2021 NFL Offseason: Seattle Seahawks




Seattle Seahawks (Last Year: 12-4)



2021 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
TE Gerald Everett, G Gabe Jackson, DE Aldon Smith, DE Kerry Hyder, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Pierre Desir.
Early Draft Picks:
WR Dwayne Eskridge, CB Tre Brown. Seahawks Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
RB Carlos Hyde, WR Josh Gordon, WR David Moore, TE Greg Olsen, TE Jacob Hollister, G Mike Iupati, DT Jarran Reed, OLB Bruce Irvin, LB K.J. Wright, LB Shaquem Griffin, CB Shaq Griffin, CB Quinton Dunbar.

2021 Seattle Seahawks Offense:
Russell Wilson is extremely positive and never criticizes his teammates or his franchise, but that changed this offseason. Understandably frustrated by the lack of protection the front office has given him, Wilson told the media that he was hoping for better blocking next year. This was a very fair criticism, as Wilson may have won more than a single Super Bowl in his career had he been protected well.

The Seahawks didn't have many resources in the 2021 NFL Draft, so that wasn't an option to bolster the offensive line. Instead, they acquired Gabe Jackson from the Raiders. Jackson was once known as one of the top guards in the NFL, which is why the Raiders gave him a $56 million contract. He regressed of late, prompting Las Vegas to trade him for just a fifth-round pick. It remains to be seen if Jackson can rebound, but he's still young enough to do so (30 in July). Regardless, Jackson will sure be an upgrade over what the Seahawks had at one of the guard spots last year.

The remaining four starters up front will return from last year. Left tackle Duane Brown is the biggest name, and for good reason. He's been an exceptional blind-side protector for quite some time, but he turns 36 in late August and might be due for regression as a consequence. He'll start next to second-year Damien Lewis, who thrived as a rookie last year. The other starters - center Ethan Pocic, right tackle Brandon Shell - aren't projected to be as good as the other three, but they're not liabilities either.

With Jackson perhaps fortifying the offensive line, Wilson should have more time in the pocket to locate some dynamic threats for big gains. D.K. Metcalf is emerging as one of the top receivers in the NFL, while Tyler Lockett is a dangerous secondary option. The Seahawks spent a second-round pick on D'Wayne Eskridge to serve as a dynamic third wideout. It's safe to say that his upside is higher than David Moore's.

The running back corps remains largely unchanged. Chris Carson is a steady back who catches passes well. He's once again favored to start, but former first-round pick Rashaad Penny can't be dismissed. Penny missed all but three games last year because of a knee injury.





2021 Seattle Seahawks Defense:
While Russell Wilson's wish was granted as far as his offensive line is concerned, perhaps he should have made a second plea for the front office to upgrade the defensive front. Seattle struggled mightily in this area last year, failing to generate much pressure on quarterbacks and getting trampled against the run.

The Seahawks didn't do much to help in this regard. All they did was sign Kerry Hyder, who recorded 8.5 sacks for the 49ers last year. Hyder is a solid role player, but he's far from an ideal starter. Nevertheless, he'll be thrust into that role across from Carlos Dunlap, who gave the Seahawks a nice boost after the team acquired him from the Bengals during the middle of this past season. Seattle also has a couple of young edge rushers - Darrell Taylor, L.J. Collier - but neither has shown anything yet.

Seattle doesn't have much in the interior of the defensive line either. Poona Ford is a nice run-stuffer, but that's about it. There's not much optimism about what Al Woods and Rasheem Green can contribute.

The Seahawks will need their pass rush to improve because of some issues in their secondary. The top two cornerbacks from last year, Quinton Dunbar and Shaq Griffin, are gone. Then again, Dunbar and Griffin missed time with injuries last year, so Seattle is used to playing without them. D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers played plenty of snaps in 2020, with Reed being the better of the two. The Seahawks added Akhello Witherspoon and Tre Brown to compete for the starting jobs. Witherspoon has been very inconsistent performer throughout his career, while Brown is just a fourth-round rookie.

Speaking of injured defensive backs, Jamal Adams wasn't quite right last year when he returned from a health issue that he suffered in September. Adams figures to improve in his second year with the Seahawks. He'll once again start next to Quandre Diggs, a talented player who also is coming off a down year.

While the safety situation figures to improve in 2021, the linebacking corps will be worse. The Seahawks lost K.J. Wright to free agency, which is a huge deal. Bobby Wagner is still one of the top linebackers in the NFL, but Seattle doesn't have another proven player at the position. Jordyn Brooks is a first-round pick from 2020, but he struggled during his rookie campaign.





2021 Seattle Seahawks Schedule and Intangibles:
The Seahawks had a tremendous home-field advantage when they were great. The deafening noise at Qwest Field is why they were a ridiculous 49-12 as hosts over the past seven seasons prior to 2019. Oddly enough, the Seahawks were better on the road (8-2) than at home (4-4) in 2019 for some reason. They were 7-2 as hosts in 2020 despite the fans not being there.

Jason Myers had a great 2020 campaign with the Jets, converting all 24 of his field goal attempts. He missed four extra points, however.

A fifth-round pick was spent on punter Michael Dickson three years ago. Dickson finished sixth in net average as a rookie. He dropped to 19th in 2019, but rebounded to finish third last year.

No touchdowns were scored for or against the Seahawks on special teams.

Seattle has to battle the three tough teams in the NFC West, so it's a good thing it'll have easier matchups within the NFC North and AFC South.



2021 Seattle Seahawks Rookies:
Go here for the Seahawks Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2021 Seattle Seahawks Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Quarterbacks
Offensive Line
Secondary
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams
Receivers
Linebackers
Coaching


2021 Seattle Seahawks Analysis: Russell Wilson will need to be at his best this season because he'll have to carry a miserable defense. The upgrade the front office made to the offensive line should help, but it may not be enough, as Wilson will have to navigate through the toughest division in the NFL. The Seahawks are still likely to have a good record because of Wilson, but advancing deep into the playoffs will be a challenge.

Projection: 10-7 (4th in NFC West)

2020 Projection: 12-4. 2020 Actual Result: 12-4.
2019 Projection: 9-7. 2019 Actual Result: 11-5.
2018 Projection: 6-10. 2018 Actual Result: 10-6.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 9-7.
2016 Projection: 12-4. 2016 Actual Result: 10-5-1.

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NFL Draft Team Grade: F Grade

Goals Entering the 2021 NFL Draft: The Seahawks have just three draft choices heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, so I imagine they'll want to trade down on several occasions. As they do so, they must somehow fill big needs on their offensive and defensive lines.

2021 NFL Draft Accomplishments: So much for trading down and addressing the big needs on the offensive and defensive lines! Seattle failed to do that in the second round, refusing to budge off No. 56. Rather than addressing the trenches there, the Seahawks spent the pick on a third receiver.

This was a horrific decision because it prevented the Seahawks from walking away from the 2021 NFL Draft with upgrades on their lines. They at least traded down when they were on the clock with their second pick. They added a cornerback, which addressed a need, but they didn't touch the trenches until the 200s when they selected Stone Forsythe.

This draft was a failure. Russell Wilson will continue to run for his life despite begging for blocking help earlier in the offseason. The defensive line, meanwhile, won't be able to pressure opposing quarterbacks or stop the run.





NFL Draft Individual Grades:

56. Dwayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan - F Grade
There are so many reasons to hate this pick. First of all, it's a shock that the Seahawks didn't trade down because they had just three selections in this draft. Second, Russell Wilson complained about offensive line help, yet Seattle didn't address it. Third, Dwayne Eskridge was someone I've had in the third or fourth rounds. And fourth, this doesn't fill a need at all.


137. Tre Brown, CB/KR, Oklahoma - B+ Grade
Tre Brown isn't the greatest athlete, but he was a competitive and productive player at Oklahoma. It's troubling that the Seahawks once again eschewed addressing their blocking and pass rush, but cornerback was a need as well. Brown is a solid value pick.


208. Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida - A- Grade
The Seahawks finally obtained an offensive lineman! I mocked Stone Forsythe 35 picks earlier, so I like the value Seattle is getting with Forsythe, who blocked well the past two seasons. He allowed just two sacks last year.






Follow @walterfootball for updates.



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Season Summary:
The Seahawks looked like the best team in the NFC in the first half of the season, while Russell Wilson was the MVP front-runner. Things changed in the second half of the year, as Seattle stopped Wilson from throwing so much for unknown reasons. The result was an instant loss in the playoffs.






Offseason Moves:
  • Seahawks sign DE Aldon Smith
  • Seahawks sign DE Kerry Hyder
  • Seahawks acquire G Gabe Jackson from Raiders
  • Seahawks sign TE Gerald Everett
  • Seahawks sign CB Ahkello Witherspoon
  • Seahawks announce retirement of TE Greg Olsen






    Team Needs:
    1. Guard: Protecting Russell Wilson is the top priority. The Seahawks have a promising guard in Damien Lewis, but they need another talented player at the position. Traded for Gabe Jackson

    2. Two Edge Rushers: Seattle's other top priority is upgrading the edge rush, which was incredibly lacking last year. Re-signed Carlos Dunlap; signed Aldon Smith and Kerry Hyder

    3. Defensive Tackle: Here's another position where the Seahawks can obtain a player to get after the quarterback.



    4. Cornerback: The Seahawks have some young cornerbacks, but their top two players at the position are both impending free agents. One will need to be re-signed. Signed Ahkello Witherspoon

    5. Center: This is another offensive line position that will need to be addressed if Ethan Pocic leaves via free agency. Re-signed Ethan Pocic

    6. Wide Receiver: The Seahawks could use a better third receiver than David Moore.


      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.






    2021 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, 49ers. Age: 26.
      Signed with Seahawks (1 year)

      Ahkello Witherspoon has been incredibly inconsistent throughout his career thus far. He played well in limited action last year, but struggled in 2019. He's only 26, and the upside is there, so perhaps Witherspoon is undervalued right now.

    2. Aldon Smith, DE, Cowboys. Age: 31.
      Signed with Seahawks

      Aldon Smith hadn't played since 2015, but came back from his long hiatus and performed well. He logged five sacks in 2020.

    3. Kerry Hyder, DE, 49ers. Age: 30.
      Signed with Seahawks (3 years, $16.5 million)

      Kerry Hyder played well in relief of the injured elite 49er defensive ends last year, logging 8.5 sacks. I don't know if that's sustainable, but Hyder deserves a chance to play significant snaps in 2021.

    4. Gerald Everett, TE, Rams. Age: 27.
      Signed with Seahawks (1 year, $6 million)

      Gerald Everett is a highly athletic tight end. His numbers haven't been great, but he's one of many targets Jared Goff has had at his disposal.






    Seattle Seahawks Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Shaq Griffin, CB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jaguars (3 years, $44.5 million)

      Shaq Griffin missed a handful of games in 2020, and he never really looked the same upon his return from injury. He's still just 26, so he could improve in the near future.

    2. K.J. Wright, LB, Seahawks. Age: 32.
      The Seahawks used K.J. Wright all over the defense last year. He did well as a blitzer, and he was strong in coverage. However, he's 32, so regression is coming soon.

    3. Poona Ford (RFA), NT, Seahawks. Age: 25.
      Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years)

      Poona Ford is a monstrous run stuffer, and he's only 25. We'll have to see if he can develop any pass-rushing ability, which is lacking at the moment.

    4. Quinton Dunbar, CB, Seahawks. Age: 29.
      Signed with Lions

      Quinton Dunbar was the Redskins' top cornerback in 2019. He didn't do as well last year, to put it nicely. He dealt with a lingering knee injury and missed the second half of the year.

    5. Ethan Pocic, C, Seahawks. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year, $3 million)

      Ethan Pocic is a young center who has improved each year. He has plenty of upside as a 26-year-old.

    6. Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years, $14 million)

      Chris Carson is a solid, but unspectacular starting running back who catches passes well out of the backfield. He missed some time in 2020 with a foot injury.

    7. Carlos Dunlap, DE, Seahawks. Age: 32.
      Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years, $16.6 million)

      The Seahawks acquired Carlos Dunlap prior to Halloween, and he did very well for them, notching six sacks. Dunlap is a talented player, but the Seahawks cut him because they couldn't afford to pay him $14 million. Also, Dunlap just turned 32, so a decline is coming soon.

    8. Mike Iupati, G, Seahawks. Age: 34.
      Seattle missed Mike Iupati when he was sidelined in 2020. He still blocks well at his age, but his durability is a major issue.

    9. Josh Gordon, WR, Seahawks. Age: 30.
      Will Josh Gordon ever get to play football? He would've been on the field long ago if Roger Goodell didn't run the NFL like a Saudi Arabian dictator.

    10. Carlos Hyde, RB, Seahawks. Age: 30. Signed with Jaguars (2 years, $6 million)
    11. Benson Mayowa, DE, Seahawks. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years, $8.8 million)
    12. Shaquem Griffin, LB, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Signed with Dolphins
    13. Jarran Reed, DT, Seahawks. Age: 28. -- Signed with Chiefs
    14. David Moore, WR, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Signed with Panthers (2 years)
    15. Jacob Hollister, TE, Seahawks. Age: 27. -- Signed with Bills (1 year)
    16. Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, Seahawks. Age: 33.
    17. Delano Hill, S, Seahawks. Age: 25. -- Signed with Panthers
    18. Damontre Moore, DE, Seahawks. Age: 28.
    19. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Seahawks
    20. Greg Olsen, TE, Seahawks. Age: 36. -- Announced retirement
    21. Damarious Randall, S, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Seahawks
    22. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Seahawks. Age: 28. -- Signed with Jaguars
    23. Nick Bellore, FB, Seahawks. Age: 32. -- Re-signed with Seahawks
    24. Neiko Thorpe, CB, Seahawks. Age: 31.
    25. Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks. Age: 30.
    26. Branden Jackson, DE, Seahawks. Age: 28.
    27. Jayson Stanley, CB, Seahawks. Age: 24.



    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors


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    Fantasy Football Rankings - Aug. 5


    2022 NFL Mock Draft - July 14


    NFL Power Rankings - May 12


    NFL Picks - Feb. 8


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