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Rob Rang's 2024 NFL Scouting Combine Preview

NFL Draft analyst, Rob Rang previews the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine and what it could all mean for the Seahawks.


One of the most recognized names in the industry, Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. Rob has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated,, USA Today, Yahoo, and, among others. He also works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Rang's opinions and evaluations are his own and do not reflect those of the Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.

The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine kicks off Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and for the first time since 2010 the Seahawks will be represented at head coach by someone other than Pete Carroll.

That simple fact makes this year's Combine even more compelling than most for Seahawks fans, who are eager to see how president of football operations and general manager John Schneider and new head coach Mike Macdonald retool the roster.

Much like Carroll 14 years ago, Macdonald brings with him unique perspective on this year's rookie crop, having served as defensive coordinator for a University of Michigan squad that finished 12-2 in 2021 and, much to the chagrin of many local college fans, were undefeated national champions this past season while Macdonald was back in Baltimore. New special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh has an even fresher (and likely deeper) assessment of former Wolverines, having coached in Ann Arbor since 2015 prior to agreeing to rejoin Macdonald with the Seahawks.

And, of course, new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and offensive line coach Scott Huff also bring a wealth of insight on prospects, having starred together in these same roles for the PAC-12 champion Washington Huskies the past two years.

Unique awareness of the two best teams in college football this past season certainly should help the Seahawks in their evaluation of the 2024 rookie class, but Seattle's new coaches know a lot more than just the Wolverines and Huskies – they have keen insight on the Big Ten and PAC-12 opponents each beat along the way to meeting in this year's national championship game.

One need only look to last year to see why this is significant. Half of Seattle's draft picks a year ago were from these conferences.

Two of Seattle's picks, of course, were Michigan's reigning Offensive and Defensive Linemen of the Year in Olu Oluwatimi and Mike Morris, respectively. The two undrafted rookies to make the roster last year – long snapper Chris Stoll and wide receiver Jake Bobo – were Big Ten and PAC-12 standouts at Penn State and UCLA, respectively.

This suggests the weaving of the Seahawks' new coaching staff and its experienced scouting department really could be a hand-in-glove fit that could allow Seattle to hit the ground running at the Combine.

Of course, "running" is an operative word when discussing the NFL's annual Workout Wonderland in Indianapolis.

As a well-known advocate for pure speed, Carroll could be counted on to be caught by NFL Network cameras excitedly chomping his favorite chewing gum when the fastest athletes were running their 40-yard dashes.

Macdonald's track record also suggests a great respect for speed but his defenses in Baltimore and Michigan were even more characterized by brute power, aggression and savvy. Macdonald and his staff may, in fact, be just as excited for the bench press as they are for the 40-yard dash, the Combine's marquee event.

In terms of positional groups Seattle is expected to focus on, one need not be a professional scout to recognize that inside linebacker, tight end and the interior of the offensive line are areas of focus.

The Seahawks starting linebacker duo of Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks are pending free agents, as is key reserve Devin Bush. The situation isn't quite as dire at tight end or guard, but it's close. Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson's contracts are up and Will Dissly is entering the final year of his deal.

Left guard Damien Lewis is Seattle's longest tenured starter along the offensive line and Phil Haynes performed well when called upon, as well. Evan Brown started all 16 games in which he played for the Seahawks in 2023 and though each of them came at center, he started at guard previously in Detroit.

The Seahawks may very well hope to retain all these players, but young and relatively inexpensive reinforcements are available in this year's draft. Knowing how well that Schneider and his scouts have planned drafts in the past, I don't think it is at all coincidence that multiple former Wolverines and Huskies at inside linebacker, tight end and along the offensive line will be working out this week in Indianapolis. After all, Michigan is sending a record 18 players to the Combine this year. Washington is sending 13, the most in school history.

Given that only one team – the Carolina Panthers – surrendered more rushing touchdowns than the Seahawks last season, burly defensive linemen could also be a top priority for Seattle, especially if Leonard Williams is not retained. Throughout Schneider's tenure, Seattle has often selected players who starred at the Senior Bowl. No defensive lineman stood out more in Mobile this year than Missouri's 6-foot-5, 296-pound Darius Robinson, whose ability to make impact plays against the run and pass, alike, remind me a bit of Williams, who will turn 30 in June.

Of course, the quarterbacks will also be throwing. Michigan and Washington also boast two of the more intriguing talents at that position as well in junior J.J. McCarthy and senior Heisman Trophy finalist Michael Penix, Jr., respectively. The dynamic duo are two of six quarterbacks often projected as possible first round selections, joining Southern California's Caleb Williams, North Carolina's Drake Maye, LSU's Jayden Daniels and Oregon's Bo Nix.

By converting Geno Smith's $9.6-million roster bonus into up-front money earlier this month, the Seahawks seemed to signal that they are happy with their starting quarterback. Macdonald has praised Smith (and fellow veteran Drew Lock, another pending free agent) repeatedly since being hired, so it is quite possible that the Seahawks are planning to dedicate their draft picks this year (currently seven) to positions other than quarterback. 

Needless to say, with a new head coach in town, anything is possible.

Of course, given Schneider's track record for zigging when he's expected to zag on draft day, Macdonald should fit right in with the Combine process; the perfect opportunity to truly start collaborating.

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