RENTON – The Seahawks’ roster is pretty much set for the 2022 season.
We say “pretty much” because Seattle made six roster moves on Wednesday the next day to determine the initial roster of 53 players, meaning that 56 players were already on the active roster this season.
But, while changes will continue, the bulk of the list is now in ink.
Which means it’s also time for our annual ranking of the Seahawks Center groups as the season approaches the best.
And yes, this is going to look a little different than it did in the last decade.
Sure, this would have been better on top given that Jamal Adams and Quander Diggs have two of the team’s top seven hits and are the most decorated players in defence. Neither of them played in pre-season, but in training, both appeared to have fully recovered from last year’s injuries. Adding to this group’s strength is veteran Josh Jones, who was one of the camp’s finds, emerging as a de facto third start in three safety groups, something the Seahawks often do to try to engage Adams on a more line of scrimmage. Ryan Neal is also an in-depth player across all trades.
2. Defensive line
Literally considering the “three” in alignment 3-4 that will be the team’s primary defense, the Seahawks appear to be stable and deep with Poona Ford, Al Woods, Bryan Mone and rookie Myles Adams in the tackle and Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson at the end, as well as the recent waiver suit. Daryl Johnson.
3. Running backwards
Assuming Rashaad Penny remains healthy, Ken Walker III is healthy and translates the pre-season improvements for DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer into the regular season, then the Seahawks could have one of the best RBs in the NFL. Certainly, they will need it to achieve any success this season.
4. narrow end
Seattle’s relative lack of depth in the receiver may overburden Noah Fant, Will Disley and Colby Parkinson to be important factors in the passing game. Parkinson is the starting card of the group, showing huge potential but now needs to turn that into steady production in his third season in the NFL.
If Jason Myers gets back to his level for 2020 – when he didn’t miss a field goal – that could be very low, as there is little doubt that Michael Dixon will be one of the best punters in the NFL. Myers finished preseason on a high note making a 4 out of 4 in Dallas.
6. Wide reception
Here is a difficult situation to arrange. Seattle has one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. But then, it’s mostly question marks. Could Dee Eskridge really emerge as a third receiver? Can Marquis Goodwin stay healthy and productive at 31? Can apprentice Dareke Young leapfrog from Division-II Lenoir-Rhyne to become a constant factor?
Jordan Brooks proved he can tackle last year. Now he has to prove that he can be the same centrist general that has been Bobby Wagner for the past decade. And for all the concerns about ILB depth, the way the Seahawks might use Jamal Adams might mitigate a lot of that. The OLB team has a lot of promise but it will need consistency from Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu and for rookie Boye Mafe to be an immediate contributor to becoming an elite group.
8. Returns / Covering Units
This is the kind of season the Seahawks will need to constantly have special teams to win a lot. Coverage units will undoubtedly be better than they were in pre-season – a lot of players who made mistakes in those games are gone – and Seattle was strong a year ago. But the Seahawks may be counting on some young players more than ever. Dallas again appears to be the primary return for the launch after a strong year in 2021. The big question is in Punt Returner, where could Seattle use a person to strike more fear into opponents. It looks like Eskridge could get the first shot, and he showed promise in his only game in Dallas, but for now, it’s still something of an unknown.
9. The offensive line
That ranking could also look too low if Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas can immediately translate their pre-season promise into the regular season. But the regular season is an entirely different beast, and some learning moments are to be expected. Austin Blythe should have been a promotion in the center, and Phil Haynes had a strong willingness to add good depth in guarding behind starters Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis.
10. Back Corner
Here’s another point that could be much better on paper than this if some Veterans are/remain healthy (specifically, Sidney Jones IV and Artie Burn) and beginners (Tariq Wolin/Kobe Bryant) are like vets fast. But with the season fast approaching, who will start from the outside is still in question, and that’s not exactly ideal.
Yes, this spot goes from start to finish with an apparent heartbeat. Gnu Smith is QB at the moment because of what the team thinks he won’t do – his heart – as much as he will. Unfortunately, Drew Luke doesn’t seem to be stifling his reputation as being too much of a risk taker in pre-season. And it’s hard to ignore the combined career records of Smith (13-21) and Locke (8-13) from 21 to 34. Smith certainly has the drive to prove he can be the winning midfielder. But until this is proven on the ground, the skepticism about the position of Seattle in the most important center of the game is understandable.