Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase’, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! The Seattle Seahawks were one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season. After trading their long-time franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle and a 32 year old Geno Smith made a surprising run to the postseason. And with some key additions in the off-season, will Seattle keep their postseason status? Or last was season just a fluke and Seattle will get a wake up call in 2023. Here is everything you need to know about the Seattle Seahawks going into the 2023 season!
It has to be answered: Was last season a fluke?
This whole run all started with the Russell Wilson trade. The Seahawks traded their franchise player for three players (Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris) and five draft picks, two of which being first rounders. At first, it seemed like a move for Seattle to hit the ‘RESET’ button. Instead, it ending up helping them contend. Fant was a solid tight end (close to 500 yards and five touchdowns), and the draft picks turned into some really valuable pieces. Charles Cross, one of the best up and coming offensive tackles in football. Boye Mafe is a very talented pass rusher. Devon Witherspoon, drafted fifth overall this year by Seattle, was an All Pro and should be a very good cornerback. Derrick Hall, a high potential linebacker. They got such a haul for a guy like Wilson.
But the main question going into 2022 for Seattle was who was going to start at quarterback, Drew Lock of Geno Smith? A young, possibly polishing quarterback or a 31 year old with very little value. Sounded obvious. So I was someone that was pro-Lock. Best case scenario, he breaks out with a plethora of weapons of work with and the Seahawks find their next franchise guy. Or worst case scenario, he doesn’t develop and the Seahawks get a top pick to find their new quarterback. And in retrospect, the fact that this was a discussion is funny.
Geno Smith ended up having a monster season in 2022. The 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year threw for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns, just 11 interceptions, 7.5 yards per attempt and a league leading 69.8 completion percentage, while also leading Seattle to a postseason appearance. For some advanced statistics, Geno was 5th in passer rating and 6th in QBR.
In the running game, it was a turn of events for Seattle. Rashaad Penny was the RB1 going into the season—after running for 671 yards and 6 touchdowns in the final five weeks and leading the NFL in rushing yards per attempt for the season—but things changed once Penny suffered a season ending ankle injury in Week 5. This made an opening for Kenneth Walker, who emerged in just 15 games, running for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns with 4.6 yards per attempt. And if not for a monster season by Garrett Wilson, Walker would have been the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Seattle was able to let go of Penny knowing Walker is their future in the backfield.
Their receivers were exceptional. We mentioned Fant at tight end, Will Dissly had a decent head behind him. And then there is DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf totaled over 1,000 yards for the second time in three years, while also scoring six scores with just 12 yards per reception. Metcalf stockpiled a career high in receptions and close to a career high in catch percentage. But it’s safe to say his game is improved by the receiver right next to him, Tyler Lockett. Lockett just had a fourth straight 1,000 yard campaign, and also ended up in the end zone nine times. Lockett is now proving himself as one of the more consistent receivers in football, as the 30 year old (I know I’m surprised he’s that old too) had just three games below 30 yards last year. The fact that he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl for receiving in his entire career is fascinating to me; he made it in 2015 along with a 1st Team All-Pro appearance for returning!
Defensively, Seattle also had some studs. Jordyn Brooks was sixth in the NFL in tackles in 2022 with 161. In the front seven, there weren’t any amazing guys, but Uchenna Nwosu had a career season, totaling 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 26 QB hits in his first year in Seattle. Besides that, there wasn’t much going on in the front seven. But the secondary was stellar!
2022 fifth round pick Tariq Woolen burst on to the scene in his rookie campaign, as his six interceptions was tied for the most in football, while he also had 3 fumble recoveries and 16 passes defended. Quandre Diggs continued a great stretch of football, as he made his third straight Pro Bowl for his four interceptions and seven passes defended. Not to mention they had two of the more popular male figures of the last 50 years on their team, as Michael Jackson moonwalked his way to 12 passes defended, and Coby Bryant’s incredible movement started him six games. In all seriousness, this defense was amazing, ranking fourth in the NFL in forced fumbles, seventh in sacks, eight in takeaways and 10th in opponent completion percentage. This defense was dominant, and should be once again in 2023!
So despite a Wild Card loss to a much better San Francisco team, there are many reasons to believe this Seattle team will be back in the postseason. And it all starts with the NFL draft. Having Woolen and Diggs in the secondary is already one of the more dominant pairing in football. Add to that the best cornerback in the draft, Devon Witherspoon, who they took with the first round pick they got from Denver. He is a quick, very athletic defensive back who had three picks and 14 passes defended in his All Pro campaign at Illinois last year. And then when you add in the fact that Jamal Adams is going to be healthy again, there is a great chance Seattle has the BEST secondary in the NFL this upcoming season!
The other big move they made in the first round of the draft with their own pick, was drafting the best receiver in the class, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Despite not playing much time in 2022 due to a season ending hamstring injury, in 2021 he totaled 95 receptions, 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns, making him one of the more intriguing prospects in the class. If Smith-Njigba doesn’t seem to have lingering issues from the injury he suffered last year, his sped, elusiveness, deep game and his ability to create separation could be very valuable in the receiving game next to Lockett and Metcalf. And in case one of them goes down, he could be a reliable option as well.
The only move they really made in free agency was brining back Bobby Wagner. Wagner amounted a ton of success in Seattle, with six times being voted as a first team All-Pro recipient, and was also a big piece on Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’. He didn’t re-sign with them last year to try to win a championship in Los Angeles, but is coming back after things didn’t quite work out. However, Wagner still had 140 tackles in 2022, and him and Brooks could create a monster pairing in the front seven. And everybody is bickering about this offense and if they can stay up to par with their success last season, but to me, the defense is the most intriguing part. In fact, a breakout year from Boye Mafe or any pass rusher on the team, and Seattle could not only have one of the best defenses in football, but could create the ‘Legion of Boom’ again close to a decade later!
So that brings us to now. And we do have to mention Geno Smith again. Because a lot of this teams success lyes on his shoulders. Can he be the quarterback he was last season, one that awarded him over 100 million dollars over the next three years? How much longer can the 32 year old keep this up? And while I don’t think he’ll be as good as he was last year (which was a top ten QB that was the most accurate in football), I still think Geno is going to add significant value to this football team. And if this defense lives up to expectations, that won’t be an issue AT ALL!
I know everybody thinks this entire team is all on Geno Smith and his success, and don’t get wrong a lot of it does have to do with him. But with a defense, a running game, and a receiving corps that looks the way it’s looking right now, I think there are many more things to be excited about for the Seattle Seahawks going into this season. And again, I just love this defense, even after they lost their Associate Head Coach-Defense to Philadelphia. I feel they have so much potential. I would be shocked if Seattle’s not in the postseason this coming January!
Prediction: The Seahawks make the playoffs but unfortunately don’t go far. However, their defense progresses into one of the best in the league, and Kenneth Walker emerges again, this time as a top ten running back in the league.
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Twitter: Chase Coburn (@coolsportskid)
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