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Wednesday Round-Up: Seahawks' 2020 Draft Class 'Shaping Into Foundation For Future Success' Says SI's Corbin Smith

Corbin Smith of Sports Illustrated wrote about the members of the Seahawks’ 2020 draft class who are becoming foundational pieces of the roster.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Wednesday, January 19 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Smith: Seahawks' 2020 Draft Class 'Shaping Into Foundation For Future Success'

While the 2021 season didn't go as many had hoped for the Seahawks, a number of talented young players showed flashes that made 12s believe they could be difference makers for years to come.

The Seahawks' three draft picks from 2021 all saw pretty limited time this season. Second rounder Dee Eskridge missed Weeks 2-10 with a concussion; fourth-round cornerback Tre Brown made his NFL debut in Week 6 and played well when available, only to suffer a torn patellar tendon five weeks later against Arizona; and sixth-round tackle Stone Forsythe only saw 14 snaps on offense this year behind Duane Brown and Jamarco Jones.

But members of the Seahawks' 2020 draft class blossomed in a big way this season, leading Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith to call the class the "best group [John] Schneider and [Pete] Carroll have picked since [Russell] Wilson and perennial All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner came to town as part of their famous 2012 class." This week, Smith wrote about some of the top performers this season from the 2020 draft class and why they have the chance to be game changers in 2022 and beyond for the Seahawks.

Leading the group was linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who started all 17 games and finished second in the league with 184 total tackles, which broke a franchise record previously belonging to Wagner. "In addition, Brooks registered a team-high 10 tackles for loss and produced nine pressures, a sack, and three quarterback hits on just 56 blitz attempts, generating a respectable 16 percent pressure rate," Smith said. "Making an impact in a variety of ways for the Seahawks, he earned the first of what should be many All-Pro votes following in Wagner's footsteps."

Smith noted that Brooks can make some strides in coverage, where he surrendered seven touchdown grabs and yielded a 129.6 opposing passer rating. "Still," Smith says, "those raw numbers undersell clear improvements made by Brooks as a cover linebacker in his sophomore season. There were plenty of times he found himself well-positioned, only to be beaten by outstanding throws, and he did produce four pass breakups."

Also making a big impact in his second season was defensive end Darrell Taylor, who missed all of 2020 while recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg. Taylor played 16 of 17 games and regularly showed explosion and power coming off the edge. His 6.5 sacks were good for second on the team, and he produced pressure on 36 of 326 pass rushing snaps for a pressure rate of 11 percent, according to Smith. "If he can clean up his tackling and be more efficient finishing as a pass rusher, Taylor has a chance to evolve into the second-coming of Cliff Avril, which would provide a major boost for the team's inconsistent pass rush," Smith said.

Guard Damien Lewis was a standout as a rookie for the 'Hawks in 2020, earning a nod to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. Injuries and a move to left guard to accommodate for Gabe Jackson's arrival last offseason have hampered his production as a sophomore, but Smith is still optimistic that the LSU product can be a plus on the offensive line.

"Lewis exhibited great promise as a rookie and played well down the stretch helping open up holes for [Rashaad] Penny," Smith said. "After drawing a league-high 12 penalties in 2020, he also played far more disciplined football with officials flagging him only five times. With a cleaner bill of health and a second year playing on the left side, his future remains bright and he should be a fixture in the trenches for years to come."

Click here to read Smith’s full piece and see which other members of the Seahawks' 2020 have a chance to make a big impact in 2022 and beyond.

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