We hit on the offense earlier, time for defense! Be sure to check our pre-draft assessments out if you haven't already. I'll be getting a bit more in depth with the different position groupings as the week goes on. Let's get started here:
Pre-Draft Proj. Starters: Jackson, Cole, Mebane, Clemons
Post-Draft Proj. Starters: Jackson, Cole, Mebane, Clemons
Well, technically we did make a few moves to better ourselves in this area -- drafting C.J. Wilson and Dexter Davis at DE, trading for DT Kevin Vickerson, and signing DT DeMarcus Granger (who has a great shot to make the team) and DE Rob Rose as free agents. Still, it doesn't look like any big additions were made in this area, and hopefully that's not going to come back and bite us. In an absolutely incredible draft, it appears this is one need (defensive end, specifically) that went unfilled by and large. Depth was brought to the table, which is great, but nothing to hang our hats on.
One person to keep your eyes on is former Oklahoma DT DeMarcus Granger. He's a big body - 6'2" 327, and he went undrafted due largely to a back injury that sidelined him from the entire 2009 season. He did see some playing time in the Sun Bowl where he assisted with 3 tackles. He had a very promising sophomore season, but serving as one of five in the DT rotation, he was quickly surpassed by freak-of-nature Gerald McCoy. No shock. If he's healthy, he could push Cole for the 1-tech job.
Pre-Draft Proj Starters: Curry - Tatupu - Hill
Post-Draft Proj Starters: Curry - Tatupu - Hill
The only person in question is Hill, but it is certainly his job to lose on the weakside. Both Will Herring and David Hawthorne will push him for playing time, but with no draftees and only two UFA signings (MLBs Kevin Dixon from Troy and Joe Pawelek from Baylor), nothing much changed here. One thing to look for as an outside chance, but fun to consider, would be WR Jameson Konz (who played linebacker for most of his college career) flexing in at the elephant backer position. No idea if he has pass rush skills, but he could just jump over the DE and bring the sack fury! Or not. Moving on.
Pre-Draft Proj Starters: CB1 Trufant - CB2 Wilson - NB Jennings - FS Babineaux - SS Adams
Post-Draft Proj Starters: CB1 Trufant - CB2 Wilson - NB W. Thurmond - FS E. Thomas - SS Babineaux/Chancellor
Whoa! Radical changes here! Let's start with the cornerbacks, because that's a bit more convoluted.
Realistically, the Seahawks have four options for three positions. We know that Trufant will be a starter, and unless Carroll and company are idiots, Josh Wilson will remain in that top three. The only problem with Wilson is that his size and speed make him a perfect nickelback. He is one of the most effective blitzing CBs that I've seen in years, and as such makes the nickel package a powerful weapon for the Seahawks. Throw in an Elephant Backer posing as a DE and you've got a legit defensive scheme that will make it hard to account for all 11 defenders. Even still, it's unlikely that Thurmond will be ready to start, so I'm calling him the Nickelback in year one, with Kelly Jennings spending his last guaranteed year in Seattle as a dime back. A very expensive dime back. With Thurmond, this group is much better. Ken Lucas was easily the worst CB last year, whereas Jennings actually stepped up towards the end of the year. I like this group.
Now, onto the safeties! Your new starting free safety is Earl Thomas. He's a playmaking freak with a nose for the ball. He is consistently what Big Play Babs is 3x a year. Take out your sharpie and write him into the starting spot. Now, as for strong safety, the Seahawks mentioned that Jordan Babineaux would be moving over to strong safety. Now, that's good and fine, and makes sense at this point. However, I think there is a very good chance that Kam Chancellor can win the starting job over Babineaux. Babs is not particularly good at anything but the occasional awesome play. His tackling was very unsure last year. If he doesn't show up in a big way in the preseason, and Chancellor does, you had better believe it'll be the Earl and Kam show.