Training camp preview

By Jared Stanger

The Seattle Seahawk 89-man roster will report to VMAC Wednesday and fans will get their first look at the group on Thursday as we begin the final step of offseason. The 2018 season is surely going to be one of the most unpredictable Seattle seasons of the last decade. These are some of the story lines that I am most curious about:

Defensive Tackle

The middle of the DL is full of question marks. Anchored by newcoming vets Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephens, but then augmented by rookie contract players like the enigmatic Jarran Reed, the intriguing Naz Jones, and a couple rookie free agents in Poona Ford and Eddy Wilson. Are ANY of these guys any good??

I’ve got a longstanding distrust of players from Alabama so I’m no fan of Jarran Reed. 30 games and 21 starts into his pro career and he’s sitting at 3.0 career sacks. Naz posted 2.0 his rookie year. And, of course, there’s more to playing DT than sacks; but there just never seems to be much disruption from Jarran. But if you want Bobby Wagner making 200 tackles, I suppose Reed can help.

I like Naz Jones. I like his backstory. I like his makeup. I like his upside. I don’t have a strong feeling that he’ll make a huge leap in year 2, but I feel like he could become something by year 3 or 4. I agree with the voters that he should out-play Reed only because I don’t expect much from Reed.

In fact, one of my sleeper picks for the 53-man roster is Eddy Wilson. That may come at the expense of an injured vet, or from out-playing Jarran.

Defensive End

This is the biggest question mark position for me. Frank Clark is now your veteran presence entering his 4th season, and he’s always a wildcard simply for his personality. Dion Jordan: question mark for his knee health. Branden Jacksen: question mark because you aren’t completely sure he is still on the team. Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green: question marks for being rookies.

That is literally the entirety of the players listed at DE. Now, guys like Marcus Smith and Barkevious Mingo can (and almost certainly will) play some DE, but they are listed as LB.

I’m on record that I have next to no faith that Green will make it in the league. Certainly I think it will take him a while. I have more faith in Martin longterm, but I’m not sure he gets much more than special teams this year. I will be watching closely to see if either are cracking the first team DL.

Running Back

Hopefully this will be an exciting group to watch. Lots of tough runners. Lots of solid pass-catchers. Chris Carson feels like the favorite to lead in carries early on, but Rashaad Penny was a first round pick and seems the more durable player. Mike Davis is still a personal favorite and I think deserves a long look as a 3rd down option. JD McKissic is the outlier due to his size (or lack-of), but doesn’t really carry any special athleticism/speed to compensate. CJ Prosise is easily an afterthought to me…I can’t trust him to open the mail for fear of a DL-inducing papercut, let alone trust him to carry the mail as a RB.

Making a prediction this early on a RB1 is a bit foolhardy, as someone will go down in preseason, but I think the poll results are fair.


Or is THIS the biggest position question mark??? Shit.

Sadly, I think we know more answers here but we just hate what they are. Kam and Earl are likely gone. Your starting safety tandem is quite probably Bradley McDougald and Delano Hill.

I’m not on board with the results of this poll. Not to the extreme that they came out to be. Lano was a very good college player from one of Pete and John’s favorite college coaches. And keep in mind…Lano runs a 4.47s verified combine forty while McDougald runs a 4.51s pro day hand-time.

Tight End

Perhaps the primary question about the tight end group isn’t even “who?” but “what?” As in, in the post-Jimmy era; WHAT does the expectation of the tight end position look like?? Because there are certain potential expectations that make the poll results, and an idea of Will Dissly being a strong early contributor, totally plausible.

Ed Dickson seems a safe play. Kinda like both of the free agent DT signings. Don’t expect much but then over-deliver.

Vannett…I don’t know what that story is. It’s really strange, though.

Wide Receiver

More question marks. But kind of more in a fun way. Vets, rookies, trade acquisitions, free agent acquisitions, big guys, little guys…

But really it’s a bunch of inexperienced guys. After Brandon Marshall, Doug Baldwin, and Tyler Lockett there are zero guys with over 100 career catches. 8 of 12 WR on the roster have under 20 career catches. 5 of 12 WR have zero career catches. If we’re trying to predict those 4th, 5th, 6th WR spots we’re doing it based off of college or preseason tape.

I like Tyler Lockett to have a big year. I like Stringfellow to make the team. If either of Darboh or Moore make the team, I tend to agree with the poll results that it will be Moore.


I think it’s worth watching the 2018 free agent signings. If any aren’t carrying their weight; they can be cut within a few weeks of the regular season and not count toward the compensatory draftpick formula. I expect this will happen to a few.

Even with Mike Solari installed as the new OL coach; I don’t think the team is evaluating OL well. If they aren’t digging hard at finding a different right tackle; we’re in trouble.

CB2 is kind of precarious. We’re expecting Byron Maxwell, at age 30, to be passable. Or not passable. What is it we want in corners? Elliott is still recovering from an injury, I think Dontae Johnson is injured, Mike Tyson is a CB in name only…the season may pivot on whether or not Tre Flowers can learn, and win, a CB spot by midpoint of the season.

For the first time maybe ever the back field of VMAC may become appointment viewing at training camp as fans clamor to get their first in-person look at rookie punter Michael Dickson.

2019 Draft Defensive Ends

By Jared Stanger

Four days away from the opening of Seahawks’ training camp and less than three weeks from the first preseason game, as well as a month from the opening of the college season, so it’s time to start digging into the 2019 draft. I’m beginning with one of the positions the Seahawks are most-likely to need to be looking at for an early draftpick: Defensive End.

My early study is telling me that most of the early “top 10 DE” lists are missing something…the right players. I struggle to see whatever the national media is seeing in guys like Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Zach Allen. I’m not going to sit here and dissect how/why I don’t like those. What I’m going to do instead is show you the guys that I do like.

Brian Burns, 6’5″/227lbs, FSU

A 2018 Junior; Burns has a year or two to add some weight to his super long frame. Guys like Vic Beasley have made it work at about 245lbs. Burns will also be challenged as the #1 DE for the Seminoles with Josh Sweat moved on to the NFL. Burns is coming off a 4.5 sack season, but posted 9.5 sacks as a freshman.

Anthony Nelson, 6’7″/260lbs, Iowa

Another Junior; Nelson has a Ryan Kerrigan vibe in his size and hand usage. Posting 13.5 sacks across his first two seasons, I really like what Nelson is showing on tape.

Jaylon Ferguson, 6’5″/269lbs, LaTech

Ferguson has been a hugely productive passrusher in the C-USA for three years with 7.0 sacks in 2017 after a career high of 14.5 sacks in 2016.

Jamal Davis, 6’4″/235lbs, Akron

Davis is a bit of a wildcard after only 2.0 sacks last year. But I like the athleticism.

Jalen Jelks, 6’6″/245lbs, Oregon

Jelks posted 6.5 sacks last year playing out of position at DT, and/or 4-tech. It’s actually impressive when you watch the tape, but then look at his weight. Jelks looks like a guy that could explode if given a shot to rush all the time at a more natural position as DE or rush LB.

Nick Bosa, 6’4″/270lbs, Ohio State

Bosa is the one guy from the preseason DE lists that I can’t argue against. Outside of an injury; it’s tough to see Bosa not becoming a top 5 draftpick if he declares after his Junior year.

Joe Jackson, 6’5″/258lbs, Miami

Probably the strongest DE I looked at. Jackson is coming off a 6.5 sack season.

Add this group of players to the list of potential vet free agent DE’s that are coming; Seattle could potential shore up their shallow passrushing in a single offseason.

Plus Preston Smith and Jadeveon Clowney.