With Pete Carrol and his new coaching staff in Seattle's front office, changes in the current roster are expected.
The 'Hawks have two relatively high draft picks (No. 6, No. 14) and stand in a good position to make some effective improvements. Their less-than-stellar 5-11 record doesn't warrant any free agency limitations either.
Matt Hasselbeck will still be the starter in 2010 but the team will most likely keep their eyes open for a potential heir to the quarterbacking throne for the future. The defense is young and athletic, but both lines are ill-tested so it's difficult to predict in which direction the Seahawks will go. It is clear there are improvements to be made.
Biggest Needs: OT, WR, RB
As I said before, quarterback isn't an immediate need and while the media would have you believe the 'Hawks could take a gunslinger early, I don't anticipate them picking one up until the later rounds of the draft.
That being said, it would appear that the team's biggest need is at offensive tackle. Walter Jones shored up the line for years and his absence has exposed the line for what it is—marginal at best.
With two early picks, Seattle has an array of options. Look for them to target tackles Russel Okung (if he's still around, that is), Trent Williams, or Bruce Campbell. All three are masters of the run-support game and would do wonders in elevating the team's running attack.
When T.J. Houshmandzadeh came on board last year, it was clear Seattle had a strong idea of what they wanted in their passing game: a physical and dependable No. 1 wide out who can make catches in the middle of the field and along the sidelines.
An efficient route-runner would be the perfect complement to the ex-Bengal and they could find the perfect one in Illinois' Arrelious Benn or LSU's Brandon LaFell. However, seeing that Carroll will be looking for familiarity, I expect them to target USC's Damien Williams.
Running backs Julius Jones and Justin Forsett are formidable, speedy, and great receivers out of the backfield. If the 'Hawks plan to be efficient on the ground like they were under Holmgren, though, they're going to need a physical bruiser to handle the defensive line in goal line sets and on third down.
Charles Scott out of LSU will most likely be gone before they get a chance to pick him up but Oklahoma's Chris Brown is far enough under the radar to be waiting in the wings and has the potential to become another Shaun Alexander.
Biggest Needs: DL, CB
Patrick Kerney was a great addition to Seattle's roster when he arrived in 2007, but he isn't getting any younger and the scouting gurus of Seattle should begin looking for another elite pass rusher. They will have their options in April but if they really want to make an impact, they should consider picking up Carolina's Julius Peppers or Green Bay's Aaron Kampman in a year without monetary limitations.
Stopping the run is always difficult, especially now that teams are employing a multi-back system more and more. Seattle surprised a few folks by finishing 15th in stopping the run in '09 but they will still look for bulk to stuff the inside run in '10. Look for them to keep a close watch on New England's Vince Wilfork, who will undoubtedly want out of Foxboro.
Seattle's secondary struggled with stopping the pass in '09, finishing with a dismal 30th ranking. Ken Lucas is slated to be a free agent in March and I fully expect the 'Hawks organization to release him without a fight. Rather, they will fully depend on Marcus Trufant and Josh Wilson for veteran leadership in the defensive backfield.
Should they decide to increase their depth, free agency has Leigh Bodden of the Patriots and Dunta Robinson of the Texans to offer and the draft will empty out its talent early but if they're patient and willing to teach, Boise State's Kyle Wilson could do well in their style of defense.
Seattle has a bright future with only six players eligible for free agency in the offseason and plenty of money and draft picks to improve their roster. Depth and dependability will be the two goals in both free agency and the draft and careful scouting could reward them with both.
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