Storylines to keep an eye on when the Seahawks take part in a three-day mandatory minicamp this week.
The Seahawks open a three-day minicamp on Tuesday, the final mandatory portion of the offseason workout program before players enjoy some time off prior to the start of training camp in late July. Padded practices are still more than a month away and meaningful games don't kick off until September, but a minicamp with nearly the entire team on the field is still a good opportunity to learn a few things about the 2022 Seahawks heading into training camp.
With that in mind, here are five topics worth monitoring as the Seahawks hit the field over the next few days:
1. The QB competition, of course.
Until Seahawks coach Pete Carroll names a starting quarterback—and to be clear, that's not going to happen for a while, likely well into the preseason—that position battle will be the most significant one taking part at Seahawks headquarters. As Carroll has said on a few occasions, Geno Smith has a bit of an edge to start things off given his familiarity with the offense, and as a result has gotten the bulk of the first-team reps in OTAs, but the Seahawks also really like what they've seen from Drew Lock, so at some point, be it this week or in training camp, the reps will start evening out so Carroll can get the true competition he has stated is the goal for this year's camp and preseason.
Lock, Smith and Jacob Eason all have the arm talent to make just about every throw asked of an NFL quarterback, so the key for one player to emerge as the starter will be, as offensive coordinator Shane Waldron put it, to show "just the overall command of the position, who gives us the best chance to win games when it comes to the fall."
2. Any health updates of note?
Several key players are coming back from injuries that cut short their 2022 seasons, and as a result they have not taken part in the on-field work so far in OTAs, and in the case of many they have opted to rehab at home and not come to the voluntary portion of workouts. But with everyone—or just about everyone, players can be excused by the team for certain reasons—on hand, we'll perhaps learn a bit more from Pete Carroll when it comes to the recovery of players like receiver DK Metcalf, safety Quandre Diggs, safety Jamal Adams, cornerback Tre Brown, running back Chris Carson and defensive back Marquise Blair.
The Seahawks will always err on the side of caution with injuries, particularly this time of year, so any player being held out shouldn't be taken as a red flag, but what this week could provide is, A. the possibility of one of the aforementioned players getting some work in, which would be a great sign for their progress, or B. Carroll being able to provide an update on a player who might be in the building for the first time in a while.
3. Any early standouts in the battle for starting jobs at cornerback?
Of all the position groups on the roster, cornerback might be the most open, along with quarterback, when it comes to the competition for starting jobs.
That uncertainty shouldn't be confused for a lack of talent—the Seahawks really like their options at corner—but there should be significant competition for both outside starting cornerback spots, as well as the nickel job.
When it comes to returning players, Sidney Jones IV has the most experience, having started 11 games last season and having started 15 games for the Jaguars and Eagles in previous seasons before the Seahawks acquired him in a trade last year. The Seahawks also bring back Tre Brown, who impressed as a rookie and who briefly won a starting job, only to then go down with a season-ending injury after making three starts. If Brown is fully healthy by camp, he, along with Jones, would be strong contenders for a starting job, both those two will face some strong challenges.
Among those who should push for starting jobs are Artie Burns, a former first-round pick who signed as a free agent this offseason, and Coby Bryant, a fourth-round pick who was the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award as college football's top defensive back last year. Burns is new to the Seahawks but played last season under Sean Desai now Seattle's associate head coach – defense, when Desai was the defensive coordinator in Chicago. Carroll and defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt have both noted that Burns' experience in Desai's defense has shown up in offseason workouts. While Bryant wasn't as highly touted as some of this year's top picks at cornerback, including Cincinnati teammate Sauce Gardner, he was one of the most productive and by the looks of things early in offseason workouts, he might be coming into his rookie season as one of the most NFL-ready corners even if he doesn't have some of the measurables of the top picks. And speaking of measurables, he might have a bit more developing to do than Bryant, but fifth-round pick Tariq Woolen, who ran a 4.26 second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4, has a ton of upside the Seahawks are hoping to unlock.
As for the nickel job, Justin Coleman, who thrived in that role for two seasons in Seattle before leaving in free agency, returned to the Seahawks this offseason and will try to win back that role. His main competition will likely come from Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair, who have both played in that spot the past two years, competing for the starting job when Blair was healthy.
4. What rookies look like they can contribute right away?
With nine draft picks, four in the top 72, the Seahawks are expecting to get big contributions out of this year's class, and while not all of them will play big roles right away, the Seahawks are counting on at least some of the rookies to take on big roles right away. As the No. 9 overall pick, Charles Cross will likely start at left tackle from Day 1, and the Seahawks could very well have rookies on both sides of their line, though third-round pick Abraham Lucas will have to beat out Jake Curhan, who started five games last year, for the job at right tackle. Sticking with offense, Kenneth Walker III will surely see touches come his way early in his rookie season, the only question is how many.
As mentioned earlier, Bryant could be in the mix for a starting job at corner early on, just as Brown was as a rookie last year, and Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith should both contribute to the pass rush rotation. None of those rookies are going to win a starting job in minicamp, but with almost every veteran on the field, this will be their best chance yet to show what they can do against NFL competition.
5. An early glimpse of the new-look defensive front.
As players and coaches have noted, the biggest change to Seattle's defense under Hurtt will be how they use their front-7 players, switching from a 4-3 front to more 3-4 looks. As Carroll has pointed out, the changes aren't always as obvious as you might think, but it should look a bit different with three down linemen frequently flanked by two outside linebackers serving as edge rushers. And not only will the scheme look a little different, but the on-field personnel should look different this week with more veterans available after interior linemen like Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods and Shelby Harris opted to stay home for some of the earlier voluntary workouts.
NFL mascots, led by Seahawks mascot Blitz, hosted a Play 60 event along with a meet and greet in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood on June 2, 2022.