By Jared Stanger
Seahawks’ training camp is now less than a week away, so let’s take a look at some of the interesting storylines to watch in the first installment of ‘Seahawk Superlatives’.
2nd-year Player Most Likely to take Huge Step Forward?
I’ll give you one on offense and one on defense.
Mark Glowinski. The physically-strongest OL on the team, whose lone start last year yielded a blowout win over Arizona, and whom the team believes so strongly in they are not only giving him a shot at starting, but they’re bumping him up from RG to LG. Mark could be the (G)lowkey single-most revelatory and difference-making change from the 2015 roster to now.
Tye Smith. I believed in his college tape. I believed in his 2015 preseason tape. I believe Pete and John when they rave about how Tye has improved his body since the 2015 season ended. I believe Tye will become our nickel package boundary corner opposite Sherm before week 6, and not look back.
I think these two will take the biggest step(s) forward as they’ve started further back. Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark can take steps forward, but just smaller relative to where they finished last year.
UDFA Most Likely to Win a Roster Spot?
In 2015, it was Thomas Rawls. In 2014, Garry Gilliam and Brock Coyle. In 2013, Alvin Bailey. In 2012, it was Jermaine Kearse and Deshawn Shead. And in 2011, Seattle signed 19 UDFA which eventually filtered down to Doug Baldwin, Jeron Johnson, Mike Morgan, and Ricardo Lockette.
(Technically, Trevone Boykin is pretty much on the roster as things stand today. So let’s take a second, and maybe a third name.)
I suspect that David Perkins makes it. He’s just too interesting a skillset at such a commodity position. You cut him to try to get him to the practice squad and you all but guarantee he’s gone. If teams wanted Benson Mayowa, they will certainly want Perkins.
If there is a third name, I wouldn’t be shocked if it turns out to be Montese Overton. Nor would I be surprised if Overton becomes a starter from this UDFA class before any of the others. Boykin is blocked by Russell. Perkins would be maybe 4th-5th DE on the roster with top 3 all returning in 2017. But Overton could make the team now as a backup SAM/OTTO with special teams duties…play that role for a year…and then in 2017 (as Mike Morgan hits UFA) Montese becomes the starter.
Most Likely to Succeed at Frustrating Us/Me All Camp?
Most Likely to Earn his Rightful Starting Job Back in Week 4?
Patrick Lewis. I have such high optimism for this entire team heading into this season. I’m even more-optimistic about the OL than many. But it is my firm belief that, as of the close of mini-camp, the team is wasting time and delaying the inevitable by their choice of starting center. And the only reason I currently see why they are doing it is because Lewis is UFA after this year, and they may want to try to find a Center with more club control.
Lewis deserves a shot at keeping the job he solidified midseason last year, which helped turn the season from a .500 record to a playoff team.
Most Likely to be a Surprise Cut/Keep?
I think these are two questions, and they will be related…the surprise keep will beget the surprise cut (and vice versa). I think both will come from the same position group. And I think it will be the position that may be the deepest on the team this year: Cornerback.
When you have great depth at a position, someone talented is going to be cut. So it becomes a question of whom?
Tharold Simon would be a possibility due to his injury history. Plus, the team has a similar body type with better athleticism in Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Simon will be UFA after this year…SJB will be ERFA. That may factor in.
Or, converse to “two guys on the team that are too similar”, if you believe in strict roster mirroring, the cut could be the guy on the roster at CB that DOESN’T have a “twin”: Marcus Burley.
Assuming Lane is CB2 and he moves inside to slot for nickel, and the other boundary corner in nickel is long like Sherm, then Burley is currently on the bench. Do they want the backup to the 6’0″/190 lb Jeremy Lane to be the 5’11″/185 lb Burley? Or do they like the idea of, say, a Trovon Reed at 6’0″/191 lbs? The other strike going against Burley are his short, sub-32″ arms (which has historically been a very firm benchmark for all PCJS corner draftpicks).
I have a weird hunch about Trovon. As former college WR’s, both Reed and George Farmer share that commonality with Sherman. Might be a thing.
Most Likely to look REALLY Good in Preseason, but Still be On the Bench All Year?
(It’s the de facto Tye Smith award…)
Rees Odhiambo. Rees kinda stands as an odd draftpick at this point. They pick him pretty high (3rd round…and often you’re looking for immediate starters in the first 3 rounds), but then bury him behind two vet free agent OT’s, two 3rd-year incumbent starters, a first round pick, and the O-lineman that the team might see most upside with for this year.
My guess is Rees gets an active redshirt for a year, and then they reassess in 2017. By then, Webb may be relegated to bench/swing OL, Ifedi kicks out to RT, Rees plugs in at RG. Or, the more interesting idea, they spend Rees’ redshirt year teaching him to play Center.
Pretty much all last year I was looking for Seattle to draft a college tackle and convert him to Center (maybe Joe Dahl, maybe Cody Whitehair, maybe Connor McGovern, etc). At one point pre-draft Josh Norris suggested to me Odhiambo. I still think that idea holds some intrigue.
Most Likely to ‘Wally Pipp’ an Increased Role?
It has to come from one of the two positions where the incumbent starter may not be ready until preseason games or even week 1 regular season: Tightend/Running Back.
Running back will be missing Rawls for some time, but with 3 new RB just drafted (plus returner Christine Michael), the RB spot has more competition and more ability to split reps.
I think I’m going with TE Nick Vannett. Not only is Jimmy going to need time to make it back, but Luke Willson is also an impending free agent. It behooves the team to see what they have in Vannett. And what they have is a pretty well-rounded player at the position.
Whether Vannett becomes the Y opposite of Jimmy (if healthy) or Luke (if Jimmy not healthy), or whether Nick earns the right to some reps as 1st-team TE on his own; I think Vannett could be this year’s Lockett.
Most Likely to be Given an “Injury” Redshirt?
Kenny Lawler. I mean, it’s kinda already started. He’s missed some time in rookie and/or mini-camp. And the WR room is very solid, and has no turnover coming. Literally no UFA or RFA from WR group in 2017 (there are 6 WR that will be ERFA, but those are easy to keep, if desired), so Lawler could potentially not be needed until 2018.
Percy Harvin Memorial Hip Dysplasia Player of the Year 2016 (& 2017)?
CJ Prosise. It pains me to say, but…I worry about Prosise’s durability. Fortunately, I think we’ll get a healthy season from 2014-2015 PHMHDPOTY winner Paul Richardson this year.
Most Likely to be the End of an Era?
Chris Clemons. My sense is that Clem was brought in as a player-coach kinda vibe to help mentor Clark and the other young DE’s, but that he won’t make it to the 53 (similar to Antoine Winfield a few years back). On Schneider’s ever-updating 3-year plan, it’s tough to picture keeping a 34-year-old Clem on a 1-year deal over a 23-year-old Perkins with 3 years of team control. Especially when Clem probably can’t play special teams.
Brandon Cottom. It is my understanding that Cottom has already been informed the starting FB job is his. And I’m VERY happy about the choice.
Whereas Derrick Coleman was 5’11″/230 with 4.50 speed, and Will Tukuafu tested out of Oregon at 6’3″/266 with 5.00 speed (later to play listed at 280 lbs); Cottom is kind of the “just right” middle ground between last year’s FB platoon; coming in at 6’2″/262 lbs, with a 4.62 forty time. As another reference point, the top FB at this year’s combine, Dan Vitale, ran a 4.60 forty at 239 lbs, and NONE of this year’s TE’s ran under 4.64.
I think this is easily Jarran Reed out of the gate.
- He’s got a direct path to snaps playing in Brandon Mebane’s vacated spot
- He’s an early-round pick from one of the best schools, with THEE best run defense
- He’s already shown pretty remarkable talent in mini-camp
(This may be less a training camp prediction than it is a regular season prediction, but…)
Richard Sherman. With improved depth at CB in 2016, QB’s will be forced more often into testing Sherman’s side of the field…and they will fail that test. Sherm’s INT numbers spike back up, and he will again be statistically-provable best CB in the league.
Most Valuable Camper?
I mean, it’s Russell. And it may not be the last time this year “most” and “valuable” are used in the same sentence with his name. All of the reports from pretty much everyone that has been at VMAC this year are that Russell is taking a step forward. With no more Beastmode this is his team, and he’s risen to that challenge.