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Seahawks Mailbag: Intriguing Newcomers, 2026 World Cup Coming To Seattle & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.

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The Seahawks finished up their offseason workout program this week, making this a great time to open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around. And remember, in addition to submitting questions via Twitter, you can also do so at Seahawks.com/mailbag.

@VlonekiDD_22 asks, "Which new defensive players should Seahawks fans be most intrigued about?"

A: There's a couple of rookies I'd point to here, but we'll get into that in the next question. As for non-rookie newcomers, there are several who should contribute this year on defense. There will be competition, but based on what we've seen so far, Artie Burns looks like he has a shot to start at cornerback, which would obviously put him into a big role in his first year with Seattle, and even if he didn't win a starting job he should still find his way on the field. Justin Coleman is back with Seattle after a few years away, and has a good shot to step back into the nickel role in which he played so well during his last stint with the Seahawks, but again, he'll have to compete for that spot.

Up front, Uchenna Nwosu, signed to help improve the edge rush group, will likely either start or have a big role in the rotation, and if he can build off of what he did with the Chargers last year, he has a chance to have the biggest impact of any newcomer. Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson both should also have significant roles on the defensive front.

As for the rookies…

@robwittman1 asks, "How do the rooks look?"

A: When it comes to the class as a whole, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is "really jacked" about the 2022 draft class, and he sees opportunities for several of those rookies to contribute right away. First-round pick Charles Cross seems likely to start at left tackle, while third-round pick Abraham Lucas is competing for the job at right tackle.

Second-round edge rusher Boye Mafe should be an immediate factor, and Carroll noted he compares, traits wise, to Cliff Avril, one of the best pass rushers of the Carroll/John Schneider era. Fellow second-rounder Kenneth Walker III should contribute to the running back rotation. His exact role remains to be seen and could be dependent on health at his position, most notably the status of Chris Carson, but the Seahawks will find a way to get touches to a back of his ability regardless of who else is available.

In Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen, the Seahawks drafted two cornerbacks who could push for playing time sooner than later. Bryant, the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, looks NFL ready, while Woolen, who possess a rare combination of size and speed, was "probably the flashiest" player at minicamp, according to Carroll.

Seattle's other fifth-round pick, Tyreke Smith, could also be a factor in the pass-rush rotation and figures to have a role on special teams as well—as will just about every rookie—while seventh-round receivers Bo Melton and Dareke Young will battle to find a place in a deep position group.

@OlManRiver60 asks, "Who will the Hawks starting QB be?" And @RiversBurner asks, "Who is QB1?"

A: As Carroll has noted—and practice has indicated—Geno Smith is the No. 1 QB as things currently stand heading into camp, but by no means does that mean Drew Lock isn't a strong candidate for the job. As Carroll has said repeatedly, Smith's advantage comes from his familiarity with the offense and many of his teammates, but as we get into camp and the No. 1 reps presumably start getting divided up more evenly, Lock will have a chance to state his case. I'm not going to try to guess at this point who will win the job, but all indications are that it will be a tight battle and one that likely won't be decided until we're pretty far into camp and the preseason.

@cmikesspinmove asks, "What's your read on the competition at receiver at the bottom of the depth chart?"

A: While the top two jobs seem pretty darn set with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf leading the way, things are pretty wide open beyond that, as this question implies. Freddie Swain has the most experience after Lockett and Metcalf and will probably open camp as the No. 3 receiver, but if 2021 second-round pick Dee Eskridge can stay healthy after battling injuries as a rookie, he should push Swain for that job. Those four all seem pretty likely to end up on the roster, but the final couple of spots should be very competitive.

Veteran speedster Marquise Goodwin is by far the most experienced receiver on the team after Lockett and Metcalf, having started 42 games and appeared in 89, but hasn't caught more than 23 passes in a season since 2017. If he can recapture his form from that season when he had 56 catches for 962 yards for the 49ers, he would be a great addition to the team, but he'll need a solid camp to secure a spot over some of the young roster hopefuls. Penny Hart has appeared in 30 games over the past two seasons, so he once again is a strong candidate for a job, in no small part due to his contributions on special teams. The Seahawks also return several 2021 practice squad members, including Cody Thompson, who was a standout in offseason workouts according to receivers coach/passing game coordinator Sanjay Lal, Cade Johnson and Aaron Fuller, and as mentioned earlier, they drafted a pair of receivers in the seventh round in Melton and Young.

All of that is a long way of saying that there are a lot of players competing for what will likely be one or two roster spots at receiver, so just about every rep in training camp and the preseason games will matter, and as always, the ability to contribute on special teams will go a long ways for those players.

@michaelpherman asks, "Who from the Seahawks locker room is first in line for (World Cup) tickets?"

A: Well, it's pretty impossible to predict who will be on an NFL roster four years into the future given the rate of turnover in this sport, but regardless of who is on the team, I'd be willing to bet you'll see a lot of players interested. Even if players aren't big soccer fans, the World Cup is such a huge event that plenty will want to be a part of it when 2026 World Cup games come to Lumen Field. And if he is around four years from now, look for Rashaad Penny to be there.

@adamdnathan asks, "How easily can they lay a grass pitch down there? Presume that's a prerequisite?"

A: You are correct that a grass field is a must for hosting World Cup games, and while I have no knowledge of the plan for the 2026 World Cup, I can tell you that temporary grass fields have been brought into Lumen Field in the past, including for a World Cup qualifier in 2013 and for various friendlies hosted by the Sounders. Considering the significance of the World Cup and that, presumably, multiple games will be played at Lumen Field, I'm sure it will be a big priority to come up with the best grass solution possible. What will that look like? I have no clue, but my hunch is that will be a big story in the buildup to those games in 2026.

TheMcSnizzle asks, "Across all sports, who is your favorite Seattle sports star ever?"

A: Man, that's a tough question and one that doesn't have an easy single answer. I'm taking the more recent Seahawks out of the equation since I've covered them and/or worked for the team for more than a decade, and that's just a different relationship than usual sports fandom. Though if you grew up around when Steve Largent was catching passes at a record pace, it was impossible not to be a fan. Moving onto the rest of Seattle sports… As a kid, the obvious choice was Ken Griffey Jr., who was not only the best player in baseball but the coolest and most fun to watch. Later I'd come to appreciate Edgar Martinez's greatness, but it's hard to describe to anyone who wasn't in Seattle in the early 90s what a big deal Griffey was around these parts.

For much of my youth, Husky football was a huge deal, and I enjoyed watching players like Mario Bailey, Steve Emtman, Dave Hoffman, Greg Lewis and Napoleon Kaufman, to name a few. And of course, you couldn't live in Seattle in the 90s and not gravitate towards Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

And seeing as she's in the news today after announcing she will retire after this season, I have to mention Sue Bird, who will go down as arguably the greatest athlete in Seattle sports history and inarguably the most accomplished. I was fortunate to see Bird play from the beginning of her career and even cover a few of her games back when I was at the Seattle Times, and have been a big admirer of her as an athlete and a person ever since.

Take a look back at some of the best photos from Seahawks organized team activities (OTAs) during the 2022 offseason at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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