Seattle Seahawks 2010: Tate, Thomas, Okung Must Step Up

Alex JennyContributor IAugust 13, 2010

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 07:  Lofa Tatupu #51 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as he enters the field before the game against the New England Patriots on December 7, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 24-21. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Last Years Record            5-11

Wins: Rams (x2), Jaguars, Lions, 49ers

Losses: 49ers, Bears, Colts, Cardinals (x2), Cowboys, Vikings, Texans, Bucs, Packers, Titans

Biggest Playmaker            Lofa Tatupu

MLB, USC, Drafted #45, 6th Year

Lofa Tatupu is coming back from a torn pectoral that ended his 2009 season after just five games. After recording over 90 tackles in each of his first four years, Tatupu looks to get back to the playing form that earned him a six-year $48 million contract in March of 2008. The Seahawks hope he can return to his rookie-year form when he racked up 104 tackles, 4 sacks, 9 passes deflected, three interceptions and one touchdown.

Impact Player            Golden Tate

WR, Notre Dame, Drafted #60, Rookie

Golden Tate is the only rookie I have listed as either a team’s biggest playmaker or impact player but I think he has that ability (and the Seahawks do not have many standout players). Tate is competing for a starting job and has mightily impressed so far in camp…I expect him to have a big year at WR even as a rookie.

Biggest Offseason Addition            JP Losman/Charlie Whitehurst

Matt Hasselbeck will be 35 in a month and missed 11 games in the past two seasons. If there was ever a need for a reliable backup it is now. Hasselbeck has also seen his production drop in those two years, throwing just 22 touchdowns to 27 interceptions and fumbling 12 times. These two quarterbacks were brought in to compete with Hasselbeck and will be very solid backups.

Biggest Offseason Loss            Nate Burleson

WR, Nevada, Drafted #71, 8th Year

Losing Burleson was a big loss really until they drafted Golden Tate.  Nate did have 63 catches for 812 yards last year, but I believe this production will be easily matched and likely outdone by Tate in the near future.  The Seahawks did not lose much else besides QB Seneca Wallace and G Ben Hamilton who they replaced and potentially upgraded. 

Biggest Draft Steal            Earl Thomas

Safety, Texas, Drafted #14, Rookie

Before the draft Earl Thomas was considered by many analysts to be the top prospect at safety.  The Seahawks drafted an immediate starter and impact player in the middle of the first round.  He not only addressed a need but is very good in pass coverage which will help a team ranked third from last in total passing yards a year ago.

Biggest Draft Mistake            Lendale White

RB, USC, Drafted # 45, 5th Year

On draft day the Seahawks swapped picks with the Titans in a deal that also included Lendale White. White has yet to live up to his potential, proving to be nothing but a short yardage and goalline back.  The Seahawks were planning on Lendale having a breakout year as he was being reunited with college coach Pete Carroll, but White was cut less than two weeks into camp.             

Offseason Grade            A-

The Seahawks drafted somehow with both the approach of best player available and team need.  Their three first picks were all considered higher value than where they were selected (Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Golden Tate).  In the fourth and fifth rounds they drafted again for their needs, and got guys that will likely be second stringers in their rookie years.  The Seahawks also bolstered their depth at QB and RB with the additions of Charlie Whitehurst, JP Losman and Leon Washington.  The only place I think a move should have been made was to sign or trade for an impact player on the defensive line. 

X-Factor            Matt Hasselbeck

QB, Boston College, Drafted # 184, 13th Year

Hasselbeck has been inconsistent throughout his career and had injury concerns, but has the potential to be great.  In 2007 he threw for nearly 4,000 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but just a year later played in only seven games with 5 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.  Hasselbeck has the potential to make or break the Hawks 2010 season. 

Name You Should Know            David Hawthorne

LB, Texas Christian, Undrafted, 3rd Year

David Hawthorne filled in for the injured Lofa Tatupu a year ago and posted 117 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and three interceptions from his middle linebacker spot.  Hawthorne will likely start the first game of the season at outside linebacker in place of the suspended Leroy Hill.  Keep an eye out for Hawthorne in the next couple of years.  

Rising Star            Aaron Curry

OLB, Wake Forest, Drafted #4, 2nd Year

Aaron Curry came in obviously with high expectations after being drafted fourth overall but failed to live up to them in his rookie season.  New Head Coach Pete Carroll plans to utilize Curry’s strengths as a pass rusher more often, and the return of Lofa Tatupu should definitely help Curry’s productivity this year. 

Offensive Outlook            B-

The Seahawks will likely be counting on two rookies to be starters very early in Russell Okung and Golden Tate.  Hopefully the Seahawks can improve their run game with the addition of Okung and guard Ben Hamilton who has 104 starts in his career.  Matt Hasselbeck’s production may dictate the success of the offense.

Defensive Outlook            B-

The Seahawks are going to need their youth to step up on the defensive side of the ball as well, with rookie safety Earl Thomas an immediate starter and Aaron Curry hoping to produce more than his rookie year.  The Hawks have a fairly weak defensive line and their corners are not spectacular, but their linebackers have the potential to be a top unit in the league.   

Special Teams Outlook            B+

Olindo Mare was great for the Seahawks in ’09 connecting on over 90% of his kicks and punter Jon Ryan averaged over 46 yards per kick with a career high 28 punts landing inside the 20.  Justin Forsett has been nothing but average as a return man in his two years.   In 2009 they ranked 11th in special teams.

Projected 2010 Record            7-9

Expect Matt Hasselbeck to come back and produce for the Seahawks, if he can stay healthy.  If not, they have viable options at their backup QB spot.  The Seahawks made a splash in the draft this year and will be counting heavily on at least three rookies to make an immediate impact as starters.  The Seahawks desperately need both of their lines to step up.  That said, the NFC West looks to be pretty weak this year, and the Hawks have the 3rd easiest schedule in the league.

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