We’re now less than 24 hours from the start of the Seattle Seahawks‘ 2015 season. At 10:00am PST tomorrow the ‘Hawks and the St. Louis Rams will kickoff, officially starting what’s got to be the most anticipated season in Seahawks history. Will the team be as historically dominant as they have been the last two years? Are they going to the Super Bowl for the third season in a row?
With a cast of stars like Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Earl Thomas, Seahawks fans will have no shortage of familiar faces to cheer for. This is a team that relies on a pretty hard-hitting bunch at the top of the roster. But this opener will be a little different. Because this time around, the focus is going to be on a pair of rookies.
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There was perhaps no more impressive player in the preseason as wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Unless, of course, you found defensive end Frank Clark to be the premier star of the Seahawks’ season-before-the-season. Either way, we’re about to spend week one focusing on two rookies who seem to have all the makings of future stars.
Lockett was taken 69th overall in the third round of this year’s NFL draft. He checks in just shy of six feet tall, and has all the quickness and athleticism you’d expect from a smaller wide receiver. He excells at punt returning, where he’ll get plenty of looks this year. And after an explosive, invigorating preseason, Pete Carroll seems ready to use him in all kinds of situations:
"“Really, we haven’t seen anything from him where we need to restrict him and not put him outside or match him up in certain ways,” Carroll said. “We really like him all around, and he’s still developing with us. He’s still in a big process of developing the things that we can count on from him and learning him and all of that. But right now, we’re not restricting him anywhere. He’ll play in all spots in this game.”"
There will be no babying of Lockett, not even in week one. The Seahawks are really high on Lockett and don’t seem to be keen on wasting time by limiting his use in the early going, or ever. They think he is ready to shine, and so they’re going to urge him to shine right now. It’s an exciting proposition for an exciting player.
Sep 3, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (55) rushes the passer against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Then there’s Clark, a punishing DE who’s amazing football instincts and crazy athletic gifts make him a nightmare for opposing offenses. He finds his way to the ball in incredible fashion, cutting through linemen and running around opponents as if this is something anyone should be able to do. But make no mistake: Clark plays his position like a freak.
Only 22 years old, Clark was taken towards the back of this year’s second round at 63rd overall. He was booted from his college team after facing domestic violence-related charges, which caused lots of rightful concern about his makeup. Coming into the organization, Clark had an obvious uphill battle to prove he was a decent human being and a worthwhile football player. We’re in no position to pass judgement on how he’s handled the first part of that, while acknowledging that most any questions about his athletic talent have been answered.
He’s got the sacks. The stripped balls. The drive-killing tackles. The insane choppy routes. Is it too early to think about Clark as a potential rookie of the year? No, it really isn’t. Like Lockett, Clark is ready to run with his starting spot. His NFL debut should be an absolute event.
Between Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett, the Seattle Seahawks’ first game of the season could easily turn into a showcase for the team’s young talent. These two kids have the talent to be standout stars on the field, and because of this they’re going to command a lot of attention tomorrow. And given the roster that surrounds them, that’s kind of amazing.
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