The Seattle Seahawks surprised everyone who doesn’t pay close attention to the team a season ago by securing a playoff spot as the NFC’s seventh seed. But what should we be looking for as the Seattle Seahawks’ OTAs commence?
2023 Seattle Seahawks OTAs Preview
Seattle won’t sneak up on anybody this season. Their impressive campaign a year ago has done nothing but raise expectations for 2023. This is especially true considering they lost Jamal Adams in Week 1 last season and drafted four players inside the top 55 picks during the NFL Draft in April.
All eyes will be on the rookies, along with getting updates on the injury rehabilitation statuses of Adams and LB Jordyn Brooks.
Addressing the Injury Elephants in the Room
People get positively nettled when they hear that a player on their favorite football team chooses to train outside the confines of the team structure or rehabilitates elsewhere during — and this couldn’t be stressed enough — voluntary team activities.
“They’re doing well. They’re making good progress, and they’ll be in here in a while,” Carroll said during the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp. “There’s no rush for them to be here because they can’t do the work yet. And they’re in really good setups where they are. So, they’re both staying pretty connected out there.”
Adams tore his quad last season, and there’s a chance he might not be ready for training camp.
“He’s working his tail off,” Seahawks GM John Schneider told reporters. “We want to be really careful with this. It’s been two years in a row now that he’s been banged up. … We want to be really careful with his progression. Training camp? I’m just not sure.”
Brooks will likely miss a chunk of the season’s start as he rehabilitates from ACL surgery he had in mid-January. His injury likely makes the team take an even more conservative approach with Adams, who the team will need playing near the line of scrimmage in 2023 the way he had in 2021 when he set a record for sacks as a defensive back.
Seahawks Rookies Could Steal the Show
Having four somewhat premium picks in the NFL Draft rarely happens. It’s even more rare to have that sort of capital as a playoff team, but the Seahawks were able to have their cake and eat it too after making the postseason despite trading their long-time franchise quarterback Russell Wilson.
It’s hard to imagine the first round going any better for Seattle in late April.
The Devon Witherspoon selection made complete sense, yet almost nobody throughout the entire draft process was able to fortune tell that selection coming to fruition. Yet the minute it happened, the world collectively sat back, smacked their forehead, and said, “Duh!”
Witherspoon may not fit the Seattle mold from a size standpoint, but the team has already commenced its coverage revolution away from the single-high Cover 3 Pete Carroll is famous for. And Witherspoon’s gnat-like qualities make him an ideal pair alongside the ball-hawking Tariq Woolen.
Adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba to complement DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett feels perfect too. The Ohio State WR is a ready-made route runner with outstanding natural separation ability because of his unbelievable short-area agility and route-running prowess. Giving Geno Smith a reliable slot option should only make him more efficient than he already was in 2022.
Derick Hall’s progression as a pass rusher will be a fascinating piece to watch as well. But his strength and length could be a weapon for Seattle on base downs while Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu handle the more pass-rushing-centric duties.
The Seahawks have never been shy about drafting running backs with premium picks, and that didn’t stop this year. While Kenneth Walker will act as the explosive weapon for Seattle, Zach Charbonnet is a solid receiver out of the backfield and a strong, consistent runner, which is something the Seattle offense struggled with a season ago.
The Seahawks’ rookies could play a significant role in the team’s successes and failures in 2023.