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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ideal Lineups for 2012: Seahawks



Free Agency has started, and now that we're a few days into things, the picture is becoming a little clearer for our Seattle Seahawks. The starting-caliber chips are visiting their options, or deciding not to take phone calls with 206 area codes.

At this point in the rebuilding process, it's becoming increasingly unlikely that rookies will be filling any roster spots on this Seahawks team. There's certainly room for improvement up and down Pete Carroll's big board, but the lack of talent that Tim Ruskell left this team with is long gone. With Robert Gallery gone (THANK YOU) the only real openings are on the offensive line and linebacking corps (unless they draft a stud of a wide receiver).



Offense:
QB:
Matt Flynn (Free Agency-Green Bay)
Tavaris Jackson
Josh Portis

From the top I'd just like to point out that I still don't really believe that our FO wants Matt Flynn all that much. From what I understand, John Schneider has already made it clear he doesn't think all that much of the Green Bay backup. That said, I didn't think he'd be flying out to the great northwest for a visit, and suitors don't seem to be willing to pay as much for him as I assumed. If Schneider's comments were nothing more than a smokescreen, and he can be had for a reasonable price, then by all means pick that kid up!

I'm not going to be all that disappointed if we don't get Flynn though. I think he can be very good, but he's far from a guarantee, and Jackson with another year getting to know is teammates behind a gelling offensive line could produce very strong results.

HB:
Marshawn Lynch
Trent Richardson (Draft-Round 1)
Leon Washington
Justin Forsett

HB is not a position of need, but Trent Richardson would anchor the position for years, and make Seattle's rushing attack unstoppable in the fourth quarter. What defensive player would want to defend against a rested Lynch or Richardson in the fourth quarter of a game? It's a lot of money to sink into one position, but if Richardson is available at 12 and if Pete is really serious about pounding it on the ground, Seattle would be sure to have one of the top rushing attacks for a decade (assuming our young offensive line continues to gel and improve).  Brandon Jacobs is a fun possibility as well, but rather unlikely considering the price he'd demand and the expectation that he would be a number one back.



FB:
Michael Robinson

The Seahawks didn't upgrade the Fullback position last year, so I can't see them going with anyone but Michael Robinson in 2012 either. He's not the most amazing FB in the league, but he is a leader, and he did make the pro bowl last year. Seattle could do far worse. That said, drafting a successor at some point may be nice. I miss the days of Leonard Weaver, and bringing in a similar player to come in and learn the position for a few years would seem to be a good use of a later draft pick.

WR:
Sidney Rice
Mike Williams
Doug Baldwin (Slot)
Golden Tate
Deon Butler
Ricardo Lockette

If the Hawks do sign Flynn, Mike Williams could see his career resurrect for a second time. For whatever reason, T-Jack and Williams never gelled the way Jackson did with Rice, Tate, or Baldwin. If T-Jack remains the starter as I suspect he will, then there isn't much of a reason to continue to force things with big Mike. Seattle has a ton of young depth, and I don't know how big a leader Williams can be from the bench. Someone is going to have to be an odd man out, with six starting caliber wideouts on this roster, Durham on the mend, and the potential for more through the draft.

TE:
Zach Miller
Cameron Morrah/Draft Pick
Anthony McCoy

Pete Carroll wants to use a two TE offense, but John Carlson is moving on to the Minnesota Vikings. That means that Zach Miller is the only proven guy in this offense right now. Morrah and McCoy have talent, but they also make boneheaded mistakes. I'm not sure whether Carroll will stick with those two and see if one sticks, or make a move for someone more proven. But the success or failure of this position will really depend on the development of the offensive line. If they start pass blocking with any consistency, any TE on the roster will become an offensive threat.

LT:
Russell Okung
Paul Mcquistan

All the bandaids in the city for the health of Okung! When the kid is in and playing pain free, he is a great lineman. He stopped Julius Peppers single-handedly.

LG:
James Carpenter
Lemuel Jeanpierre

I've been advocating for moving Carpenter inside to left guard since the day they drafted him, and was terribly disappointed when they signed Robert Gallery later that year. Let the two first rounders work together and tear holes open on the left side. Playing an old scummy crusty like Gallery just sets the youth movement back. Giacomini proved last year that he can play Right Tackle and play it well. The best personnel the Hawks can put on the field consists of a Okung-Carpenter-Unger-Moffitt-Giacomini line.

C:
Max Unger
Lemuel Jeanpierre

I admit I'm still a doubter Unger, but you played all year last year, and that sort of stability is valuable when a team is building such a young line.

RG:
John Moffitt
Mike Gibson

Moffitt looks to be another strong pick, or at least he did when he was in. If he comes back in good health, Right Guard won't be a position Seattle has to worry about.

RT:
Breno Giacomini
Paul Mcquistan

Carpenter was getting better at the position before he got hurt, but the thought of having Okung and Carpenter is just too great to ignore. The best part about it is that they don't even need to draft anyone to fill the position. Giacomini is a young player that already knows what's expected and can block just as well as anyone on the team. Seattle could draft someone else to fill in at the position or develop for the future, but the line as outlined above could lead a top 10 rushing attack without breaking a sweat, especially if they continue to develop.

Defense:

LE:
Chris Clemons
(Rookie)

I'd love to have Mario Williams, but not at the price he's asking for. Mario Williams should not be the highest-paid player in the entire league. Megatron should be. But Clemons is another year older, and he won't be able to keep this up forever. The Hawks have drafted a player or two that could fit here

LDT:
Brandon Mebane
Clinton McDonald

RDT:
James Jones
Alan Branch

The defensive line doesn't have a whole lot of pass rush, but with Jason Jones, running the ball against Seattle would be next to pointless. Brandon Mebane has been looking for a three technique to play next to since he joined the league, and the trio of Jones, Mebane, and Bryant could stifle an offensive line by themselves. Chris Clemmons would turn into a fourth pass-rushing linebacker in essence.


RE:
Red Bryant
Anthony Hargrove

Good to have you back Bryant. I wasn't really worried about it, but I'm glad it's official early. Keep on mauling the way you maul.



LOLB:
Leroy Hill
Malcolm Smith

Resigning Leroy Hill to another one year contract would be a safe bet, allowing them to put off fixing that position for another year. And if he continues to make his way back from bedrock, they can just give him more and more one year contracts.

MLB:
KJ Wright
(Rookie)

KJ Wright developed quickly in 2011, so much so that he made a former first round pick expendable. Now, David Hawthorne is probably headed to browner pastures, allowing Wright to play in the position that is likely his best fit. Carroll has kept Hawthorne around because he was cheap and possessed a powerful tackle, but he doesn't fit the Carroll prototype of "Big and Fast".

ROLB:
(Rookie)
Heath Farwell

I could see the Seahawks starting two rookie Linebackers in 2012. Pete Carroll and Linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr have built careers out of breeding the best at the position. Lofa Tatupu, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, and more were all turned out by that defensive duo. KJ Wright looked like a budding star late in his rookie year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Carroll try to work that same magic again in April.

CB:
Richard Sherman
Brandon Browner
Walter Thurmond
Kennard Cox
Byron Maxwell

Even though Browner was a pro-bowler last year, I'm somewhat tempted to put Walter Thurmond in there as the second CB. I really like Browner, but his physicality was a liability at times last year. My assumption is that he has spent the 2012 offseason adjusting to the NFL and forgetting the strategies that he used in Canada. Sherman should be the number one guy at the position though, no question. Hopes are high for the second year player after a 2011 campaign that was at times dominating. He should only get better with age, maturity, and experience.

FS:
Earl Thomas
Atari Bigby

I wanted to see Mark LeGree make the team, but You could do worse than having Atari Bigby as your backup. As for the starting job, well, Eearl Thomas makes everything work. I am scared by the idea of him missing time due to injury, but until then, he's just going to be one of the best in the league.

SS:
Kam Chancellor
Jeron Johnson

Jeron Johnson should turn out to be a quality backup, but hopefully he won't need to see the field much. Because Kam Chancellor is a beast. A Pro-Bowling beast.

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