Check out the pre-draft assessment here. Let's take a look at how things have changed. The Seahawks have added 12 new players through the draft (plus three trade acquisitions). Of those players, six were on offense, six on defense. What have our selections told us about this offense, and how much better might we have gotten? Let's take a look at the position groups that were affected:
Projected Starters Pre-Draft:
Locklear - Hamilton - Spencer - Unger - Willis
Project Starters Post-Draft:
Okung - Hamilton - Spencer - Unger - Locklear
The Seahawks went after fewer linemen than we anticipated in the draft, but did add four undrafted FAs. Okung immediately makes this line much better, as he is far and away the best fitted left tackle on the squad. Add to that the fact that he will move Locklear back to his more natural RT spot and it's a two-fer. Ray Willis is bumped from the starters, but will compete with Locklear for the RT spot. I don't see him winning the spot though, as he is not a great fit for the ZBS. He could potentially beat out Unger for the RG position, but I find that unlikely, especially if Unger takes a significant step up as 2nd year starters most often do.
OT Kyle Burkhart, C/G Jeff Byers, C Adrian Martinez, an OT Jacob Philips were also added as undrafted free agents. Of those, I would be surprised if Jeff Byers did not make the team, as he knows the system well and was very affective at USC. He doesn't figure to get any playing time for a year or two though, as is the way Gibbs likes to work.
Project Key Players, Pre-Draft: Houshmandzadeh, Branch, Butler
Projected Key Players Post-Draft: Houshmandzadeh, Golden Tate, Branch/Butler
The Wide Receiver position will again play host to the greatest competition of the Seahawks offseason. Golden Tate dramatically improves the squad, giving Jeremy Bates a sick mix of Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall's skill sets, though doubtful that he's as good at either main skills as those two. Tate's speed and elusiveness do remind me of Royal though, and he seems capable of having a breakout year early in the same mold as Royal and DeSean Jackson. His toughness and yards after catch ability have drawn comparisons to Marshall and Hines Ward. Again, I'm not saying he's as good as any of these players, we just don't know, but he could be something special.
Beyond Tate, who could get some time at Flanker but is not really disciplined enough with his route running to be a starting traditional WR, you have TJ Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch who figure to be the starters at this point in time. Branch could always be traded, but we are fooling ourselves to think that will be anytime soon. My guess is the Seahawks will try to move either Branch or Butler prior to the final round of cuts, but it's way to early to say for sure. Mike Williams could become a factor based primarily on his size and strength. Oh, and then there is...
Jameson Konz. He will make the team on special teams, and if he can actually play WR, look out. I think he'll take a few years to develop, but the kid is a specimen. Imagine Wes Welker's build on a 6'3", 230 lb frame. Again, don't see him doing much this year outside of ST, but who knows.
Projected Starters Pre-Draft: Carlson, Baker
Projected Starters Post-Draft: Carlson, Baker (McCoy)
Adding McCoy was a phenomenal move, one that I'm very excited about. Jeremy Bates loves to use tight ends, and McCoy is a rare talent in that he can catch AND block well. Increasingly the blocking tight end is become less valuable. Sando noted yesterday that the McCoy pick allows the Seahawks to be more flexible with their usage of John Carlson. In jumbo packages, look for Baker and McCoy to run in a two-TE set, which lets the team more easily disguise pass/run plays. Carlson can take a breather there or, as likely, he can slide over to wide receiver where he had a decent amount of success last year when allowed to.
I'm very excited about McCoy, and the added flexibility he allows. It is rare for a 6th round pick to make a team as anything other than a special teams player, but I think he will. I don't expect him to be a game changer by any stretch, but he'll have the chance to impact a few games.
Projected Stable Pre-Draft: Forsett, Jones, Ganther
Projected Stable Post-Draft: Forsett, Washington, White (aka, "Shake, Rattle & Roll")
Yeah! New RBs for almost nothing. I'll take it! No single offensive position group got better than the RBs, adding some low-risk, high-reward guys in Leon Washington and Lendale White. Forsett should easily beat out Julius Jones to be the main running back (serving as the "Rattle" in the nickname). Leon Washington ("Shake") steps in as an explosive, elusive guy. A home run hitter who will give the Seahawks an added threat catching the ball out of the backfield (which Forsett can also do). He will also take over kick returns (Tate will take punt return duty). Lendale White will be the "Roll" portion of the stable, serving primarily as a short yardage back who will get a few carries here and there for good measure.
The RBs have immediately become much better, going from one of the worst trios in the league last year to at least a bit above average. If Washington comes back strongly from his broken leg, and Forsett continues improving, they could be dangerous.