After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
Continuing with the NFC West with those surprising Seattle Seahawks…
How Did Last Season Go?
Like many people, I went into last season thinking that Seattle were just starting a rebuild and we could put them down for about 5 wins or so. Instead that doubled that and looked like a good team who are only a couple of pieces away from being really strong again.
This train of thought obviously stemmed from the Legion of Boom being no more and how prominent that group of players have been in the recent successes that Seattle have had. I’m addition to that, there’s the factor of those guys being the emotional leaders of the team.
As well as the LOB, other team leaders, such as Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril were also playing elsewhere; so maybe we all just didn’t know what to expect.
Instead of those players, there was a new generation of Seahawks. Headlined, from a positivity standpoint at least, by Shaquem Griffin, who defied odds and made it to the NFL despite only having one hand.
On the field the first 6 weeks were patchy, the Seahawks were 3-3 but did beat the Raiders in London, on their first visit to the UK. The next 3 weeks after that brought a win and two losses… at 4-5 the Seahawks seemed to be heading the way we thought.
And then it all just clicked…
The only other loss the rest of the way was an overtime loss on San Francisco. The Seahawks finished 10-6 to set up a wildcard game against Dallas.
It was a close one in Arlington but the Cowboys took it 22-24. Close but no cigar…but much better than we all thought.
Cap space: $9m
Draft picks (4): Round 1, 21st overall, round 3, 84th overall, round 4, 124th overall & round 5, 159th
The biggest news is that Earl Thomas has left Seattle and has taken Eric Weddle’s spot on the back end of their defense.
J.R Sweezy has headed to divisional rivals, Arizona and both teams look to update and refresh their offensive lines. Back up QB, Brett Hundley has followed Sweezy into the desert.
Elsewhere, running back Michael Davis has headed to Chicago to fill the Jordan Howard role with the Bears and the other real noteable loss for the Seahawks is nickel corner, Justin Coleman signed with the Lions.
To sum up; Thomas and Coleman are the biggest losses here. Nickel corner is a starting position in the league now and whilst Thomas has had his injury issues recently, Seattle will certainly miss his leadership in the locker room. So all in all, not too bad for Seattle, the issue could come with Carroll and Schneiders unwillingness to spend big in free agency and that they only have 4 draft picks this year.
Speaking of the lack of spending and lack of draft picks… Let’s talk incomings in the Pacific Northwest.
First up, the Seahawks added Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard to their pass rushing ranks.
Neiko Thorpe came back and will add to the corner depth and continue to boost the special teams play for Carroll’s men too.
The aforementioned O-line refresh meant that Mike Iupati was added and D.J Fluker was re-signed.
The biggest news was that K.J Wright was retained, signing a long term deal with Seattle to keep a key man in the middle that defense alongside Bobby Wagner, who is now undoubtedly the heartbeat of the D (if he wasn’t already).
Outlook For Next Year
After a promising and surprising season last year, I really find it hard to see Seattle repeating their 10 win campaign.
Why is this?
First off, I feel like a lot of people over-performed. Take Tyler Lockett for example, he had a career year and Russell Wilson’s passer rating on deep balls was perfect as the pair displayed an unreal connection last year. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tyler is a friend of the pod and is a fine receiver but to repeat perfection again is pretty unlikely. This is just one example where I expect statistical anomalies to regress back to somewhere close to their means.
Another factor in me saying this is that I feel like the NFC West is going to be a better division next year; the 49ers shouldn’t be as injury hit and could also have Nick Bosa in their ranks plus, the Cards can’t be that bad again, can they?
Finally, Seattle haven’t added to their ranks massively so far this off season and as I mentioned, they only have 4 draft picks as things stand, which obviously make them a big trade back candidate come Thursday night and throughout the draft weekend but whether they can get the right business done and still get good enough players remains to be seen.
So the NFC West is paired up with the NFC South and the AFC North in 2019, which to me, makes this a pretty tough schedule.
I am going to peg Seattle at 8-8 at this point, until I see what goes on this weekend in the draft and even then, given that Seattle can make some left field picks, I still may not budge from that prediction.
Russell Wilson is always a nice fantasy QB to have on your roster. He won’t cost you the Earth when drafting but will have a very solid floor each and every week as one of the better QB’s in the NFL.
Wide receivers is essentially Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett at this point. Baldwin is possibly past his fantasy peak at this point and has had injuries in the past so unless you’re filling out your roster late on, I’d steer clear personally. This make Lockett the WR1 in Seattle and should be treated as a high end WR2 for fantasy purposes in my view albeit, as I mentioned before, don’t be shocked by statistical regression.
Tight ends? At this point, I wouldn’t even go there. Perhaps the Hawks will add a mid round guy this weekend considering it’s a pretty strong tight end class.
Running backs are another muddy puddle too… Chris Carson is probably the RB1 for this team but they spent the 20th overall pick on Rashaad Penny last year and that should buy him a little playing time as Carroll looks for him to prove himself. This obviously takes touches away from Carson… at least for a little while and even more so if Penny plays well. AND THEN… there’s the receiving backs to consider in C.J Prosise and J.D McKissic… probably not really fantasy factors themselves, unless injuries hit but again they’ll get a few touches and that’s potential taken away from Carson and Penny.