NFL: 4 Under-the-Radar Seattle Seahawks Ready to Break out in 2012
Training camp has come at last! Our collective thirst as fans for football action is finally being quenched. Each day of camp is another drip for our parched tongues.
To me, the best part about training camp is the reassurance it gives us that games are mere weeks away.
The preseason, despite its overall "joke" reputation, still provides important glimpses into the abilities of young prospects. This idea of "discovering" unknown talent might seem pointless to some, but the diehard fans will acknowledge the thrill of truly knowing one's team inside and out.
For now, I'm going show which lesser-known Seahawks are going to make a splash in the NFL in 2012. To keep things fresh and current, I'm going to be pooling multiple reports and insights from the past three days of training camp in order to make these evaluations.
So, without further ado, let's get amped up about some unknown prospects!
As always, dissenting comments are welcomed below. But concurring opinions are nice, too.
Richard Sherman, Cornerback
For those of you who don't know, I'm quite high on Richard Sherman. In fact, I wrote a whole article that named him the best player on the team. Funny thing is, I'm no longer the minority in my analysis, at least among Seahawk fans.
Over 5000 people have attended Seahawk training camp thus far, and the consensus is that Sherman—along with the rest of the secondary—has been disgustingly good. One of the Seahawks' lead bloggers went so far as to call them "filthy."
Sherman is the quiet cornerstone of this secondary. Or maybe not so quiet, since he consistently mouths off to officials, and he trash talks star wide receivers. Regardless, Sherman dominated competition in his ten starts in 2011.
He significantly lowered the passer rating of opposing quarterbacks, and also had four interceptions and a forced fumble. In essence, he forced a turnover in one out of every two games he played in. Apply his numbers to a full season with 16 starts and you're looking at an All-Pro who could earn the title of "shutdown corner."
Sherman has been under the radar, simply due to the fact that he's surrounded by three pro bowlers. But in 2012, Sherman could easily prove that he is the most lethal defender on the team.
Ricardo Lockette, Wide Receiver
Lockette, for lack of a better phrase, made his catches count in 2011. Let me break down those catches for you.
The first was a 44-yard gain where Lockette was covered by two 49er Pro Bowlers: Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers.
The second was a 61-yard bomb where Lockette collided with a Cardinals defensive back, but had enough concentration to tip the ball to himself and race in for the touchdown.
Not bad for your first two NFL receptions.
Now reports have surfaced that Lockette is tearing it up in training camp.
One blogger's daily reports indicate that all three potential starting quarterbacks have hooked up with Lockette for deep touchdowns during practice. The same reports indicated that the receiver didn't drop a pass the entirety of day one.
Essentially, Lockette is emerging to be more than just a one-trick pony. He has soft hands and fantastic concentration that perfectly complements his national track champion speed.
If he continues to shine through training camp and into the preseason, Lockette could contend for the receiver spot opposite Sidney Rice. If that happens, look for Lockette to explode onto the NFL scene in 2012.
KJ Wright, Strongside Linebacker
Don't get me wrong, KJ had a strong rookie year in 2011. By national standards, however, he's just another no-name player on a team that nobody outside of the Northwest cares about (and me, down here in SoCal).
Wright has a few innate qualities that will ultimately help him establish a reputation in 2012. For one, Wright is a monster of a hitter. This 6'4" heavyweight took advantage of the first padded day of practice on Monday, laying the thunder down on Robert Turbin and Antonio Bryant in drills. Big-hitter linebackers are playmakers in the NFL, and playmakers get recognized.
In addition, Wright has the brains to play linebacker in Gus Bradley's hybrid defensive scheme. He will shoulder some of the playcalling load this season, which, after just one season in the system, demonstrates his quick learning ability. During games last season, Wright displayed excellent play recognition, often throwing off the timing of pass plays or stopping them before they turned into a big gain.
The combination of Wright's brain and physical gifts allowed him to displace Aaron Curry as the starter last season. The upward trend ought only to continue in 2012.
Robert Turbin, Running Back
Seahawk fans are quite abuzz over fourth-round pick Robert Turbin. The rest of the media world is not. Here's why they will be in 2012.
Turbin has shown in a few short days of practice that he is a monster of a football player. A fast monster. Although he seemingly played nervous in his first day, Turbin stole the show on day two, thanks to some solid fundamental coaching by Tom Cable. After, he was able to break some long runs, and showed a fighting spirit that refused to go down, even in low pressure, limited contact drills.
That unwillingness to quit, to lose, is what sets Turbin apart. He has the strength of Marshawn, and similar to Skittles, he knows the true meaning of determination.
It all adds up to a whole lot of potential for this young guy. Keep in mind that he won't have starting statistics, but he could take the role that Leon Washington had last year and do it a whole lot better.
So, there you have it. My predictions for two young offensive and defensive hot shots who should gain tons of recognition in 2012.
If you think I missed someone like Doug Baldwin, or think that Turbin will never shine as a backup, or any other comment, please don't hesitate to attack me in the comments section.
Thanks for reading!