The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books and rookie minicamp begins Friday, which means now is a good time to field your questions about the players the Seahawks drafted, what the roster looks like now, and as always, a few other random topics. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions, and apologies if I wasn’t able to get to yours this week.
@jtown asks, “Current O-line depth picture?” @JoshHarris1997, meanwhile, asks at what positions each new O-lineman will compete at, @joshparmour wonders where Justin Britt will play this season and @TruthisTold2U asks for a prediction on the starting line.
A: OK, so there’s obviously a lot of interest in Seattle’s line after the Seahawks used three of their 10 picks on linemen—tackle/guard Germain Ifedi, guard Rees Odhiambo and center Joey Hunt. Seeing as we haven’t seen any of these players practice yet, I’m going to say it way too early to predict anything in terms of a starting lineup, but the line will definitely be one of the most intriguing position groups when camp begins this summer. As things stand now, it looks like Garry Gilliam and Bradley Sowell will compete at left tackle, Patrick Lewis will compete with Hunt, Kristjan Sokoli and Will Pericak at center, while the guard and right tackle spots could go a number of ways. At right tackle, free-agent addition J’Marcus Webb has a good chance to win the starting job, or that could go to Ifedi, Seattle’s first-round pick, though Ifedi may start out playing right guard. And if Ifedi moves to guard, he’ll compete with Mark Glowinski on the right side, while Odhiambo likely competes with Britt at left guard. Of course, Glowinski could also factor in at left guard if Ifedi projects as the starting right guard. Got all of that? Good.
While I completely understand the desire to project lineups in May, I’d caution against putting too much time and energy in it. Things could change frequently once the entire team is together later in the offseason and in camp. Remember that last year, the Seahawks were tinkering with their line heading into the third preseason game, and while Carroll and Schneider have expressed a desire to settle on a line sooner than that this time around, that doesn’t mean they’ll know their starting lineup from Day 1 of camp.
@kkurt13 asks, “How many running backs do you expect the Seahawks to carry into the regular season?” While @ImTheSaiyanGod asks why the Seahawks drafted three running backs, @Luke Hale003 asks where Christine Michael fits into running back competition, and @Apprentice207 also asks why the Seahawks drafted three backs.
A: After the offensive line, no position group looks more wide open heading into camp than running back thanks to Marshawn Lynch’s retirement and Seattle’s decision to draft three running backs—C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks—over the weekend. Like offensive line, it’s too early to project a position group with so many new faces, but with so many new players, it’s safe to say the competition will be on. Considering his success last season, Rawls would seem to have the edge on the starting job whenever he’s back to full health, but a player like Collins, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons, certainly looks to have lead-back ability. Prosise, meanwhile, appears to have a clearer path to immediate playing time in the Fred Jackson/Robert Turbin third-down role. Prosise’s background as a former receiver, however, likely will give the Seahawks more ways to use him as a weapon than they did their previous third-down backs. Brooks didn’t have a huge body of work at Clemson, but his athletic ability and upside were intriguing enough for the Seahawks to use a third pick on a running back, so clearly there’s potential there.
When it comes to Michael, he’s still very much in the competition having revived his career late last season in his second stint with Seattle. The Seahawks probably won’t keep all five of those running backs, but keeping four in addition to a fullback is a realistic possibility, especially since a player like Prosise could play a big special teams role, while Turbin and Jackson did not in previous years (Prosise, a former safety, was Notre Dame’s special teams player of the year in 2014).
@AGarrett90 asks, “What are the best options for the Seahawks replacing Bruce Irvin’s role in the base defense?”
A: I like this question from Aaron, because it shows an understanding that replacing Irvin will likely require contributions from more than one player. While Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh and Chris Clemons are among those expected to compete for Irvin’s pass-rushing snaps in sub-packages, another player is likely going to be the linebacker in the base defense (though Marsh has spent some time at linebacker, so he could factor in there too). Right now Mike Morgan has the most experience there, but Eric Pinkins is another player to watch, having come on strong last season in a special teams role. The Seahawks have not yet announced their undrafted free agent class, but general manager John Schneider said on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday that there are a couple of strongside linebackers who could factor into the mix there as well.
@Sarah_Seattle12 asks, “What is a better draft: Seahawks or Seattle beer?”
A: Oh man, this is a tough one. For immediate satisfaction, I’ll say Seattle’s excellent craft beer scene gets the vote, because while I can go have a delicious beer tonight, I can’t watch a draft pick play a meaningful game until September. For long-term value, however, it’s hard to bet against a Schneider/Carroll draft.
@Stophsmith asks, “Curious as to the reason the Seahawks took the Broncos trade over the Cowboys offer?”
A: Based on what has been reported, the Seahawks took the better offer when they moved back in the first round, getting Denver’s first-round pick (No. 31 overall) and a third-rounder (101) for the 26th pick, which was used on Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. According to Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback, Dallas was offering an early second-rounder (34) and a fourth (101). According to King’s article, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones later wished he had sweetened the pot by offering his third-rounder (67 overall) instead of his fourth, but at the time Schneider had to make the decision, Denver’s offer was the best one on the table.
@XIVerratti asks, “Very big draft/UDFA class for the Hawks, how many rookies do you think will make the 53-man roster?”
A: Again, it’s too early to make any specific predictions, but I would guess that more rookies make the squad this year than last year, when six rookies—five draft picks and Rawls—were on the initial 53-man roster. For starters, the Seahawks drafted more players this year than last year when they had eight picks, and additionally Schneider has repeatedly talked about how strong and deep this year’s draft was. If the draft really is as good as Schneider believed it was, then it stands to reason that the Seahawks should have a number of good players capable of making the roster.
@RossRichendrfer asks, “What do you see as the most intriguing roster battle?”
A: As we covered already, the offensive line looks wide open, and the running back group will look a lot different as well, so those will be two of the most interesting position groups in camp. I’ll also be curious to see what happens with the defensive line rotation with the addition of two new draft picks and with Chris Clemons being back, as well as what happens with the strongside linebacker spot. Cornerback is also intriguing, both because there should be good battles for roster spots, but also because the versatility of Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead give the Seahawks the flexibility to try out more combinations than they might have been able to in the past. And unless Tarvaris Jackson ends up re-signing, the backup quarterback battle should be a fun, wide-open competition.
Former Seahawk public relations intern @helenofpullman asks, “What draft day meal was the best, and why?”
A: The crab cakes, because crab cakes are delicious. So too were the other food options, ranging from steak to chicken pasta to hot breakfast on Saturday, but the crab cakes take the, um, cake.
@OmarSidd asks, “Who is the most well-rounded athlete we picked up?”
A: Well if you’re just going to tee up a chance to post video of Alex Collins Irish dancing, I can’t pass that up, right?
A strong case could also be made for Prosise, who played safety, receiver and running back while also being a special teams standout, but I’m going to go with the guy who is a 3,000-yard college rusher, an Irish dancer and a former lacrosse player.
@Ty_Reed asks, “Team Captain America or Team Iron Man? And along those lines, who from the Seahawks would you draft to your team and with what powers?”
A: Believe it or not, this was not the only question we received this week related to the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War” movie (we got yours too, @kibbykibbykibby). I don’t really know enough about the movie to actually take a side in the Captain America vs. Iron Man debate, but I guess I’ll go Iron Man if only because sarcastic Robert Downey Jr. is always enjoyable.
I’m not great at the comparing players to super heroes thing, so I’ll pass on that. But on a somewhat related note, if you want to see Seahawks draft picks as Star Wars characters, here you go:
To celebrate this now annual occasion, we merge the galaxies of Star Wars with our newest stars, the 2016 #SeahawksDraft class. And as you'll discover, the parallels between our two universes go far far beyond simple name-play. Happy Star Wars Day and #MayThe4thBeWithYou always!