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Monday Round-Up: 'Seahawks Relying on Youth and It's Working'  

Tim Booth of the Associated Press looks at how young talent is helping lead the way for the 3-1 Seahawks. 


Good afternoon, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Monday, October 9 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle's young talent and depth have been a major factor in Seattle's 3-1 start to the 2023 season.

Seattle entered the 2023 season with one of the youngest teams league-wide, with an average age of 26-years-old. The Seahawks roster features just a handful of players over 30-years-of-age, including quarterback Geno Smith, linebacker Bobby Wagner, wideout Tyler Lockett and safety Quandre Diggs. In 2022, Seattle's youth movement played a big part in a 9-8 finish leading to a playoff berth. Rookie tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas became the first duo to start a team’s first-15 games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Seattle has been forced to do without the duo, after both suffered injuries in Week 1’s 30-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but the youth movement on Seattle's offensive line has stepped up in a big way. Third-year tackles Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan have stepped up to protect quarterback Geno Smith since the second half of Week 1's loss, allowing the West Virginia alum to be sacked just five times in the past three weeks. Rookie center Olu Oluwatimi and guard Anthony Bradford have stepped up in place of guards Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes after they went down with injuries in Week 4's 24-3 victory over the New York Giants.

Associated Press writer Tim Booth takes a look at the excellent play of Seattle's young talent, starting with rookie cornerback and No. 5 overall selection Devon Witherspoon.

The latest young player to flash for Seattle was rookie Devon Witherspoon, who was named the NFC defensive player of the week for his performance last Monday night. He had seven tackles, two sacks and an interception that he returned 97 yards for a touchdown.

It was the kind of impact Seattle was hoping to get when it took Witherspoon with the No. 5 overall pick, the highest-ever selection for the tandem of Carroll and general manager John Schneider.

"He has been electric for this defense and just is confident. You don't see rookies that are that confident," Seattle safety Julian Love said. "He's coming in, obviously he missed the first game. He was missing most of camp because he was battling, rehabbing. He was coming in and has impacted this defense in a positive way, which is huge, and now just keep taking steps forward for him."

Witherspoon has overcome being thrown into the fire immediately, becoming the league’s most-targeted cornerback early in the season. The Week 4 NFC Defensive Player of the Week became the first rookie defensive back in league history to record multiple-sacks and a pick-six in a game.

Seattle’s player development continues to be on display, with a good number of the team’s 22 first-or-second year players receiving significant playing time. After joining Seahawks Legend Curt Warner as the only rookie backs to hit 1,000 yards, second-year running back Kenneth Walker III is off to a hot start in 2023. In addition to tying for No. 4 league-wide in rushing touchdowns (5), Walker is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, gaining 283 yards on 64 carries. Rookie back Zach Charbonnet is yet to score his first-career touchdown, but the UCLA alum averages 4.95 yards per carry. Prior to the bye, Coach Pete Carroll discussed what the youth movement can mean for the franchise.

"This is a really good time for us," said Carroll. "It's a good time for us to come back with a new perspective for the young guys where we can kind of go back to talking about what they've accomplished and how far they've come along," Carroll said. "Really, to me, there's so much focus on those guys and their ability to contribute as we move forward. I think this is a really good stopping point for us in that regard."

Booth takes a look at the production off-the-bench from Seattle's young nucleus, including defensive end Derick Hall and undrafted wideout Jake Bobo.

The performance by Witherspoon against the Giants was the flashiest moment among this year's rookie class for Seattle. Running back Zach Charbonnet is averaging more than 5 yards per carry in the past two games, getting limited carries as a counter to Walker's running style. Edge rusher Derick Hall is playing 35% of the defensive snaps. Bradford and Oluwatimi only get noticed if something goes wrong. Even undrafted wide receiver Jake Bobo made a mark with at touchdown reception in Week 3.

The one rookie still awaiting a breakout performance is first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Expected to be the No. 3 option in Seattle's pass game, Smith-Njigba has 12 receptions but for a total of 62 yards. Nine of his catches have been for 7 yards or less.

Rookie wideout and No. 20 selection receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba currently ranks third (12) amongst the team in receptions, trailing veterans DK Metcalf (18) and Tyler Lockett (17). Booth declares getting Smith-Njigba more reps and experience will make the Seahawks even more dangerous.

The one rookie still awaiting a breakout performance is first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Expected to be the No. 3 option in Seattle's pass game, Smith-Njigba has 12 receptions but for a total of 62 yards. Nine of his catches have been for 7 yards or less.

If Seattle can unlock more from Smith-Njigba, the rookie contributions could grow exponentially.

Social Post Of The Day

Seahawks Legends Steve Largent and Jerry Rice, and current receiver Tyler Lockett are three of five receivers in NFL history to record 15 receptions and three touchdowns in a single game.

Take a look at the 53-man roster for the 2023 Seahawks.

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