SEATTLE SEAHAWKS / 2013 TEAM NEEDS
Seattle’s offense hit its stride late in 2012 once it took the training wheels off of rookie QB Russell Wilson, incorporating more zone-read plays and allowing Wilson to improvise outside the pocket, where he is most dangerous. He won’t sneak up on anyone in Year Two, but Wilson, rugged RB Marshawn Lynch and johnny-on-the-spot WR Golden Tate form the nucleus of an ascending offense.
TOP 3 OFFENSIVE NEEDS
WR — The Seahawks must surround Wilson with more playmakers in the passing game. Tate and Sidney Rice were both productive in 2012, yet both can be inconsistent at times and come with durability concerns. The same holds true for Doug Baldwin, who in his second season did not come close to matching his rookie numbers.
OL — The Seahawks are rock solid at both center and left tackle, with Pro Bowlers Max Unger and Russell Okung. They should benefit from the return of 2011 first-round OLG James Carpenter — if he can stay healthy. Veterans Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini gave Seattle good mileage, and the club likes youngsters J.R. Sweezy and John Moffitt, but could add depth.
QB — GM John Schneider indicated he would field calls on backup QB Matt Flynn. If Flynn is dealt, the club would be in the market for a contingency plan behind Wilson. They could target a QB whose skills more closely match that of the mobile Wilson’s than Flynn’s.
The Seahawks’ immensely talented secondary, “the legion of boom,” highlighted the league’s No. 1 scoring defense in 2012. But there are young playmakers at every level of the defense, including rising star MLB Bobby Wagner and explosive edge rusher Bruce Irvin. With top rusher Chris Clemons tearing his ACL in the playoffs, this fast, physical “D” must find other sources of pressure.
TOP 3 DEFENSIVE NEEDS
DT — Jason Jones’ balky knee, which eventually led to an I.R. trip in December, adversely affected the Seattle “D,” which struggled to generate pass rush throughout the season. Jones, the nickel rusher, is a free agent, as is veteran Alan Branch. What’s more, the run defense lost some stoutness in the second half of 2012, illustrating the need for more big bodies up front.
OLB — Eighth-year veteran Leroy Hill, 30, is a free agent who probably won’t be back after another run-in with the law. 2011 seventh-rounder Malcolm Smith is an intriguing talent, but nothing more at this juncture. The Seahawks are always looking to add speedy, versatile second-level defenders.
DE — Clemons’ torn ACL in the postseason was a serious blow to a group whose greatest flaw, a meager pass rush, reared its ugly head in the team’s divisional-round postseason exit. Irvin showed major flashes as a part-time player in his rookie season. But with Clemons unlikely to be 100 percent by the start of 2013, Carroll’s group needs more juice off the edges.
2012 DRAFT REWIND
1st round (15): DE Bruce Irvin / West Virginia (GP/GS: 16/0)
2nd round (47) MLB Bobby Wagner / Utah State (GP/GS: 16/15)
3rd round (75): QB Russell Wilson / Wisconsin (GP/GS: 16/16)
4th round (106): RB Robert Turbin / Utah State (GP/GS: 16/0)
4th round (114): DT Jaye Howard / Florida (GP/GS: 2/0)
5th round (154): OLB Korey Toomer / Idaho (GP/GS: 0/0)
6th round (172): CB Jeremy Lane / Northwestern State (La.) (GP/GS: 13/3)
6th round (181): SS Winston Guy / Kentucky (GP/GS: 2/0)
7th round (225): OG J.R. Sweezy / North Carolina State (GP/GS: 13/3)
7th round (232): DT Greg Scruggs / Louisville (GP/GS: 11/0)
SUMMARY: Franchise QB: Check. Multiple difference-makers on “D”: Check. Jars on shelf: check. What a haul!