The 2021 NFL Draft took place last week, which means the Seahawks and every other team are one step closer toward building the team they'll field this season. And yes, the Seahawks made only three picks, but they're excited about the addition of receiver D'Wayne Eskridge, cornerback Tre Brown and tackle Stone Forsythe, and will soon be adding a group of undrafted free agents as well. With the draft now behind us, now's a good time to answer some questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@Buddha25 asks, "If DK Metcalf qualifies for the Olympics, would it interfere with Seahawks activities?"
A: Seeing as the Olympics start on July 23 and run through August 8, and that training camp usually begins the final week of July, yeah, there's a good chance those two things would interfere with each other. That being said, Metcalf and the Seahawks are still a long, long ways from having to worry about that.
For those who missed it this week, Metcalf will compete in the 100-meter dash at the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open on Sunday, an event that will feature several of the country's top sprinters. Should Metcalf do well enough, yes, he could move on to the U.S. Olympic Trials next month, which would be the next step towards the Olympics.
But before we start worrying about Metcalf missing the start of camp, there's two things to consider: 1. We don't know yet if Metcalf has any desire to keep this going past this weekend, or if this is just a chance for him to see how he measures up against elite sprinters, and 2. For as fast as Metcalf is on a football field, the odds of him qualifying for the Olympics probably aren't great. Look, Metcalf is an absolute physical freak and one of the fastest players in the NFL, but it would be insulting to track athletes who spend their lives training specifically for track to assume an NFL player, no matter how fast, can spend a few weeks or months training and compete at the highest level in the sport. I'd love to see Metcalf prove me wrong, and I don't think he'll embarrass himself by any means, but the automatic qualifying time for the trials is 10.05, which is, well, incredibly fast even by elite track standards.
James Dofelmier from Federal Way asks, "Why did the Seahawks take a receiver when Russell Wilson is being sacked so much?"
A: For starters, I'd point out that the maligning of Seattle's offensive line has been quite overblown this year. When healthy, Wilson enjoyed pretty strong protection, and the late-season struggles correlated pretty directly with injuries. Also, the deep passing game Seattle uses will always lead to a few extra sacks no matter how good the protection, and Wilson's escapeability, which leads to so many big plays, can also contribute to a few extra sacks. The Seahawks also added Gabe Jackson in a trade, a guard who is known as a strong pass blocker, so that should help too.
As for drafting a receiver, another good way to avoid sacks is to get the ball out quicker, and a great way to facilitate that is to have dynamic receivers who get open quickly. Adding an explosive player like D'Wayne Eskridge to the duo of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf will make life easier for Wilson, and combined with a new offense that could see more quick passes, that addition could do as much to cut down on sacks as any single lineman acquisition would.
@ArrDJay asks, "Why is K.J. Wright still a free agent?" @jodythebreadman also asks about Wright still being unsigned.
A: I'm as surprised as you that Wright, who had one of the best seasons of his career, is still unsigned, and even general manager John Schneider said he was surprised by that prior to the draft, noting that with so many teams using similar schemes to Seattle, he though Wright would have found a home by then.
As for what's going on—and this may shock people (or not) but I'm not in the loop when it comes to free-agent moves—but in the case of a veteran free agent who due to varying factors, isn't signed right away, the player will often wait until after the draft to make a decision. That way teams know a little more clearly what they need, and a linebacker-needy team that didn't draft one might be more inclined to pay Wright what he feels like he deserves. From the Seahawks side of it, again, I know nothing, but my hunch in a situation like this would be that early on they told Wright a number they felt like they could afford given their cap constraints, then told him to see if he could do better knowing, A. they very well could lose him, and B. they'd be genuinely happy for him if he got a bigger payday elsewhere. If that better deal doesn't come, then as Pete Carroll noted last week, the door is still open for Wright to come back for an 11th season.
@MAVmachine asks, "Did D.J. Reed's success last season have something to do with selecting Tre Brown? Chances of Brown winning the starting spot opposite Reed?
Yes and no. On one hand, both Carroll and Schneider noted after the draft that they very much still like tall, long-limbed corners, but Reed did show that at times it's worth making an exception for certain players.
As Carroll said, "Just like Russell (Wilson) helped some other quarterbacks, D.J. will help some other cornerbacks." But Carroll also said the potential of starting Reed could hurt a player like Brown, noting, "Do you want two guys who are 5-9 out there playing?"
As for the starting roles, first off, I wouldn't automatically hand a starting job to Reed just yet. Yes, he was really good last year in that role and, if I were handicapping the race right now, I think he'd be a starter, but between free-agent signing Ahkello Witherspoon, Tre Flowers, Brown and others, there will be real competition for both starting jobs. That being said, I think Brown will get a real shot to compete for a starting job, but it's way, way too early to know how he'll do until we can see him in camp.
Keith Templeton from Tacoma asks, "What happened to the Seahawks' seventh-round pick?"
A: The Seahawks did have a seventh-rounder heading into this year's draft, but they ended up trading it away on Saturday so they could move up in the sixth round, a trade that allowed them to draft tackle Stone Forsythe. Schneider noted the Seahawks started looking to move up as the picks got into the 190s, but all they had to offer was the sixth-rounder they had acquired when moving back in the fourth round before picking Brown, No. 217 overall, and their seventh, No. 250. Finally a Pick No. 208, the Seahawks were able to find a partner and move up to get Forsythe.
@Dontme02681811 asks, "Do schedule makers listed to teams' requests about games being on certain dates? Like if the Seahawks wanted to play their division rivals at home for the last two games?"
A: The league wouldn't grant that request because it'd be awfully unfair to the rest of the division if one team got to choose to close out the season that way, but due to different schedule quirks it can play out that way just by chance. What the league will sometimes work with teams on is making things a bit easier with long travel. For example, if an East Coast team has two West Coast teams on its schedule, or vice versa, some teams will ask to play those games back to back so they can stay on the road between games and cut down on travel. That hasn't been something the Seahawks have done under Carroll, though they have had plenty of long trips east over the years, but other teams have chosen to go that route. The league will also work with teams to make things easier for international travel. For example, if a West Coast team were playing in London, they could request and might be granted an East Coast game the weekend before.
HolliWinters asks, "Which 2021 games should we be looking forward with the upcoming schedule announcement? Will there be any international games?"
A: For starters, I'd say look forward to any game in which fans can be in the stands, which everyone is hoping and expecting will be all of them, because after a year of no fans in Lumen Field, it's going to be great to have that place rocking again. The home opener, regardless of opponent, is going to be pretty special with fans back in the building.
Given the strength of the division, every NFC West game figures to be exciting, especially those late in the season when playoff berths or seeding can be determined. As for non-divisional games, it will be exciting to see two of this year's first-round pick quarterbacks come to Seattle in Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence and Chicago's Justin Fields. As for road games, a trip to Lambeau Field is always special given that building's history, and the Seahawks again head to Green Bay this year, plus, in just about any given year the Packers and Seahawks are two of the NFC's top teams so that should be a good and meaningful game. The Seahawks, of course, would probably prefer it isn't late in the season, however.
As for an international game, we'll have to wait and see on that, but whether it's this year or in the future, the Seahawks are likely going to do that again based off how successful their London trip was in terms of fans coming out from all over, particularly the UK and Germany, as well as a large contingent of fans making their way over from the Seattle area and other parts of the U.S.
@Shane_Dover asks if the Seahawks are looking at free agent center Austin Reiter?
A: I'm not going to pretend to know what the Seahawks are doing in free agency, including with any veteran linemen still on the market, but in general terms, it's safe to say that if a player is available, the Seahawks have at least looked into the idea. General manager John Schneider frequently mentions how the Seahawks take pride at being in on every deal, leaving no stone unturned, etc., so I'm sure they've at least considered the idea of Reiter whether or not they've gone further on pursuing it.
I will also add, however, that the Seahawks probably feel better about their situation at center than a lot of outside observers might. Ethan Pocic still has room to grow, to be sure, but the best season of his career came after last year's move to center, and it's reasonable to expect that given another year at the position he will only improve. And the Seahawks also want to give Kyle Fuller a chance to compete for that job. Fuller may not be a household name—unless your household is super into studying offensive line depth charts, which if that's you, more power to you—but he's a player the Seahawks have seen good things from in practice, and he's a player Pete Carroll has brought up unsolicited multiple times this offseason, indicating they think he really can push Pocic for that job.
@MssoaMartins asks, "Do the Seahawks sign practice squad players for team fit?"
A: For the most part the Seahawks use the practice squad as a place to keep top young players who don't quite make the 53-man roster, but over the course of a year you will see Seattle and other teams tinker with the practice squad depending on depth at certain positions. If, for example, the Seahawks have a couple of running backs banged up, you might see them add a back to the practice squad so that player can get ready should he need to be called for a game.
@TheStalter asks, "With Russell Wilson and Geno Smith pretty set as the starting QB and the backup, who else do they have for training camp?"
A: In addition to Wilson and Smith, who as the question notes, is the heavy favorite to keep the backup job, the Seahawks also have Danny Etling, who spent last year on the practice squad, and Alex McGough, who the Seahawks drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. McGough is back having signed a futures contract earlier this offseason. After spending his rookie season on Seattle's practice squad, McGough was signed by the Jaguars, then later signed to Houston's practice squad. Interestingly enough, Etling and McGough were selected with back-to-back picks in 2018, the first and second picks of the seventh round.
While the Seahawks could always add another quarterback between now and camp, four quarterbacks is enough and usually the number Seattle has for training camp.
Take a look at the Seahawks 2021 Draft Class in the Seahawks blue and green. Uniform numbers are unofficial and subject to change.