Seattle Seahawks: Ranking Remaining Offseason Priorities
The Seattle Seahawks are in a good spot as we head into the meat of the offseason, but they do have some things to work out before they're 100 percent ready for the 2014 season. There aren't any major holes in their roster, but they have some fixing to do in-house.
It's not that they need to add many players, but Seattle needs to figure out what their depth chart is going to look like at wide receiver and on the offensive line. They have a lot of talent in their wide receiver group, but no clear No. 1 receiver.
Of course Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice have the potential to be that guy, but their health issues do leave a lingering sense of doubt around them.
That being said, Doug Baldwin stepped up big time for the Seahawks last season, and he may be the best option as their No. 1 receiver.
I've written before that he's set up for a big year in 2014, and I believe he could take over—and perform well—as the team's No. 1 receiver.
Obviously the receiver depth chart isn't the only one they need to spend some time defining, but it's the most important one at this point.
5. Decide Whether or Not James Carpenter Is Worth Keeping
James Carpenter was underwhelming to say the least in 2013, and that may lead to his release from the team. He'll likely never be more than a backup with the team, and Seattle would be better off cutting him and saving the money at that point—the Seahawks would save close to $1.5 million.
While Seattle had one of the most feared running games in the league last season, it certainly wasn't because of Carpenter. He's a below-average run-blocker who couldn't hold onto a starting spot last year.
Carpenter and Paul McQuistan rotated in and out of the lineup, but they were eventually overthrown by seventh-rounder Michael Bowie towards the end of the season.
There are simply not enough positives to balance out the negatives of Carpenter, meaning he'll probably be a cap casualty. They may decide to keep him for depth, but either way they need to find an answer at guard.
Otherwise, Seattle's dominant running game could start to wane.
4. Find a Consistent Role for Cassius Marsh
Cassius Marsh received rave reviews from the Seattle coaching staff following the rookie minicamp, and he is looking like a strong candidate to land on the 53-man roster. Pete Carroll was particularly impressed, as he detailed Marsh's impression on him when he met with the media following the team’s minicamp (via Bob Condotta, Seattle Times):
First he came in here in great shape, he was really flying the whole time. He never showed any signs at all of wearing down, he’s very active, a very instinctive football player. He moved around to a couple of different spots here to give us some looks. That’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty exciting that he’s so active...he looked very good, by far the most active guy out there.
The question that now arises is this: How can they use him in the most effective way possible?
Marsh is a versatile defender who now joins a crowded front seven, but I’m betting they find a nice spot for him in the rotation. It’s doubtful he’ll beat out one of the stalwart defenders for a starting spot, but Marsh will likely be shifted in and out of packages depending on the situation.
He’s a talented defender who fits right in with the athletic front of Seattle, and will be an interesting prospect to watch as we near the regular season.
3. Find Mr. Right at Guard
Seattle needs a reliable guard, that much is clear. It got away with weak play at guard last season, but that's not something the Seahawks can, or should, depend on going into 2014.
They didn't address the position in the draft and have yet to delve into the free-agency pool, but that may be a wise decision if they do in fact drop James Carpenter.
However, they may not have to. Michael Bowie showed flashes of being pretty darn good last season, and that may have instilled a level of confidence in the coaching staff, a confidence that could lead to him being the starter for them long-term.
He's at least earned a bid to compete for the starting spot, but in looking at their lack of effort to find a replacement, I'd guess they're just fine with Bowie going forward.
It's seeming like Bowie is Seattle's most recent late-round find.
2. Decide If Justin Britt Is the Right Tackle They've Been Looking for or Not
Justin Britt was a pretty good tackle in college, and he's looking like a very smart selection by the Seahawks. Britt performed very well at the rookie minicamp, garnering much praise from Pete Carroll (via Bob Condotta, Seattle Times):
He picked everything up, he’s very well prepared technique wise, he has real good footwork, his base is real good, his balance is real good for a big man, he moved well off of the line of scrimmage, he won’t have any trouble learning, it’s going to take some time of course, but he won’t any trouble picking stuff up. He’s a real serious, mature kid and I think he would jump right into the competition exactly like we had planned.
Britt is a gritty lineman who is a very physical blocker—in other words, he's a great fit for Tom Cable's scheme. There were some concerns about his mechanics coming out of college, but now they don't seem to be as big of an issue given how well he performed in minicamp.
It's too early to make a final verdict, as Britt definitely still has a lot to prove as an NFL lineman, but he's off to a great start and is in an advantageous position going forward.
1. Determine Whether or Not Doug Baldwin Can Be Their No. 1 Receiver
Doug Baldwin turned out to be a tremendous player in a smaller capacity last year, and was an integral part of Seattle's Super Bowl run. He will undoubtedly have more expected of him in 2014, but exactly how well can he play?
Of course there's no way of knowing in May, but given what we saw from Baldwin on the tail end of last season, it's not exactly a far-fetched idea.
Baldwin will also have had more time to work with Russell Wilson to develop their chemistry, and that chemistry could prove to be the Seahawks' greatest weapon in 2014.
As I brought up on the first slide, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin are both plenty capable of being Seattle's top receiver, but their injury history is an understandable concern. They are both listed as healthy as of right now, but it only takes one play for either of those guys to once again be on the sideline.
Baldwin's not only their least fragile receiver, but also their most consistent. If he can continue the level of play he had from last year and build on that, then the Seahawks will be just fine.