The Seahawks received a B-minus in ESPN's annual grades of how all 32 NFL teams did in the off-season.
The Seahawks’ team that is taking the field this week for OTAs is pretty similar in most ways to the one that walked off the field at Carolina last January.
Consider that 16 players who were full-time starters for the Seahawks last year could return in their same (or similar) roles. That’s particularly true on defense where 19 of the top 22 players on the depth chart at the end of last season return.
The one obvious and well-chronicled spot where there has been lots of change is on the offensive line, where each of the five starting positions from last season could look different this year.
But in general, the Seahawks approached this off-season as one of trying to keep as much of its core together as possible while inevitably losing a few players whose salaries it decided it couldn’t match, fill in some holes with relatively cheap free agents and then add in the draft.
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Since the Seahawks didn’t make a lot of high-profile moves, it might be expected that they won’t necessarily get eye-popping grades from those who assess the off-seasons of NFL teams.
That was the case today with ESPN’s annual off-season grades of each of the 32 NFL teams. Seattle was awarded a B-minus with ESPN’s Mike Sando writing: “The Seahawks have earned the benefit of the doubt, but their handling of the offensive line remains questionable. That was the No. 1 area for turnover this offseason, and there was no consensus Seattle made itself appreciably better at the position.”
Sando further quoted ESPN analyst Field Yates as saying the offensive line remains the big position of uncertainty.
“You always trust the process with Seattle, but will all the offensive line moving and shaking eventually catch up to this team?” Yates asked. “They have turned over all five starters since they beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl. They are moving Justin Britt to his third position when it felt like Patrick Lewis played well enough at center late last season. That being said, this team is not going away anytime soon.”
ESPN analyst and former NFL player Louis Riddick, meanwhile, was quoted saying he likes how the Seahawks are reshaping their now-Marshawn-Lynch-less backfield.
“That kid [Prosise] has nothing but huge, huge upside as a runner and a receiver,” Riddick said. “He has great feet, speed, size and catches it out of the backfield. I love the idea of him and Thomas Rawls together. They have built themselves a nice little squad at running back, which they needed to do with Marshawn Lynch not being there.”
And former NFL exec and ESPN analyst Bill Polian wondered if the Seahawks will be able to be as effective in the passing game going forward.
“To me, the big issue here is, do they continue to grow in the passing game?” Polian said. “They did last year. If they can continue that, they will be fine. Defensively, they are always good. They lost depth. They have to build it back up. Jarran Reed is a terrific addition. He will play and play well, I think, simply because he is advanced from playing in that Alabama system and is a marvelous talent. I don’t know what Brandon Browner gives them, but they know what Browner gives them, and that is more important.”
From here, those all seem to be fair assessments of the Seahawks and obvious points of interest as we get deeper into the off-season.