Draft needs: Seahawks’ D is dominant, offense needs work

Draft needs: Seahawks’ D is dominant, offense needs work

Credit: Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports Images

Seattle Seahawks guard James Carpenter.

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by STEVEN RUIZ / USA TODAY Sports

NWCN.com

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

The NFL combine starts Feb. 20. Every team will be looking to fill multiple holes on both sides of the ball.

After a dominant 43-8 victory in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks should be reloading for another deep playoff run in 2014. However, the team has multiple concerns within the roster, particularly on offense, which need to be addressed. It starts with the offensive line and major holes at guard and offensive tackle.

Here are the Seahawks’ top areas of need as they prepare for the draft:

1. Left guard

Left guard was a revolving door of inept play for the Seahawks in 2013. Paul McQuistan, James Carpenter and Michael Bowie all had shots, but none claimed the job. McQuistan and Carpenter struggled to get movement in the running game and to protect second-year quarterback Russell Wilson when he dropped back to pass. Seattle’s offensive line struggled in pass protection as a whole, but left guard was a true weak link.

Possible picks (By Brent Sobleski)

  • David Yankey (Stanford): Yankey was a team captain and tone-setter for the Cardinal’s offense. The first team All-American is athletic and particularly strong run-blocking on the move. The Seahawks would have to expend the last pick of the first round to acquire Yankey, but he would start from Day 1 at left guard.
  • Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA): If the Seahawks decide to go in another direction with their first pick, Su’a-Filo could be available in the second. Su’a-Filo is one of the most physical blockers in the class.

MORENFC outlook for 2014

2. Wide receiver

Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate formed an adequate pair of targets for Wilson during Percy Harvin’s nightmarish season, but they are scheduled to hit free agency and are due considerable raises from their rookie contracts. The Seahawks will find it difficult to keep such a talented roster together and remain under the cap, with Baldwin and Tate possibly being the first casualties. Tate led the Seahawks in 2013 with 64 catches while Baldwin had 50. Jermaine Kearse showed flashes of big-play potential, but he also led the team in drops on just 38 targets.

Possible picks

  • Allen Robinson (Penn State): Robinson is generally considered a second-round talent, but his size (6-3, 210) and polish make him an intriguing talent at the end of round one. Robinson tallied 97 receptions for 1,432 yards as a junior.
  • Brandon Coleman (Rutgers): None of the Seahawks’ major contributors at wide receiver were taller than 6-1. Coleman is 6-6 and would add a totally different dynamic to the roster as a possible mid-round pick.

MORENFL draft needs

3. Right tackle

Breno Giacomini is a decent player who will likely cash in on the Seahawks’ success in free agency. The Seahawks can easily replace his modest production with a younger, cheaper alternative in the draft. If Seattle doesn’t re-sign the 28-year-old Giacomini, 2012 seventh-round pick Michael Bowie might be able to take his starting spot. Bowie, though, struggled while filling in for an injured Giacomini, surrendering five sacks in seven games. Drafting another tackle will give Seattle an insurance policy if Bowie continues to struggle.

Possible picks

  • Morgan Moses (Virginia): Bowie may get an opportunity to start at left guard before he returns to right tackle, which would make right tackle a bigger concern. Moses started 24 games at right tackle before his moved to the blindside during his senior season.
  • Seantrel Henderson (Miami): Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll once recruited Henderson to USC. He changed his mind once Carroll left the Trojans. Henderson is very raw, but he’s ultra-talented. He’s certainly worth a late-round pick based on talent alone.

4. Tight end

The Seahawks aren’t in dire need of a tight end, but when your roster is as stacked as Seattle’s you can afford to take a luxury pick. Zach Miller is a fine pass-catching tight end and a decent blocker, but he lacks the play-making ability that seems to be taking over the position in recent years. In 2013, Miller caught 33 passes for just 387 yards. Giving Wilson another dynamic pass catcher might elevate this offense to an elite level.

Possible picks

  • Troy Niklas (Notre Dame): Niklas’ skills are rough around the edges, but he has plenty of upside. The 6-7, 270-pound target can provide the size, athleticism and play-making ability the Seahawks currently lack. And he could slip to them in the second round.
  • Xavier Grimble (USC): Grimble’s numbers as a senior weren’t impressive. He caught 25 passes for 271 yards. But Grimble is a very good athlete at tight end. The Seahawks can give Grimble the opportunity to develop behind Miller and Luke Willson.

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Senior BowlSouth squad profiles

5. Interior pass rusher

After signing a modest one-year deal with Seattle last offseason, Michael Bennett led the team in sacks and will be a hot commodity in free agency. The versatile Bennett created pressure wherever he lined up, but he was most valuable at tackle on passing downs. After moving pass-rush specialist Bruce Irvin to linebacker and a somewhat disappointing year from defensive end Chris Clemons, the Seahawks will suddenly be in need of a pass rusher if they let Bennett walk.

Possible picks

  • Will Sutton (Arizona State): Sutton is the two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He excels at shooting gaps and creating havoc in the backfield. Sutton accumulated 17 sacks the past two seasons. Due to his size — he’s only measures 6-0 tall — Sutton may be available in the second or third round.
  • Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina): Quarles, like Sutton, is considered a one-gap defender. He is at his best when is given the freedom to shoot the gaps between the offensive linemen to make plays. Quarles led South Carolina with 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

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