QB Matt Flynn, RB Kregg Lumpkin, G Deuce Lutui, DT Jason Jones, ILB Barrett Ruud.
Early Draft Picks:
DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, LB Bobby Wagner, QB Russell Wilson, RB Robert Turbin, DT Jaye Howard.
RB Justin Forsett, WR Mike Williams, TE John Carlson, G Robert Gallery, DE Raheem Brock, DT Tony Hargrove, ILB David Hawthorne, ILB Lofa Tatupu, SS Atari Bigby.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Offense:
The Seahawks are perhaps the greatest unknown in all of football. There are just so many questions with this team. This includes...
Is Matt Flynn any good? Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Lions in a Week 17 matchup. That's more yardage than Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers or Bart Starr have ever compiled in a single contest. The stats are impressive, but are they legitimate? On one hand, many system quarterbacks playing in such a situation couldn't accomplish what Flynn was able to. On the other hand, Flynn was battling an inept Detroit secondary that had nothing to play for.
Even more telling is what happened this spring. When Joe Philbin, Flynn's former offensive coordinator, took the job in Miami, everyone assumed that Flynn would be taking his possible talents to South Beach. However, the Dolphins lowballed Flynn, offering him half the money he received from the Seahawks. Why wouldn't his former coach want him? That definitely speaks volumes, and it's a reminder of when the Chiefs passed on Jimmy Clausen in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. There's a reason Charlie Weis didn't want Clausen. Did Philbin eschew obtaining Flynn for similar reasons?
Flynn hasn't been too impressive at OTAs, failing to distance himself from the pedestrian Tarvaris Jackson. Flynn will almost certainly start the opening week, but it's yet another bad sign.
Can Marshawn Lynch stay motivated? Beast Mode has become a fan favorite in Seattle. It's hard not to root for him. He runs like a mad man wanting to murder someone, and then the ridiculousness with the Skittles tops it off. However, Lynch has a history of lethargy. Many projected him to have a big 2011 campaign because he was playing for a contract. Now that he pocketed $17 million guaranteed, will he give 100-percent effort? History says no, but it's possible that Lynch has changed his tune.
Will Sidney Rice and Kellen Winslow Jr. be on the field? The Seahawks passed on Michael Floyd in the 2012 NFL Draft, so Rice remains their only viable downfield target. They did, however, trade a conditional seventh-round pick for Winslow. Both players are very injury-prone. Winslow has a dubious history with his knees, while Rice has missed a whopping 17 games the past two seasons.
Will another receiver step up if/when Rice goes down? Seattle likes Ricardo Lockette, a 6-3 receiver with what Pete Carroll called "tremendous speed." He caught passes for 44 and 61 yards in the final two games of the 2011 season. It's possible that he could step up and became a worthy No. 2 wideout. Golden Tate, meanwhile, also finished strong. He had 19 receptions for 209 yards in his final five weeks of the season.
Can the offensive line stay healthy? Right tackle James Carpenter, a third-round prospect chosen in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft (sound familiar?) tore his ACL in November. He could open the season on the PUP list, which would mean the inept Breno Giacomini will have to start across from Russell Okung, who has his own injury issues. Okung is coming off a torn pectoral and always seems to be banged up.
The news is better in the interior of the front. Max Unger is a quality center who didn't surrender a single sack last season. Left guard Paul McQuistan permitted five sacks, but did a great job of opening running lanes for Lynch. Right guard John Moffitt struggled as a rookie before tearing his MCL and PCL in November, but it sounds like he'll be ready for training camp.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Defense:
No discussion of Seattle's stop unit can go without mentioning what the team did in the 2012 NFL Draft. After moving down from No. 12 to No. 15, the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin, a 245-pound rush linebacker from West Virginia. Irvin is a terrific athlete, but anyone who watched him play in college would note that opposing blockers threw him around effortlessly. This Web site's own Charlie Campbell noted so in a recap of the West Virginia vs. Pitt game:
"Irvin (6-3, 236) is all speed. He is very undersized, and often, offensive linemen treat him like a rag doll. Irvin gets knocked down easily and run through in the ground game. In the NFL, he is going to have to be a linebacker. Irvin could be a situational pass-rushing linebacker in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense, but does not look like he has the size and power to hold up on blocks against NFL offensive linemen. Irvin could be a good contributor if used correctly. He looks like a second- or third-round pick for a team that doesn't need a starter and can use him in spots."
Irvin was a second- or a third-round prospect before getting into trouble for defacing public property. This was not the first time he's endured legal issues (he also committed robbery a few years ago). Clearly a rescidivist, Irvin shouldn't have been chosen before the fifth round. Seattle took him 15th overall. The problem is that the Seahawks will be counting on Irvin to produce this year, and aside from perhaps a couple of sacks, he won't be able to do so because he's not a good football player. If he was knocked over by Big East linemen, how will he possibly contribute against NFL blockers?
With Raheem Brock gone, the only player who will be able to generate consistent pressure is defensive end Chris Clemons, who registered 11 sacks in 2011. Clemons will be 31 in October, but still should be able to play well. Newly signed defensive tackle Jason Jones might be able to help in terms of getting to the quarterback, but he's coming off a down year.
The rest of the defensive front is comprised of powerful ground-defenders. Alan Branch, Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane all do a fantastic job of clogging the running lanes and allowing their linebackers to make plays. Unfortunately, the linebacker position is not as strong for the Seahawks as it's been recently.
David Hawthorne is now with the Saints. His replacement could be Barrett Ruud. Calling this a massive downgrade is a major understatement. Ruud was one of the five worst starting linebackers in the NFL last year. He's been terrible for the past few seasons. Second-round rookie Bobby Wagner has to beat him out during training camp, or he'll be a lost cause. The winner of that "battle" will be surrounded by the decent Leroy Hill and up-and-coming K.J. Wright, who exceeded expectations as a rookie in 2011.
Speaking of rookies who stepped up, cornerback Richard Sherman had a terrific 2011 campaign. He replaced an injured Marcus Trufant in early November and never looked back; opposing quarterbacks had a 46.4 completion percentage when targeting him. It definitely helped that he was getting great support by a pair of dynamic safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Brandon Browner is the lone liability in Seattle's secondary. He played well at times last year, but committed a whopping 15 penalties, which was second amongst all corners (Stanford Routt) in 2011. Trufant was retained, so maybe he'll push Browner if the young corner keeps piling up yellow flags.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Schedule and Intangibles:
The Seahawks aren't kidding about this whole 12th man thing. The deafening noise at Qwest Field is why they were 25-4 as hosts from 2005 to 2007. They were 4-4 at home last year despite fielding a pretty bad team. They could have easily been 5-3, but were robbed of a victory against the 49ers.
While Seattle is great at home thanks to its great fans, the team is pitiful on the road. Since 2007, the Seahawks are 11-31 as visitors.
Ask any professional football gambler or handicapper when to bet against Seattle, and they'll say to do so in 1 p.m. East Coast games. They've had six of those since 2008, and lost five by a combined score of 129-38. They somehow beat the Super Bowl champion Giants last year, eliminating nearly everyone's Survivor Pool entry. Go figure. Fortunately, the Seahawks have only one 1 p.m. East Coast battle in 2012 - against the lowly Dolphins.
Though Jim Mora Jr. unprofessionally blamed Olindo Mare for blowing a game against the Bears because of two missed field goals, Mare drilled 73-of-83 attempts in three years with the Seahawks. Mare is gone, unfortunately, and Seattle has replaced him with Steven Hauschka, who had a dubious track record prior to 2011. He improved, however, drilling 25-of-30 attempts.
Punter Jon Ryan was very solid last season, maintaining a 46.6 average, hitting 34-of-95 boots inside the 20.
Leon Washington scored three special-teams touchdowns in 2010. Karma struck last year, however, as the Seahawks surrendered three scores themselves. Washington maintained quality averages, but could not find the end zone.
The Seahawks have a ridiculously tough schedule to kick off the year. Six of their first eight opponents are the Cowboys, Packers, Panthers (road), Patriots, 49ers and Lions. Even their two "easier" contests in that sequence are away from home. The schedule is more manageable starting in Week 9, but Seattle could be out of contention by then.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Analysis: The Seahawks have a high ceiling. If Matt Flynn turns out to be a good quarterback, and if Marshawn Lynch stays motivated, and if Sidney Rice doesn't get hurt, Seattle could contend for the divisional crown.
The floor is incredibly low too, unfortunately. Flynn could suck, Lynch could be lazy, Rice could once again suffer an injury, while the defense could take a step backward because of poor offseason decisions. Considering the schedule and all of the uncertainties, it's more likely that the Seahawks will finish third in the NFC West.
Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft: Seattle filled its need at quarterback by signing Matt Flynn, so the front office can now concentrate on upgrading the front seven. The pass rush is lacking, while the linebacking corps is in shambles. The Seahawks can fix both areas in the first two rounds because there will be prospects at those positions available at both selections.
2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Bruce Irvin is a one-trick pony who has speed to rush to the passer off the edge. Except he doesn't do this trick very well because Big East tackles constantly tossed him aside like a rag doll. I figured that Irvin would be a second- or a third-round selection because of his upside; if he could put on weight and maintain his quickness, he could perhaps turn into a poor-man's Elvis Dumervil.
But then Irvin was arrested for defacing public property. And then it was revealed that he dropped out of high school and committed robbery a few years ago. Irvin is clearly a recidivist, and that's why I mocked him in the fifth or sixth rounds a couple of weeks ago. I figured some team that didn't care about character issues would take a chance on him.
Irvin is one of the worst draft picks of all time, but Seattle's stupidity didn't end there. They moved down in the second round and lost out on Mychal Kendricks as a result. There were also numerous reaches on Day 3. The receiver position was not addressed, so Flynn won't have anyone to throw to once Sidney Rice suffers his annual injury.
I can't make fun of the Raiders anymore because Al Davis passed away, but I'm glad to see that the Seahawks have quickly stepped in. Per very reliable sources in the underworld, Bazuzu, a dark spirit obsessed with 40 times, has moved on from Davis to possess Pete Carroll. That is why Carroll believes Irvin is a "great playa."
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
15. Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia: MATT MILLEN LSD-LACED KIELBASA ORGY WITH 200 USDA MEN Grade
Wow!!! What the hell are the Seahawks doing? You pick one-trick ponies in the third or fourth round. And you pick one-trick ponies who get arrested for robbery and defacing public property in the sixth or seventh round. Did Seattle write the wrong name down on the card? If they did mean to pick him, did they even watch him on tape? He's an athlete playing football. This is one of the worst draft picks of all time.
47. Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah State: B- Grade
What's funny is that the Seahawks could have chosen Bobby Wagner at No. 15 and Bruce Irvin at No. 47, and it would have made more sense. Wagner is an OK selection. He's a bit of a reach, but my major issue that Seattle missed out on Mychal Kendricks by trading down for just two late picks.
74. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin: B Grade
I can almost hear Bazuzu eminating from Pete Carroll: "Russell... Wilson... is a... great... playa..." I like Wilson because he's a winner and a great leader. He's almost like Doug Flutie in that he can play quarterback well despite being severely undersized. I'm kind of shocked the Seahawks chose him because I thought they really liked Josh Portis as a developmental signal-caller, but Wilson can be groomed into a potential starter if Matt Flynn flops.
106. Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State: A Grade
The Seahawks needed running back depth behind Marshawn Lynch, so they were expected to take a player at this position here. Robert Turbin provides some nice value; he was projected by some to go in the third round.
114. Jaye Howard, DT, Florida: B Grade
Seattle had to find depth at defensive tackle; the front office made a nice signing in Jason Jones this offseason, but it was only able to lock him for one year. If Jones walks, the Seahawks will need alternative options. Howard fits the range in the middle of Round 4.
154. Korey Toomer, ILB, Idaho: C Grade
It's hardly a surprise that the Seahawks spent a second draft pick on a linebacker, but Korey Toomer is a reach in the middle of Round 5. But I don't think Bazuzu/Pete Carroll cares about reaches at this point.
172. Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State: C Grade
Seattle had to find some cornerback depth, so this pick makes sense. Jeremy Lane might be a slight reach at this juncture, but no one in Seattle has ever heard of the R-word.
181. Winston Guy, S, Kentucky: C Grade
We've established that Bazuzu's Seahawks have a radically different board than everyone else, so I'm not going to use the R-word. Winston Guy does fill a need for safety depth though.
225. J.R. Sweezy, DT, N.C. State: C+ Grade
Another defensive tackle? There were better players at the position available if the Seahawks wanted one.
232. Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville: C Grade
Another defensive tackle? Wait, didn't I just type that? Greg Scruggs was not a priority UDFA projection, so this is a r- never mind.
The most entertaining aspect of the Seahawks' forgettable season were all the posts from Migelini about Tarvis Jackson, Marcel Runny Guy, Sid, Taptua and Coach Carrull. Oh, and the Skittles. You've gotta love the Skittles.
Seahawks acquire TE Kellen Winslow Jr. from Buccaneers for conditional 7th-round pick
Seahawks re-sign K Steven Hauschka
Seahawks re-sign OLB Leroy Hill
Seahawks re-sign ILB Matt McCoy
Seahawks re-sign CB Marcus Trufant
Seahawks sign ILB Barrett Ruud
Seahawks re-sign CB Roy Lewis
Seahawks sign G Deuce Lutui
Saints sign ILB David Hawthorne
Packers sign DT Tony Hargrove
Seahawks sign RB Kregg Lumpkin
Seahawks sign OT Frank Omiyale
Patriots sign G Robert Gallery
Seahawks sign QB Matt Flynn
Seahawks sign DT Jason Jones
Chargers sign SS Atari Bigby
Chargers sign QB Charlie Whitehurst
Seahawks re-sign FB Michael Robinson
Seahawks cut G Robert Gallery
Vikings sign TE John Carlson
Seahawks re-sign DE/DT Red Bryant
Seahawks re-sign RB Marshawn Lynch
Seahawks re-sign OT Breno Giacomini
Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson wasn't terrible last season, but he'll never lead a team deep into the playoffs because he makes too many mistakes. If the Seahawks can't trade up for Robert Griffin, I don't know how they'll fix this problem. Signed Matt Flynn; drafted Russell Wilson
Right Defensive End: The Seahawks had only one player (Chris Clemons) who could pressure the quarterback last year. Raheem Brock's production really fell off. Making matters worse, Clemons will be a 31-year-old free agent next March. Drafted Bruce Irvin
Guard: Robert Gallery was brought to Seattle because of offensive line coach Tom Cable, but the former Raider struggled in his new home. Signed Frank Omiyale and Deuce Lutui
Defensive Tackle: More pass-rushing help needs to come from the interior of the defensive line. Signed Jason Jones; drafted Jaye Howard
Two Linebackers: Leroy Hill and David Hawthrone are skilled linebackers who will be hitting the market in March. They must be retained. Drafted Bobby Wagner; signed Barrett Ruud; re-signed Matt McCoy and Leroy Hill
Left Defensive End: Red Bryant is so instrumental in Seattle's ability to stop the run. He's a free agent who must be brought back. Re-signed Red Bryant
Cornerback: Marcus Trufant is gone. The Seahawks will need a new starting cornerback across from Richard Sherman, who had an exceptional rookie campaign. Brandon Browner played well at times, but committed way too many penalties. Re-signed Marcus Trufant
Running Back: Marshawn Lynch is a free agent. The Seahawks are expected to franchise him. Even if they do, they'll need to find some depth. Re-signed Marshawn Lynch; drafted Robert Turbin; signed Kregg Lumpkin
2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Matt Flynn, QB, Packers. Age: 27. Signed with Seahawks (3 years, $26 million; $10 million guaranteed)
When Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards in a Week 17 win over the Lions, he passed for more yardage than any Packer quarterback in a single game. There's a limited sample size, but the potential is clearly there. Flynn will be a starter somewhere next season. It's also worth noting that Charley Casserly, the man who spent early picks on David Carr and Dave Ragone, doesn't think too highly of Flynn. This could very well mean that Flynn has Pro Bowl potential.
Jason Jones, DT, Titans. Age: 26. Signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Jason Jones thrived as a defensive tackle in a wide-nine scheme prior to this season. He was moved to defensive end in 2011 and consequently struggled. Jones needs to go to Detroit, Philadelphia or St. Louis this spring.
Kregg Lumpkin, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Seahawks
Barrett Ruud, ILB, Titans. Age: 29. -- Signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Deuce Lutui, G, Cardinals. Age: 29. -- Signed with Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
David Hawthorne, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 27. Signed with Saints (5 years)
David Hawthorne is one of the better inside linebackers in the NFL. He had a nagging knee injury that plagued him throughout 2011, but he still performed on a really high level.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26. Re-signed with Seahawks (4 years, $32 million; $18 million guaranteed)
Marshawn Lynch is a tough one to rank. Based on what he did this year, he deserves 4.5 stars, but his lacking effort for most of 2010 and prior is alarming. Will he slack off after receiving a new contract like Chris Johnson, or will he continue to terrorize defenses with his punishing running ability? Caveat emptor, Seahawks.
Red Bryant, DE/DT, Seahawks. Age: 28. Re-signed with Seahawks (5 years, $35 million; $14.5 million guaranteed)
Red Bryant is a powerful run-stuffer who can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4.
Leroy Hill, OLB, Seahawks. Age: 29. Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Leroy Hill, bastard of Lannisport, is a three-down weakside linebacker with no liabilities, save for health. He was always injury-prone, but made it through unscathed in 2011. He'll be 30 on Sept. 14.
Steven Hauschka (RFA), K, Seahawks. Age: 27. Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year, $1.26 million)
Steven Hauschka was a surprising 25-of-30 in 2011. Let's see if he can have another solid year.
Marcus Trufant, CB, Seahawks. Age: 31. Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Marcus Trufant, who just turned 31 on Christmas, has some back issues that really affected his play last year. He really struggled and may never be the same again.
John Carlson, TE, Seahawks. Age: 28. Signed with Vikings (5 years, $25 million; $11 million guaranteed)
How is John Carlson 28 already? The former Notre Dame tight end missed all of 2011 with a shoulder injury, and it's safe to wonder if he'll ever reach his potential.
Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 29. Signed with Falcons (2 years, $5.75 million)
Lofa Tatupu (or Taptua) oddly received no interest in 2011. Maybe a year off was what he needed to recover from all of his injuries.
Robert Gallery, G, Seahawks. Age: 32. Signed with Patriots
Robert Gallery used to be a very good guard, but various injuries have derailed his career. He could get healthy again, but then again, I could win the lottery tomorrow.
Tony Hargrove, DT, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Signed with Packers
Breno Giacomini, OT, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years, $6 million; $1.5 million signing bonus)
Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Signed with Texans
Michael Robinson, FB, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Seahawks
Raheem Brock, DE, Seahawks. Age: 34.
Atari Bigby, SS, Seahawks. Age: 30. -- Signed with Chargers (2 years)
Roy Lewis, CB, Seahawks. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks. Age: 28.
David Vobora, OLB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
Matt McCoy, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Jimmy Wilkerson, DE, Seahawks. Age: 31.
Charlie "Whithart" Whitehurst, QB, Seahawks. Age: 30. -- Signed with Chargers
2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon
Divisional Rival History: Arizona Cardinals: Arizona won six of seven prior to the 2010 season. Kurt Warner's absence hurt, as the Seahawks have won three of the past four this series. San Francisco 49ers: The Seahawks and 49ers split the season series the three years prior to 2011. San Francisco swept last year. St. Louis Rams: The Seahawks have won all but one of the 14 matchups after the Rams knocked them out of the playoffs in 2004.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
As the NFL Draft approaches, I will be making weekly adjustments up until the 27th of April. Rest of the writeups will be coming later this week. Any questions/comments/criticisms can be voiced in the comments. I will respond to all.