With the rush of free agency in the rearview mirror it is time to focus in on the NFL Draft, specifically team draft needs. In this article we look at the Seattle Seahawks draft needs for 2016 as we approach the April 28th 1st round from Chicago. The Seahawks have been quiet in terms of acquisitions in Free Agency this year and have seen an small exodus of players who hit the market, possibly a legacy of having had to pay stars such as Russell Wilson. Cap considerations resulting from these bigger contracts have meant that quality starters, Russell Okung, JR Sweezy and Brandon Mebane have gone elsewhere. GM John Schneider will need to hit early and often in the draft if the Seahawks are going to continue to be a force in the NFC West.
Having watched Russell Okung, Alvin Bailey and JR Sweezy all sign with other teams, the Seattle offensive line, already a weak spot on the roster, is going to be a focal point in the 2016 draft. As good a line coach as Tom Cable is, and as elusive as Russell Wilson can be, at some point the talent has to be there – ask Tom Brady in New England! It would be a surprise if Seattle’s top pick, 26th in the first round, isn’t used to address this area
Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ has long been the strength of the team but is in need of fortification, particularly on the edge. Re-signing Jeremy Lane was a good move but he is a player best suited to matching up on slot receivers rather than playing the outside like Richard Sherman. Investment into another tall Corner will again make the Seattle defense tough to make ‘chunk’ plays against.
GM John Schneider tried hard to re-sign DT Brandon Mebane, and with good reason. Mebane was a solidifying presence in the middle of the defensive line, particularly in the run game, where his ability to draw double teams freed up Bobby Wagner to be the play-making force that he is. It also provided greater flexibility in allowing Michael Bennett to line up in different spots on the line to create mismatches in the passing game. Investment in a run-stuffing DT would be a solid choice.
Thomas Rawls had a solid season deputising for the now retired Marshawn Lynch but it would be a surprise to see him as a true ‘feature back’ moving forward. Down the stretch last season, when Rawls was himself injured, the team began to transition to an offense built around Russell Wilson rather than their traditional power running game. While the power run is likely to remain a staple of the offense look for HC Pete Carroll and OC Darrell Bevell to invest in a RB that offers more in the passing game than Rawls as a ‘change-up’ option in passing situations.