With week 15 of the NFL season behind us, many NFL fans find their teams out of contention. Now would be a good time for some NFL teams to look forward to the 2010 season. Let's get started by looking at the Seattle Seahawks.
Projected Finish: 5-11
2010 1st Round Picks (Projected): 6th overall; 17th overall
Their Biggest Strengths
LB: They have a really good linebacking corps. If there has been a silver lining of any kind this season, it has been this group of guys. Both Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu have missed significant time this year with injuries (Lofa landing on the IR), but some good has come of that (the emergence of David Hawthorne).
When all their linebackers are healthy, they will have a surplus. The two foreseeable options would be to either to deal one of them, (Hawthorne might be the most likely to be dealt) or switch to a 3-4.
Their defensive line is atrocious (seriously, they get absolutely no pressure on the quarterback...more on this later) and they might blow it up after this season. If they switch to a 3-4, they may want to consider trading up in the draft. But overall, their linebackers are an asset.
Special Teams: It's never good for a franchise when their special teams ranks as one of their strengths. They rank fourth in the league in net yards per punt. They are also tied for seventh with punts inside the 20. Olindo Mare has been the one bright spot on the team this year. He is 21 for 23 this year and hasn't missed a field goal since week 2. However, he hasn't hit one past 47 yards.
Wide Receiver: Though it doesn't seem like it, they do have a pretty talented group of wide receivers. Nate Burleson was on pace for 1,000 yards receiving before a high ankle sprain derailed him. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (spelled that without looking!) could hit 1,000, but he'll need 100 yard reception games in his last two with a little bit of change. He is 6th in the NFC in receptions and seems to be on pace for 85-90 catches. John Carlson is a talented catching TE (we will put him in the WR group, even though he is an asset on his own).
Team's Biggest Weaknesses
Offensive Line: The offensive line has been the elephant in the room for the last two seasons for the Seahawks. It has been pretty dreadful. In fact, it has been downright atrocious.
Since losing Big Walt to injuries last season, the line, once the Hawks pride and joy, has crumbled. I don't care what you say, Sean Locklear will never be a great left tackle. He is much better suited for the right side.
Max Unger has lots of upside and has shown lots of improvement this year. He has the potential of being a very solid center. I believe the Seahawks need to address the offensive line in the draft. If Russell Okung is fortunate enough to fall into their spot, they have got to take him. He is a great tackle. (You can read about him in my last article, which I still intend to finish, eventually. Probably closer to March...)
If we are fortunate enough to get one more season of Big Walt, he could show Okung the ropes.
Defensive Line: They have one of the worst defensive lines in football. Lawrence Jackson has dramatically cooled down since four early sacks (hasn't recorded one since). Patrick Kerney is getting old. He has been battling injuries all year, so he hasn't been able to get to the quarterback like he used to. He has only recorded five sacks this year in 12 games, just two years removed from when he had 14.5 sacks. If he can get healthy, he could be a threat for another couple of years.
What is really hurting the Seahawks is the lack of a dominant nose tackle. Colin Cole definitely hasn't cut it and Brandon Mebane is only doing okay. The two things you want from your nose tackle are to be able to stuff the run and to require double teams from the opposing offensive line so the linebackers and defensive ends have an easier time getting to the quarterback. Putting true pressure on the quarterback starts here and this is where their problem lies.
It would be amazing if they could steal Elvis Dumervil from the Broncos this offseason, although it is highly unlikely. Julius Peppers is a possibility, but also seems unlikely. Maybe they get Aaron Kampman.
They should try to lure Richard Seymour to Seattle, which I think might be the best possibility. Maybe Carlos Dunlap falls into the second round and they take him there. I hope that they can get either Greg Hardy, Terrence Cody, or Everson Griffen in the second.
Quarterback: I am sorry to say this because i love Hass, but he is getting old and really, really banged up. If management was able to put together a more formidable offensive line to protect him, then we wouldn't be talking about needing a quarterback.
I still believe Hasselbeck has two more years in him, but if they are able to get Ryan Mallett with the No. 17 pick, I think they will have something special. He is a huge guy out of Arkansas and has a cannon for an arm. He does lack some experience, but is extremely intelligent as a quarterback. (He is like JaMarcus Russell, except with a quarterback brain.) He will take a few years to groom, but has tremendous upside. If he sits behind Hasselbeck for a year or two and learns the ropes, he has the chance to be another Ben Roethlisberger, or better.
The Seahawks need a Jackie Z type general manager. Someone to make the right trades and draft with savvy.