Following a protracted offseason – okay, in comparison with the nightmare that was 2020, the previous a number of months have been a breeze – the Seahawks will formally usher within the 2021 season by reporting to coaching camp on July 27.
Persevering with our camp preview sequence, this is an in depth take a look at the state of the offensive deal with place, together with the depth chart, a key query that should be answered, and a daring prediction for the upcoming season.
2020 In Assessment
Previous to the season, the Seahawks made a change at proper deal with, letting four-year starter Germain Ifedi stroll in free company and changing him with former Jets starter Brandon Shell. The ex-South Carolina standout exceeded expectations throughout 11 begins, enjoying notably properly in cross safety, earlier than a excessive ankle sprain value him the ultimate 4 video games of the common season. In his absence, Cedric Ogbuehi stepped up and performed superb soccer down the stretch, delivering three sturdy begins to shut out the season and assist Seattle win the NFC West. Throughout from him, Duane Brown loved a robust rebound season after battling by way of bicep and knee accidents all through the 2020 marketing campaign, beginning all 16 video games whereas defending Russell Wilson’s blind aspect.
In contrast to a 12 months in the past, Seattle will not enter a brand new season with a change within the beginning lineup, as Brown and Shell will each return with one 12 months remaining on their respective contracts. Ogbuehi additionally was re-signed, offering the staff with a high quality swing reserve providing ample NFL beginning expertise at each deal with spots. Behind these three, the Seahawks could have drafted their left deal with of the long run by utilizing a sixth-round choose on Florida’s Stone Forsythe, who is predicted to compete at each deal with spots in his first coaching camp.
Starters: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell
Many questioned how a lot Brown had left within the tank following an injury-plagued 2020 season, however because of a restricted observe workload, the veteran stayed wholesome and carried out at a excessive degree in his thirteenth season. Permitting simply two sacks in cross safety and committing solely two penalties in 16 begins, he remained top-of-the-line blind aspect protectors within the enterprise and completed within the high 5 on Professional Soccer Focus for cross and run blocking grades. He hasn’t misplaced a lot within the athleticism division both, as he proved himself greater than able to getting exterior as a fringe blocker and blowing up cornerbacks and safeties.
When Seattle determined to signal Shell to a two-year deal, the signing was met with a lot skepticism after 4 inconsistent seasons in New York. However he wound up being arguably the staff’s greatest free agent addition, ending sixteenth total on Professional Soccer Focus amongst certified tackles with a 79.4 cross safety grade and permitting simply 5 quarterback hits and three sacks in 11 begins. He additionally was solely penalized 4 occasions, proving to be an improve over Ifedi in that capability as properly. Heading in the direction of free company, he’ll look to indicate his stellar play wasn’t a fluke and set himself up for a pleasant payday subsequent March both with the Seahawks or one other staff.
Reserves: Cedric Ogbuehi, Stone Forsythe, Jamarco Jones, Tommy Champion, Jake Curhan
After coping with a pectoral harm early within the season, Ogbuehi solely noticed motion in 4 of Seattle’s first 5 video games. When Shell injured his ankle in a Week 11 win over Arizona, he made his first begin in practically three years changing him and struggled mightily towards Philadelphia. However the former first-round choose turned in the most effective three-game stretch of his profession from Week 15 to Week 17. Regardless of going through three elite defensive traces, he earned no less than a 67.6 cross blocking grade from Professional Soccer Focus in every contest, surrendering three pressures, one quarterback hit, and no sacks, positioning himself to doubtlessly compete towards Shell for the correct deal with job in camp.
One of many extra polarizing prospects in his draft class, Forsythe obtained the whole lot from second spherical to undrafted grades after a stellar four-year profession at Florida. The athletic 6-foot-8 deal with held his personal in cross safety for the Gators towards a few of school soccer’s most formidable cross rushers, permitting simply two sacks on over 500 cross blocking snaps in 2020 in accordance with Professional Soccer Focus. However his peak creates pure leverage points as a run blocker and he should make enhancements technique-wise earlier than he will likely be able to see the sphere as an NFL starter. Down the highway, he might be the inheritor obvious to Brown or Shell and presents positional flexibility.
For a second straight season, Jones logged most of his snaps enjoying inside, as he subbed in for Mike Iupati and Damien Lewis at left and proper guard in a number of video games. He additionally began for the Seahawks at proper deal with instead of Shell and Ogbuehi in a Week 12 loss to the Giants, solely to exit within the second half with a groin harm that landed him on injured reserve. At occasions, the previous fifth-round select of Ohio State has flashed sufficient upside to be a possible starter, however accidents have been a persistent drawback for him and he might be all the way down to his final probability to impress given the depth round him.
Rounding out the depth chart, the Seahawks introduced again Champion after he spent the whole 2020 season on their observe squad. He’ll battle towards Curhan, a four-year starter at California, for a reserve spot at proper deal with. Contemplating depth in entrance of them, they might be vying for a single observe squad spot.
Can the Seahawks rely on Brown and Shell to remain wholesome over the course of a 17-game common season?
Based mostly on how every participant carried out a 12 months in the past, if Brown and Shell can keep on the sphere, the Seahawks ought to really feel fairly good about their state of affairs at deal with. However that is an enormous if, notably for Shell, who has handled quite a few harm points all through his five-year NFL profession. He missed 4 video games in 2017 with shoulder and neck accidents, missed the ultimate two video games in 2018 with a knee harm, after which was sidelined for 5 of the final six common season video games a 12 months in the past along with his ankle sprain.
Seattle has constructed sufficient depth to resist Shell happening for a couple of video games. Nonetheless, dropping Brown can be much more problematic and with him set to show 36 years previous in August, it isn’t out of the query his physique may begin breaking down. Whereas Ogbuehi has beginning expertise at left deal with, he hasn’t performed in a recreation there since 2017 and can be a big downgrade at a vital place. He additionally has had loads of harm points himself, together with struggling a torn ACL earlier than being drafted. Forsythe is probably not able to step into the lineup towards NFL competitors simply but and asking him to interchange a participant of Brown’s caliber as a rookie can be a tall job.
Well being is a vital issue in any respect positions for NFL groups. However dropping Brown and/or Shell for greater than a handful of video games may spell doom for Seattle’s offensive line and as realized the onerous approach final January, retaining them wholesome will likely be key to the staff’s possibilities of making noise within the playoffs.
Earlier than the conclusion of the 2021 season, Forsythe or Ogbuehi could have began no less than 4 video games.
Sadly, accidents occur within the NFL and based mostly on prior observe data, particularly with an additional recreation added to the schedule, there is a good probability one or each of Seattle’s beginning tackles will miss time sooner or later. The excellent news is that, if that occurs, the staff ought to really feel assured of their backup choices as short-term replacements. Ogbuehi performed the most effective soccer of his profession final December and confirmed he may maintain up towards high cross rushers comparable to Washington’s Chase Younger. As for Forsythe, the group loves his upside and if he grows up shortly throughout coaching camp and the preseason, it would not be stunning to see him leapfrog Ogbuehi as the primary swing deal with. Jones is also within the combine with previous beginning expertise at each positions. No matter how that competitors performs out, all three of these gamers will should be able to play both deal with spot within the occasion one of many starters goes down and they’re referred to as into motion.