Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart: Can the Seahawks improve their defense?

Without an NFL Draft pick until pick No. 56, the Seattle Seahawks need to hope offseason moves to the depth chart will be substantial enough to carry them into 2021. After capturing the NFC West crown with a 12-4 record, the Seahawks’ depth chart needs to take a massive step forward in pass defense while also attempting to keep Russell Wilson upright for a change.

Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart

Offense

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Alex McGough, Danny Etling

Running Back: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Alex Collins, Nick Bellore

Wide Receiver: D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Freddie Swain, Penny Hart, John Ursua, Aaron Fuller, Cody Thompson, Darvin Kidsy

Tight End: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, Luke Willson, Tyler Mabry

Offensive Tackle: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Jamarco Jones, Cedric Ogbuehi

Offensive Guard: Gabe Jackson, Kyle Fuller, Jordan Simmons, Phil Haynes

Center: Ethan Pocic, Brad Lundblade

Defense

Interior Defensive Line: Poona Ford, Al Woods, Rasheem Green, Myles Adams, Bryan Mone, Cedrick Lattimore

EDGE: Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder, L.J. Collier, Aldon Smith, Darrell Taylor, Benson Mayowa, Alton Robinson

Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Ben Burr-Kirven, Cody Barton

Cornerback: Tre Flowers, Ahkello Witherspoon, D.J. Reed, Pierre Desir, Jordan Miller, Ugo Amadi, Gavin Heslop, Damarious Randall

Safety: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Ryan Neal, Marquise Blair

Special Teams

Kicker: Jason Myers

Punter: Michael Dickson

Long Snapper: Tyler Ott

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Seahawks Depth Chart Analysis | Offense

Quarterbacks

Even if the trade request rumors are false, can you honestly blame Wilson for being unhappy? Since their last trip to the Super Bowl (2014), no team has spent less on the offensive line than Seattle. In fact, no team has re-signed fewer drafted linemen than Seattle. They haven’t signed a single drafted offensive lineman to a second contract.

Care to take a guess which QB has been sacked the most over this span? You guessed it, Russell Wilson — a staggering 275 times. The next closest is Matthew Stafford, who trails him by over 50 sacks (224). Despite all of this, Wilson still produces at an insanely high level in the face of pressure. But at a certain point, enough is enough, and these will catch up with him. 

If Wilson goes down, the recently signed Geno Smith would be next in line after re-signing with the Seahawks. Smith has backed up Wilson for the past two seasons and appeared in one game for the Seahawks in 2020, completing 4 of 5 passes for 33 yards.

Running Backs

Arguably, the most criminally underrated RB in the NFL is Chris Carson. After a brief stint in free agency, Carson re-signed with the Seahawks on a two-year, $10.4 million contract to stay on their depth chart. He posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage and exactly 9 touchdowns in 2018 and 2019. Injuries crept up with Carson last season, which limited him to 12 games where he rushed for 968 yards with 9 more touchdowns.

Rashaad Penny is finally healthy and ready for a more prominent role in 2021 should they need to limit Carson’s touches. Penny returned from a 2019 ACL tear in Week 15 last season but injured it again three games later. In that three-game stretch, he rushed 11 times for 34 yards.

Wide Receivers

The strength of the Seahawks’ depth chart is their two incredible wide receivers. 

D.K. Metcalf has the makings to become the best receiver in the NFL. A rare mix of power, size, and speed, there’s nothing he cannot do on the field, and he improved in 2020. Metcalf finished with 83 receptions on 129 targets for 1,303 yards (seventh in the league) with 10 touchdowns. So long as their defense can’t stop anyone, Metcalf will be the focal point of their passing attack to keep them in games.

Tyler Lockett cashed in during the offseason to the tune of a four-year, $69.2 million extension that includes $37 million guaranteed. With 3,076 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns over the last three years, Lockett has clearly established himself as one of the league’s most reliable receivers, especially in the red zone. 

However, last season was odd when you look at game splits. Three of Lockett’s four “good” games in 2020 either came in Arizona or against Arizona. In those three games, he recorded 36 on 43 targets for 357 yards and 6 TDs. If you add in the game against Dallas where he had 9 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown, those four games represented 45% of his receptions, 43% of his yards, and 9 of his 10 touchdowns.

With David Moore and Phillip Dorsett now on other teams, the Seahawks have an opening for their third receiver. Freddie Swaim finished with 13 receptions (21 targets) for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns across 16 regular-season games. Both John Ursua and Penny Hart signed futures contracts and could compete in camp for a spot.

Seattle could also use their first-round pick addressing the position…oh wait, never mind.

Tight Ends

With Greg Olsen retiring again, Seattle signed former Rams TE Gerald Everett to the likely starting role. Everett did post career-high marks in receptions (41), receiving yards (417), and offensive snaps (636) last season but was in a timeshare with Tyler Higbee. With 17 of his 127 career receptions going for over 20 yards, Everett has big-play ability at what is traditionally a lacking position in the NFL.

Will Dissly did not look like the same player we saw a few years back, and it is easy to see why. Dissly showed promise in his first two seasons, recording 31 receptions for 413 yards and 6 touchdowns through 10 games. However, both seasons were cut short due to two devastating injuries — a torn patellar tendon and a torn Achilles. With Everett on the roster, Dissly will see snaps primarily as an inline tight end thanks to his blocking abilities.

Offensive Tackle

Despite their offensive line woes, the Seahawks chose not to upgrade their depth chart at tackle.

Duane Brown is entering the final year of his contract, in which he’ll play at the age of 36. After missing four games in 2019, Brown didn’t miss one last season. Even at his age, Brown is playing at the highest level of any Seahawks offensive lineman. The team needs to find his successor in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Brandon Shell joined the Seahawks in 2020 as the team looked to fill the loss of Germain Ifedi at right tackle. While he played well in the first season of his two-year contract, Shell missed five games due to an ankle injury.

Suiting up for eight games while making four starts due to injuries, Cedric Ogbuehi re-signed with Seattle on a one-year, $2.3 million contract and will serve as a depth piece.

Offensive Guard

Losing both Mike Iupati and Chance Warmack, the Seahawks completed a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders for Gabe Jackson in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. The Raiders were expected to release Jackson at the start of the new year, but Seattle stepped in as they attempted to patch their offensive line. Jackson was a seven-year starter for the Raiders and will assume starting guard duties in 2021.

The lone bright spot on the Seattle offensive line last year was Damien Lewis. The 2020 rookie led the line in snaps played at 967. A third-round selection out of LSU, Lewis won the starting job despite the lack of a “traditional” offseason. He started every game, including one at center, and should start again this season.

Center

The Seahawks re-signed center Ethan Pocic after what was his best season as a pro. Pocic, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has played multiple positions in his four years in Seattle, including starting 11 games at left and right guard, but he found a home at center last year and started 14 games.

Seahawks Analysis | Defense

Interior Defensive Line

After opting out of the 2020 campaign, Al Woods was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Landing with the Seahawks in the offseason, Woods signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract as the team looks to offset the departure of Jarran Reed. Woods spent the 2019 season with the Seahawks, where he appeared in 14 games and recorded 32 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 tackles for a loss. 

Poona Ford signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks worth up to $14 million in the offseason. He logged a career-high 670 defensive snaps in 2020, which led to 40 tackles, 2 sacks, and 8 tackles for a loss.

EDGE

Acquired via a midseason trade with the Cincinnati Bengals, Carlos Dunlap racked up 5 sacks in eight games with Seattle. He was cut in the offseason to avoid his $14 million cap hit but re-signed on a two-year deal that includes $8.5 million in guaranteed money.

One of the few new faces on the Seahawks’ depth chart is Kerry Hyder. Formerly of the 49ers, Hyder signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Seahawks. Hyder took advantage of the numerous injuries to the 49ers, producing career-highs in both tackles (49) and sacks (8.5).

L.J. Collier has failed to live up to the expectations that come as a first-round draft pick. Collier has appeared in 27 games in his two seasons, recording 25 tackles, 3 sacks. 4 tackles for a loss, and 2 pass deflections. He underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery in February but will be ready for the start of camp.

Benson Mayowa signed a two-year contract worth up to $8.8 million after three seasons with the Seahawks. Mayowa finished third on the Seahawks with 6 sacks in 2021 while appearing in 13 games, making nine starts.

Linebacker

It’s hard to find any faults in Bobby Wagner’s game; he is one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He continued his high level of play in 2020, recording 138 tackles, 3 sacks, and 8 passed defensed over 16 games. This was Wagner’s fifth-straight season with more than 130 tackles, and he was named first-team All-Pro in each of those campaigns. He is the irreplaceable anchor of the Seahawks’ defensive depth chart.

As a rookie, Jordyn Brooks totaled 57 tackles and 2 passes defensed across 14 games. He was the No. 27 overall selection last year, which surprised many on draft day. He broke through into the rotation in Week 7 after seeing 14 or fewer snaps in the previous games.

After Wagner and Brooks, the Seahawks have a significant hole on their depth chart. The absence of K.J. Wright will have a significant impact on the team’s defensive capabilities. While listed as linebackers, both Ben Burr-Kirven and Cody Barton have been special-teams contributors rather than playing on the defensive side of the ball.

Cornerback

In their attempt to fix their putrid passing defense, the Seahawks added Ahkello Witherspoon to their depth chart. The 25-year-old spent his first four seasons in San Francisco before signing a one-year deal with Seattle. Playing in 11 games (four starts), Witherspoon recorded 20 tackles with 4 passes defensed and an interception. Availability will be a concern, as he has never played an entire season. 

Tre Flowers made 30 starts over his first two seasons in the NFL but was demoted to a backup role in 2020. Both subpar play and additions to the depth chart led to the move. Flowers posted 47 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and a forced fumble last year. Nevertheless, he will move back into a starting role due to the loss of Shaquill Griffin. 

After bouncing between the Jets and Ravens, Pierre Desir joined the Seahawks in the offseason. Desir started eight games last season, recording 49 tackles, a forced fumble, 8 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions (including a pick-six).

Safety

After playing through multiple injuries last season, Jamal Adams recorded 83 tackles (59 solo), 9.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in his first Seahawks season. Essentially a box safety, Adams underwent two surgeries to repair a torn labrum he suffered in Week 17.

Named to his first Pro Bowl, Quandre Diggs had an outstanding season for Seattle. He posted career-highs in passes defensed (10) and interceptions (5) to go along with 64 tackles. Like Adams, Diggs is in the final year of his contract with the Seahawks.

Marquise Blair was placed on injured reserve after going down in Week 2 with a torn ACL. He should be ready for the start of camp.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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