2019 NFL Season Preview- Seattle Seahawks
Many expected the Seahawks not to be contenders in the NFC after several big name stars left the team, but they soon proved doubters wrong.
After losing the first two games of the season, Seattle bounced back to win 10 of their next 14 and grab the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs. However they lost to the Cowboys in the wildcard round, their first one and done postseason since 2004.
The Seahawks became the first team since the 2001 Steelers to have a 1,000 yard rusher while also having two other backs rush for over 300 yards in the same season. Running back Chris Carson was the first Seahawk to rush for over 1,000 yards since Marshawn Lynch and finished with 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns. Mike Davis had over 500 yards as a reserve. Tight end Ed Dickson provided a spark to the passing game once he was off the non football injury list. Nick Vannett took a big step forward in his third season, but it is unknown if he is the long term starter. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin dealt with an annoying elbow injury but still caught 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns. Tyler Lockett took an expanded role on offense and finished with 965 receiving yards and a team best 10 touchdowns. David Moore came into the picture midseason, but was nearly invisible late in the year. Jaron Brown only had 14 receptions, but five were for touchdowns. The offensive line was the most improved in the conference as they helped pave the way for the league's top rushing attack. Guards DJ Fluker and JR Sweezy were maulers when they were healthy, but both had issues with injuries.
Without the "Legion of Boom" secondary, Seattle managed a to field a solid defense by finishing 11th in scoring defense and forced 26 turnovers. Defensive end Frank Clark established a career high with 13 sacks. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen was cast aside midseason while Jarran Reed had a breakout season with 10.5 sacks. Outside linebacker KJ Wright played in just six games die to a knee injury. Safety Earl Thomas played four games before breaking his leg, but prior to that had already burned the bridge with the organization after a lengthy training camp holdout. Tedric Thompson was solid in Thomas' absence while Bradley McDougald held the secondary together while cornerback Shaquill Griffin had his struggles on the season. Justin Coleman was a turnover generating machine as the team's nickel corner. Delano Hill played well late before succumbing to a hip injury.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski had three game winning field goals on the year, but seriously injured his hamstring in the playoffs. Tyler Lockett remains a dangerous return specialist, but his increased role in the offense could force he team to look for a new returner.
The team had three Pro Bowlers in quarterback Russell Wilson, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, and punter Michael Dickson while Wagner and Dickson were also named first team All-Pro and left tackle Duane Brown was named second team All-Pro. Wilson proved to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL, finishing second in the league in touchdown percentage and also improved his completion percentage while throwing a career high 35 touchdowns and a 110.9 passer rating. Wagner continues to improve as he builds on his Hall of Fame career, registering 138 tackles, 11 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a 98-yard pick six. Brown is a big reason for the offensive line's turnaround and made his third All-Pro team.
The top picks of the rookie class didn't produce like the team hoped, but the later rounds provided some surprising depth. Running back Rashaad Penny flashed his first round talent late in he year, but was stuck behind Chris Carson and Mike Davis on the depth chart. Defensive end Rasheem Green was rarely used and remains a work in progress. Tight end Will Dissly flashed solid ball skills for a guy who was drafted as a blocker before injuring his knee after four games. Linebacker Shaquem Griffin was a key on special teams and could develop into a starter with more coaching. Cornerback Tre Flowers converted successfully from safety, starting all but one game. Punter Michael Dickson averaged 48.2 yards per punt, the second highest in the league as an All-Pro rookie. Offensive tackle Jamarco Jones looked promising in training camp before a severe ankle injury ended his year in the preseason. Defensive end Jacob Martin had three sacks as a reserve and could compete for a starting role in 2019.
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
With the surprisingly successful 10-6 season, 2019 will be a key season for head coach Pete Carroll as he enters the final year of his deal. This will also be the first full season without owner Paul Allen, who died from cancer in the middle of last season.
On July 24, defensive tackle Jarran Reed was suspended the first six games of the season for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy for an incident from early 2017.
Notable Additions- QB Paxton Lynch, QB Geno Smith, G Mike Iupati, DE Ziggy Ansah, DE Cassius Marsh, DT Jamie Meder, CB Jamar Taylor, CB DeShawn Shead, K Jason Myers
Notable Departures- QB Brett Hundley, RB Mike Davis, WR Doug Baldwin, G JR Sweezy, DE Frank Clark, DE Dion Jordan, DT Malik McDowell, CB Justin Coleman, S Kam Chancellor, S Maurice Alexander, K Sebastian Janikowski
Seahawks 2018 Highlights
2019 NFL Draft
Thanks to the team trading Frank Clark to Kansas City, the Seahawks went into the draft with the 21st and 29th overall picks. With these picks, the team had to fill needs at tight end, defensive end, and free safety.
Assuming Will Dissly can return to full strength, the team is in good shape at tight end, but a little more insurance couldn't hurt.
The defense did sign Ziggy Ansah and brought back Cassius Marsh, but Ansah is coming off an injury filled season and the team needs a dominant edge rusher not that Frank Clark was traded away.
Earl Thomas is now gone and Tedric Thompson struggled staying consistent. Thompson may be the answer, but additional competition could push him farther.
On draft day, Seattle traded back from the 21st pick to the 30th pick with Green Bay so that the Packers could draft Darnell Savage. With the 29th overall pick, Seattle selected TCU defensive end LJ Collier. Collier was praised for his strong upper body and fast hands, but was criticized for being slow off the snap. The Seahawks then traded the 30th overall pick to the Giants so that the could draft Deandre Baker.
Other Notable Draft Picks:
Marquise Blair, S, Utah- Tall and wiry frame, questionable ball skills
DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss- Physically imposing, medical red flags
Cody Barton, LB, Utah- Good upper body strength, slow change of direction
Gary Jennings Jr, WR, West Virginia- Above average acceleration, not a threat after the catch
Phil Gaynes, G, Wake Forest- Extremely physical, lunges out in space
Ugo Amadi, CB, Oregon- Team leader, shorter than ideal
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington- High motor, struggles with leverage
Travis Homer, RB, Miami- Ideal H-back, fumbling issues
Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State- Above average size, motivation concerns
John Ursua, WR, Hawaii- Extremely athletic, Very undersized
LJ Collier Highlights
What To Expect
The Seahawks like to defy expectations and 2019 doesn't appear to be any different.
Russell Wilson has shown he can carry the offense even when his supporting cast is lacking. Chris Carson should continue to improve as the feature back while Rashaad Penny should have a nice role as a change of pace back. The team has three capable starting tight ends in Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, and Will Dissly but the key will be to see who is capable of doing it all. The offense will miss Doug Baldwin, but DK Metcalf provides one of the most athletically gifted receivers in recent memory and Tyler Lockett is a speedy deep threat. The offensive should remain a strong run blocking force and Mike Iupati will be an upgrade over JR Sweezy. Plus with a healthy Jamarco Jones and Ethan Pocic, the line has a good amount of depth.
With Jarran Reed's suspension, Poona Ford and Jamie Medea will have to step up and file, the void of an interior pass rusher. Ziggy Ansah and Quinton Jefferson are the likely starters at defensive end, but Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin, and LJ Collier should see the field as rotation players. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are the obvious starters, but Shaquem Griffin could start over Barkevious Mingo. The secondary brought in a veteran presence in Jamar Taylor, but there are still questions at safety and whether or not Tedric Thompson can handle Earl Thomas' role fulltime.
Given Seattle's never say die attitude, it would be foolish to ever count them out. That's why I think they'll finish second behind the Rams in the NFC West and possibly sneak into the postseason.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 9-7