When the Seahawks’ took Russell Wilson in the 3rd round, it wasn’t really criticized. That seemed to be a fitting range for him. However, then it was reported that GM John Schneider compared him to Drew Brees and “had to have him” because he felt he was one of the top-3 players he scouted in 2011, which sounded like hyperbole and maybe a little bit crazy. The Seahawks then made him their week 1 starter in pre-season, as he beat out expensive free agent signee Matt Flynn, and 8 games into the season, it was starting to look like possibly a mistake.
The Seahawks were only 4-4 despite a strong defense and Wilson had just 10 touchdowns to 8 interceptions (and one of those touchdowns was really an interception). However, Wilson’s play over the next 10 games proved Schneider right and then some. It didn’t look like hyperbole any longer that this kid was Brees-esque and one of the top-3 players in the draft. He threw 19 touchdowns to 3 interceptions the rest of the way, winning 8 of 10, and even though the Seahawks came up short in Atlanta, they have plenty of reason to be hopeful for the future.
Wilson is clearly their franchise quarterback and while he wasn’t the franchise savior that Robert Griffin was, Wilson is probably the most likely of the 2012 draft quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl in the next few years because he’s supported by a fantastic running game and what was the league’s #1 defense in 2012. This team won 7 games in 2011 despite 14 games of Tarvaris Jackson and 2 games of Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback. They just needed a quarterback and now they found one. Given their amazing home field advantage, if they can ever get a top seed, they could be very dangerous in the post-season.
Russell Wilson’s mobility made this offensive line look better than it was, but they have some obvious holes. Breno Giacomini struggled on the right side at tackle. James Carpenter was supposed to play there, but the injury prone former 1st round pick was moved to guard. They could use an upgrade over Giacomini.
Carpenter may have moved to guard, but that doesn’t mean he played well. None of their guards really did. John Moffitt, a 3rd round pick from that same draft, 2011, Paul McQuistan, a veteran journeyman, and JR Sweezy all struggled there. Sweezy was the worst and, considering he was a 7th round pick rookie converting from the defensive line, that makes sense. Schneider and Pete Carroll have made a lot of smart decisions, but I have to make fun of them for that one. Sweezy said he hadn’t played offensive line since middle school. How did they decide to convert him to offensive line? Did they watch his middle school tape?
Jason Jones and Alan Branch are both free agents. The Seahawks mentioned adding some extra pass rush this off-season. Defensive tackle is where they really need it. Jones is a solid pass rusher, but he’s only a situational player and that’s it and of course he’s a free agent anyway. Branch is a good run player, but doesn’t get much pass rush.
The Seahawks could use some receiving help. Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate are talented young receivers and Sidney Rice is good when healthy, but that’s not always the case.
Speaking of not healthy, Chris Clemons tore his ACL and will be in a race to play week 1. Meanwhile, Red Bryant struggled mightily through injuries this season. Bruce Irvin was their first round pick last year, but I still have concerns about his run play and his ability to be a starter. He was terrible in his only start against Atlanta after Clemons got hurt. They said they want to add more pass rush. Here could be a place to do it.
If they don’t re-sign LeRoy Hill, they will need a new 3rd linebacker, though I suppose they could give Malcolm Smith the job. The 2011 7th round pick impressed in limited action this year.
Steven Hauschka is a free agent who will need to either be re-signed or replaced.