bill Belicheck and Brian Flores.

The 2017 Patriot’s secondary consisted of Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty lead a 5th ranked defense to a Super bowl title. With other significant role players on their rookie contracts.

The Legendary Legion of Boom had all of their Corners, Sherman, Browner and Maxwell on rookie deals; while Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor took most of the salary cap room with their contracts en route to a stunning 35 point Super bowl win.

In a league run by QBs, the guys you pay to stop them are one of the most important position groups on the field.

The secondary.

In 2020 Miami spent roughly $44 million for their starters-rightly so winning games through crucial turnovers and coverage sacks-while dialing the blitz 40% of the time.

The top 4 teams secondary spending, excluding Miami goes like this:

2020 BAL-$41.3 Mill

2020 PIT-$25 Mill

2020 ARI- $23 Mill

Now lets take a look at the 2020 Playoff teams secondary spending:

2020 Playoff Teams Secondary Spending (in cap)
BAL $41.3 Million
BUF $36.9 Million
TENN $35.9 Million
PITT $29.8 Million
KC $29.4 Million
CHI $29.1 Million
WAS $29.1 Million
CLE* $26.8 Million
GB* $24.5 Million
NO $24.5 Million
SEA $22 Million
LAR $18.3 Million
TB* $10 Million
* Denotes majority of players on rookie deals

Most if not all of these playoff teams have put copious amount of money into their top 1 to 2 defensive backs to lock down one side, with complimentary players that can handle passes thrown their way. The investment also includes DB’s from the draft, low cost pickups and UDFA signings.

Regardless of whether or not Xavien Howard stays with Miami, they have put the resources into the position to have a good secondary. With current draftees in Noah Igbinoghene, Brandon Jones, Jevon Holland, UDFA Signing of Needham Trill Williams and efficient veteran deal for McCourty and Rowe, the Dolphins are fine depth wise as all players are versatile.

While there are some unknowns in the secondary, the Dolphins coaching staff has put players in position to succeed. The biggest impact is coaching ability to develop players and help them win thier matchups, which the aforementioned teams also did. Head Coach Brian Flores and DB’s Coach Gerald Alexander are highly touted for these skills.

Miami’s ceiling is much higher with Howard’s playmaking ability at corner, but it shouldn’t make or break their season.

Brian Flores wants Xavien Howard in his defense, I think the Dolphins organization will make something work, especially since Tua Tagovailoa is still on his rookie deal.

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