9 storylines to follow for the Seahawks’ 2022 preseason

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The Seahawks kick off their preseason schedule 12 days from now when they visit the Steelers.

The team still has several training camp practices to get through before then, but let’s take a look ahead and examine some storylines that will be worth following during the team’s three games in August.

Drew Lock's last chance in QB1 competition

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Now that August has arrived, it’s become clear what Seattle’s plan is at quarterback this year. Unless somebody gets injured, the team won’t be adding another one to the roster in 2022. That leaves them with an as-yet unsettled battle at QB1 to replace Russell Wilson. Throughout the offseason experienced veteran Geno Smith has held the lead over the younger, more athletic Drew Lock. As recently as last week coach Pete Carroll told reporters that was still the case.

Smith should be considered the favorite to start Week 1, as we’ve maintained ever since he was re-signed a few months ago. However, Lock isn’t buried yet and if he puts on a show during these three preseason games Carroll will be hard-pressed not to roll with his 25-year old gunslinger.

Jason Myers under pressure

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Aside from Drew Lock, the one player who may be under the most pressure to perform this month is placekicker Jason Myers. His 2020 season was as solid as they get at this position, as Myers made all 24 of his field goal attempts. Last year Myers regressed in a bad way though, hitting less than 75% of his kicks.

The Seahawks recently brought in free agent kicker Brandon Aubrey for a workout, so they’re at least considering adding some competition at this spot. If Myers starts missing multiple field goals during the preseason fans should expect the team to go ahead and sign one, if nothing else but to motivate Myers to break out of his funk.

The Ken Walker show

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With Chris Carson officially out of the picture, the path forward at running back should be clear. Given his injury history and relative importance for Seattle’s run-first-more-than-ever offense, starter Rashaad Penny should effectively be kept in bubble wrap during the preseason. Penny ended last season on a superstar-level hot streak and it would be a crying shame if he got hurt before he has a chance to continue it.

Shutting down Penny should open the door for rookie Ken Walker to get as much NFL experience as he can before the real games begin. Walker should get the majority of the first-team reps so that run game coordinator Chad Morton can evaluate how far along he is and what he needs to work on. If Walker is as good as we think he is, fans should be excited about seeing a lot of work for No. 9.

KIck returner competition

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One of the position battles that has gone under the radar over the offseason is at kick returner.

Last season the team’s go-to-guy on kickoff returns was DeeJay Dallas, who totaled a respectable 764 yards on 33 attempts. On punts, Seattle most-often looked to Freddie Swain, who averaged a decent 8.6 yards on his opportunities. While we don’t have a problem with the Dallas/Swain arrangement continuing, it would be foolish not to have an honest competition at both spots.

Our favorite to win the kickoff job is rookie wide receiver Bo Melton, who averaged 25.9 yards per kick return at Rutgers. Melton has a higher ceiling than any other option and as a seventh-round pick he’s likely considered expendable enough to take over at one of the sport’s most-dangerous positions.

The development of Dee Eskridge

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Few players on the roster will be under more pressure to perform than second-year wide receiver Dee Eskridge, who did a bit of kickoff return work of his own during his last year at Western Michigan.

Whether it’s on special teams or offense, Eskridge has to find a way to make a positive impact of his snap count will likely suffer greatly during the 2022 season – putting him on the path to be a second-round bust of a pick.

Unfortunately Eskridge’s bad luck with injuries has seemingly carried over into this campaign. He has been limited at training camp with a sore hamstring.

Linebackers on alert

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On Sunday the Seahawks brought in former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster for a workout. Foster’s off-field history and injury issues make him an unlikely addition to the 90-man roster. However, the fact that they were willing to work him out speaks to the team’s lack of depth at the off-ball linebacker spots.

Cody Barton and Jordyn Brooks are inked in as the team’s starters this season. However, the picture for the rest of the depth chart is unclear at best. With Jon Rhattigan on the PUP list and Ben Burr-Kirven on IR, it makes sense for Seattle to add another veteran at this spot. The younger linebackers on the roster like Elijah Jones and Joshua Onujiogu should feel motivated to ball out as much as they can during the preseason.

The battle at right tackle

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After the quarterback competition, the most important position battle that will be settled this month as at right tackle.

Charles Cross seemed to be getting the starting left tackle gig by default, but third-round pick Abe Lucas will have to earn his place to begin his career. Lucas is competing with Jake Curhan, who has been getting the majority of the first-team reps at practice. Also in the mix is Stone Forsythe, who showed promise as a run blocker on the other side last preseason.

Vets vs. rookies at cornerback

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Perhaps the most compelling competition will take place at the two boundary cornerback positions. Last season ended with Sidney Jones on the left side and the now-gone D.J. Reed manning the RCB spot.

At the moment, it appears that Jones and fellow vet Artie Burns are the most-logical options to start outside to begin the season.

However, both are only under contract for one year and the Seahawks made a big investment in two rookies in the draft – selecting Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively.

Burns and Jones should at least get a few snaps to get acclimated, but from our perspective it makes more sense to give the majority of the work to Bryant and Woolen. This is an exceedingly difficult position to play and even the game’s best had issues his rookie year. Getting Bryant and Woolen as much playing time as possible should be the goal here, no matter how ugly it gets.

Seeking an EDGE

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Last but certainly not least, the Seahawks enter this season with a big question mark hanging over their edge rotation. Seattle cut ties with several players at this spot as the defense transitions to a base 3-4 front. Their outside options are now officially dried up, with Carlos Dunlap officially off the table to return as he’s signed with Kansas City.

That leaves defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt with the underrated Uchenna Nwosu and a bunch of promising but unproven options at this position. Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson and rookie Boye Mafe especially should have a real opportunity to make some noise and prove their worth.

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Story originally appeared on Seahawks Wire