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Phillip Sims, B.J. Daniels:
It is amazing to myself just how closely Russell Wilson's career parallels Tom Brady's first years in the NFL. At least Tom Brady was a game manager on a team with a world-class defense. He averaged 3480 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in his first four full seasons. Good numbers for sure but not elite, eye popping wow numbers because he didn't have to be the man. However Brady's numbers kept elevating and his stats kept climbing.
Wilson has seen a similar elevation as the team relied on his arm more and more with the decline of running back Marshawn Lynch and a small drop off on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson averaged 3317 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in his first three seasons with some terrific rushing numbers as well. The passing yards are very similar to what Brady put up. Last year the team needed Wilson to pass more and the end result was 4024 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns. He also rushed for 553 yards on the season. His 68.1% completion percentage last year showcase he is now on the top of his game and ready to be the 'Man'.
Wilson is a winner. That is first and foremost the most important part of breaking down his play. He has the ability to put a poor effort behind him (see the Packers playoff game last year) and he is at his best when scrambling around improvising. With the retirement of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady/Drew Brees reaching the ends of wonderful careers, the next quarterback superstar is ready to take his place as the best in the game today and that player is Russell Wilson
Marshawn 'I am here so I don't get fined' Lynch has retired after some dominating seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Injuries took him down last year however and a potential new star was discovered in undrafted running back Thomas Rawls from Central Michigan (and before that Michigan). He looks like a Lynch clone with powerful legs and a never give up attitude. He had an amazing 5.6 yards per carry last year on his 147 carries and scored four times. His heavy, powerful frame allows him to bounce off tackles and initiate the contact and he looked capable of putting up huge numbers throughout a full season. He perhaps doesn't have the elusiveness of Lynch but the rest of his game appears very similar. If he can absorb the pounding of a full NFL season, he will earn 300+ carries. This quote from Rawls says it all....
"I never run out of bounds. It's just in my makeup. It's my mentality. I think I would feel less of a person if I run out of bounds instead of going and showing toughness."
The Seahawks drafted a pair of promising running backs in C.J. Prosise from Notre Dame and Alex Collins from Arkansas. Both players have a nice skill set to have a strong NFL career although both have some blemishes. Prosise is a former receiver but has great size at 220 pounds and looked dynamic at times rushing the ball. However he fumbled 5 times last season and looks lost in pass protection. He will have to improve both of those to have a role in the NFL. Alex Collins has good size and agility but isn't a power back despite his size. He is a good back and will be in the NFL for awhile but I am not sure he is a special running back. He needs to run with more power and hit the holes better to excel at the next level. That said both are very interesting prospects though and could push for significant playing time with a good training camp.
Christine Michael was well thought of as a young Seattle Seahawks running back, left the fold and never found a home around the NFL, came back to Seattle last year and found his game. This former 2nd round pick from Texas A&M has terrific size at 220 pounds and a surprising burst when carrying the ball. He still has not scored a touchdown as an NFL player yet but he did carry the ball 39 times in the final three weeks last year for 192 yards and proved he can move the chains when called upon.
A lot has happened in the past few seasons in regards to Doug Baldwin who has gone from an OK receiving in a poor receiving stable to a great option in a better receiving stable. Baldwin works hard and performs to the best of his ability in every game.He is absolutely driven to improve and his believe in himself is obvious. He blocks well and does all the little things he can do to help the Seahawks win and he has become a legitimate star in this offense. This former undrafted receiver from Stanford has seen his numbers elevate in four straight seasons but nobody forecast the breakout stats he put up in 2015. He caught 78 passes for 1069 yards and scored a staggering 14 touchdowns on the season, finishing as the 10th best fantasy wide receiver. He has cemented his role as top receiver on the roster and will post similar numbers this season although 14 touchdowns may be a stretch.
The Seahawks drafting prowess continued to pay off last season as they stole talented Tyler Lockett from Kansas State in the draft. How this explosive, talented, dynamic player slid to round three is absolutely behind me. I knew they stole him during the Draft last year and his ability to create big plays on the field was noticeable right from the beginning of the season. He made a huge difference in special teams as a rookie and also caught 51 passes for 664 yards and scored 6 times. He gives the Seahawks a legitimate 1-2 punch at the receiver position going forward and he will only get better. There are a lot of scouts and general managers that should be embarrassed that they let this kid get out of round two. COME ON MAN!
Jeramine Kearse is another undrafted receiver that has carved out a nice career in Seattle. He put up good numbers last year, catching 49 passes for 685 yards and scored 5 times. He has decent size and agility and has the trust of Russell Wilson.
Paul Richardson is a former 2nd round pick from Colorado but the speedster has yet to find a way to have an impact at this level. Fast and thin, he has the speed to stretch the defense but some of the other attributes (strength, route running, football IQ) appears to be lacking at this time. He is still just 24-years of age and could elevate past Kearse with a great camp but that seems unlikely right now.
Nick Vannett, Cooper Helfet
The Seahawks gave up a lot to land superstar tight end Jimmy Graham last year from the New Orleans Saints but Graham never had the impact the club envisioned and he missed five games due to injury. Graham did catch 48 passes for 605 yards on the season but caught just 2 touchdowns after snatching 46 touchdown passes in his previous four years. He never looked comfortable within the offensive scheme and he and Russell Wilson seemed forced must of the year. The improved play at wide receiver also made the tight end position less important within the offense. He did catch 41 passes and scored twice in the first eight games last year but it all seems forced and honestly the offense looked way better when he went down with injury. Graham is a terrible blocker and the team needs to fit the scheme to him instead of fitting him into the scheme. Will be interesting to watch this unfold in training camp. If he finds himself within this offense, the Seahawks passing attack may be unstoppable but it is wait and see stage right now.
Luke Wilson does not have the talent of Graham but he is a good blocker, a dependable target and does everything exactly how the team asks. He is not likely to elevate past Graham but at least the team knows he can get the job done if needed.
Projected Starters: LT Bradley Sowell, LG Rees Odhiambo (rookie), C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi (rookie), RT J’Marcus Webb
Key Backups: Mark Glowinski, Garry Gilliam, Kristjan Sokoli, Terry Poole, Patrick Lewis
Honestly, the Seahawks offensive line is a mess right now in many ways. There are so many new parts, moving parts and unknown elements that I cannot accurately predict what will happen and how this will shake out. The reason they are ranked as high as 25 is simply that I have faith in their offensive line coach Tom Cable to get the job done. I do like rookies Rees Odhiambo and Germain Ifedi and injecting them into the lineup would help to jumpstart this group. There is too much uncertainty to expect more than mediocre in 2016.
Since becoming the Seahawks starting in 2011, Hauschka has been very good. He has converted 142 of 160 field goal attempts