The Seattle Seahawks enter the 2022 season in a transitional period after trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos this offseason. With the NFL offseason getting into full swing, here we assess and grade every Seahawks position group heading into the 2022 season.
QB: Geno Smith, Drew Lock, Jacob Eason
The most important position on any NFL team is by far the worst position in the Emerald City. After trading away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, the signal-caller competition in Seattle comes down to Smith and Lock after the team neglected to add a quarterback in the NFL Draft. Head coach Pete Carroll recently named Smith as the early leader in the competition by virtue of his knowledge of the offense (he already has a one-year head start and three games started under offensive coordinator Shane Waldron).
However, it would be in Seattle’s best interest to have Lock start in 2022, which we wrote about extensively here. Eason is a distant third in the quarterback room and a possible practice squad candidate. Of note is Seattle’s rumored interest in Baker Mayfield; the former 1st overall pick only appears to be an option if cut by the Cleveland Browns who have insisted no such transaction is forthcoming.
RB: Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker III (R), Chris Carson, Deejay Dallas, Travis Homer, Josh Johnson, Darwin Thompson, Nick Bellore (FB)
A tough, physical running game has been Carroll’s offensive hallmark for over a decade in Seattle and the franchise embraced that in the draft with their second-round selection of Walker III. His tough running style should mesh well with Penny’s ability to hit holes and fly past defenders on the second level as he looks to continue the tear he began at the end of 2021. Carson’s future in football remains a significant question mark due to a neck injury while Dallas and Homer represent adequate third-down backs with their respective receiving and blocking abilities.
WR: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge, Marquise Goodwin, Freddie Swain, Bo Melton (R), Penny Hart, Dareke Young (R), Cody Thompson, Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson, Deontez Alexander, Kevin Kassis
This is the best position group on the team which is simultaneously a testament to the talent of Metcalf and Lockett and an indictment of much of the roster. Both will be opening a season without Wilson throwing them the ball for the first time in their careers, and if Lock wins the job, with a quarterback they’ve never caught a pass from. Behind them, 2021 second-round pick Dee Eskridge needs to demonstrate a marked improvement from his 10-catch rookie season, while Goodwin and Swain will compete for depth roles. Rookie seventh-round pick Bo Melton is an interesting player and his best chance to contribute on offense and make the roster is to demonstrate his ability to be used as a gadget receiver.
TE: Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, Tyler Mabry, Cade Brewer
Seattle’s tight end room is headed by a new face in Fant, who was part of the return from Denver in the Wilson trade. At 6’4”, 249 lbs. and with 4.5 speed, he projects to be an athletic threat down the seam and the top candidate as Seattle’s third receiving option behind Metcalf and Lockett. In 23 career games with Lock, Fant has recorded 85 receptions for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns.
Seattle resigned Dissly this offseason for his blocking prowess and he should remain the team’s top blocker at the position. At 6-foot-7, Parkinson is an intriguing red-zone threat but has just seven catches in two seasons. There were times in seasons past where Wilson neglected to throw to down the seam with frequency (despite being efficient when he did so) which certainly impacted tight end production. It will be worth keeping an eye on this in 2022 with a new quarterback at the helm.
OL: Charles Cross (R), Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, Jake Curhan, Abraham Lucas (R), Stone Forsythe, Kyle Fuller, Phil Haynes, Dakoda Shepley, Shamarious Gilmore, Greg Eiland, Liam Ryan, Pier-Olivier Lestage,
This is an extremely young group with a promising trajectory but will likely serve as a hindrance to winning games in 2022. At left tackle, 9th overall pick Cross looks like the likely starter, while third-round selection Lucas may begin the season behind Curhan but has a good shot at ending the season as the starter. On the interior, incumbents Lewis and Jackson have the guard spots locked down with minimal competition behind them. The center spot projects as a training camp battle between Blythe and Fuller; this has been a notable position of weakness for the Seahawks. Duane Brown had been the team’s starting left tackle for over four seasons and remains a free agent, but a reunion is unlikely after the team drafted Cross.
DL: Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Shelby Harris, Al Woods, Boye Mafe (R), Alton Robinson, L.J. Collier, Bryan Mone, Tyreke Smith (R), Myles Adams, Jarrod Hewitt, Matt Gotel, Alex Tchangam,
After finishing in the bottom-10 in sacks last season, the Seahawks are at the very least unlikely to be there again. New defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt has spoken about adopting 3-4 principles and Seattle’s interior defensive line and edge rusher groups have solid – though unproven – depth. The underrated Ford should start at defensive tackle, with run-stuffing specialist Woods and Mone rotating in. The Seahawks’ 3-4 defensive ends will consist of Harris, who arrived in the Wilson trade, Jefferson, who returns after stints in Buffalo and Las Vegas, and Collier. The latter had his fifth-year option declined and will look to demonstrate why the team made him a first-round pick in 2019.
The highlight of Seattle’s edge group is top free-agent signee Nwosu. The former Charger is a rising talent and signed a two-year, $19.05 million contract with the Seahawks. He will rush alongside Taylor, who had sacks in four of Seattle’s first five games before a Week 6 neck injury slowed him down. Now two full years removed from major leg surgery, he is on the precipice of a breakout season. Second-round pick Mafe and third-year rusher Robinson will provide solid depth with the potential to be legitimate threats to quarterbacks soon.
LB: Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Jon Rhattigan, Tanner Muse, Levi Jones, Lakiem Williams, Aaron Donkor, Joshua Onujiogu
Seattle’s changing of the guard is continued in this group as the release of future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner means the team will take the field without him for the first time since 2012. Brooks stuffed the stat sheet with 184 combined tackles, 10 TFLs, and five pass deflections and looks ready to take over in the middle for Seattle. He will call defensive plays for the first time in his career. The depth behind him, however, is a cause for grave concern. Barton is a special teams maven but has started just five games in his career. He will have to take a big jump in his defensive play, particularly in coverage, to become even an average linebacker. Burr-Kirven and Rhattigan are coming off torn ACLs while nobody else on the roster has started a game at inside linebacker.
CB: Tre Brown, Sidney Jones IV, Artie Burns, Justin Coleman, Coby Bryant (R), Tariq Woolen (R), John Reid, Michael Jackson Sr., Elijah Jones, Josh Turner
In a similar vein to the offensive lineman, Seattle’s corners are young and physically gifted but require plenty of development. Brown performed admirably in 2021 before a torn patellar tendon prematurely terminated his season. Jones played well in 2022 and is an average #2 cornerback but could struggle if he opens the year as the top cornerback for the Seahawks thanks to the departure of D.J Reed in free agency. Burns has the prototypical Seattle cornerback build at 6’0” with 33 ¼ inch arms while Coleman returns after two years in Detroit and a season in Miami. Along with Hurtt, it will be interesting to see the influence on this position group via new associate head coach Sean Desai (former defensive coordinator for the Bears) and defensive passing game coordinator Karl Scott (former defensive back coach for Alabama and the Vikings)
S: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Ryan Neal, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi, Josh Jones, Joey Blount, Bubba Bolden, Scott Nelson, Deontai Williams
The back end of the secondary is the best unit on Seattle’s defense as the duo of Adams and Diggs is among the best in the league. However, the highly paid pair is coming off a torn labrum and broken fibula and will need to be at full health to thrive in 2022. Blair has shown flashes but has played in just eight games the last two seasons because of knee injuries while Amadi was a liability in 2021. Neal is a solid third safety and a reliable backup. UDFA Bolden is an interesting physical prospect coming off a shoulder injury that ended his senior year; he has an outside shot to make the roster but will have to improve his angles and tackling issues that Carroll will abhor.
Specialists: Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Dickson remains not only a fan favorite, but one of the best punters in the league – he led all punters in punts inside the 20 and ranked third in net yards. Myers was just 74% on his field goal attempts in 2021 after checking in at 100% in 2020. Seattle would save $4M and $1M dead cap if he is cut post-June 1 but the team is yet to bring any competition. Seattle’s return game has become largely toothless over the past few seasons; Melton’s best path to making the 53-man roster is to show out in the return game during the preseason.