Seahawks Roster: The Wounded and the Up-and-Comers
11. Jimmy Graham (7)– By all accounts, Jimmy Graham did everything he was asked to do in Seattle’s run-heavy offense without complaints. He said all the right things about being a better blocker, gave full effort to that cause and talked openly about simply being a piece of the offensive puzzle. It’s just not a natural fit yet.
His individual strengths run contrary to the overall offensive philosophy of this team. Play-calling for Graham is forced and unnatural in Seattle. Now, coming off the dreaded patellar tendon injury suffered in December, there is a very real chance the 2016 season could be a wash.
Having said this, Graham’s talents are enormous and his competitiveness fits in perfectly with the rest of the squad. If Graham completely recovers from the knee injury, hope still exists that he can be the ultimate red zone weapon and seam-buster the Seahawks thought they were getting when trading for the athletic tight end. There is no questioning his talent. It’s on Darrell Bevell to play more to Graham’s obvious strengths.
12. Steven Hauschka (16)– Hauschka is a bona fide stud. Sometimes stats don’t tell a football player’s true story. With kickers, they tell the whole story. So here they are: Steve the Stud went 29-for-31 on field goals last year, didn’t miss any of his 16 attempts of less than 40 yards and made all six kicks from 50+ yards. Is that any good? He did have one FG and two extra points blocked because of his low-trajectory boots and thus did some approach tinkering, but you live with it when the success rate on all kicks that don’t get swatted is that damn high.
13. Kam Chancellor (5)– Let’s be honest. Last season did not start out or end well for Chancellor, sitting out the first two games over a misguided contract dispute and, when he finally returned to the team having gained nothing from the holdout, we saw tight end after tight end find success against Kam and the defense as a whole.
What people tend to forget is Minnesota taking very liberal advantage of Chancellor on the last drive of the Wildcard round playoff game that of course ended with a yipped chip shot of a game-winning field goal. Kam was beaten twice, badly, on the drive and questions about his on-field greatness must be answered in 2016.
The thinking here is that last year was last year. When Richard Sherman talks about the defense being “recommitted” this year, I can’t help but think the primary subject of that comment is Kam Chancellor. A renewed, refocused Kam in 2016’s offseason should translate to a much better player on the field this fall.
14. Frank Clark (14)– With a year of professional football workouts and tutoring under his belt, Frank Clark should be able to vastly improve upon his rookie campaign, which yielded 15 tackles, three sacks and a glimpse of his immense talent. Said to be a player that still needs to learn about being a pro in terms of year-round preparation for his occupation, the long-armed Clark shed some weight this offseason to around 257 lbs and will be asked to come off the edge a lot on passing downs from Bruce Irvin’s old spot. It seems Clark can be as disruptive as he cares to be, and we’ll see how much he wants it soon enough.
15. Jarran Reed– The Seahawks usually do not spend high draft capital on the interior defensive line, instead choosing to mine value in veteran free agents that can get the job done like Ahtyba Rubin. In April, however, the team felt so strongly about Reed that it traded up on Day Two of the draft to select him as a replacement for the departed Brandon Mebane. It was an intelligent decision.
Reed brings a pedigree of dominance against the run at the highest level of college football to the NFL and is immediately expected to contribute to the same cause with the Seahawks. To have the ability to be strong in the middle versus the run allows the team to be as exotic as it likes with its pass-rushing sub packages. Those first-and-10 stops for one yard or no yards may not be remembered or highlighted on post-game shows, but they set the stage for pass rushers and defensive backs to make the highlight-reel plays that can turn a game in your team’s favor. Reed will make plenty of those kinds of stops.
Seattle fans will love seeing at least four years of Jarran Reed’s version of an immovable object on the LOS and who knows, maybe with some pro coaching he can add pass rush to his already valuable skill set.
16. Jeremy Lane– I’m just gonna say it- Super Bowl 49 ends with blue and green confetti if Lane doesn’t get injured immediately after intercepting Tom Brady in the first quarter, allowing the phone-smashing quarterback to eviscerate Tharold Simon in much the same way the Steelers took advantage of an overwhelmed Etric Pruitt in the big game nine years prior.
While it is frustrating to see corner after corner with the physical attributes the team prefers struggle to take CB2 job opposite Sherm, it will be nice to have Lane back as a guy that can play that spot without being embarrassed, though he is best suited for slot CB position duties.
Proving himself to be the kind of tough, fast, smart and hard-working player every team covets at the cornerback position, Lane was rewarded with a handsome four-year deal to stay in Seattle and provides much-needed stability to a position in need of someone besides Sherman to consistently play at a high level.
17. Jermaine Kearse (26)– Re-signing Kearse to a modest three-year contract surprised some in Seattle but there’s no substitute for the relationship experience gathered over time between a quarterback and his receivers. Kearse is Russell Wilson’s security blanket, excelling in moving the sticks (32 of his 49 receptions in 2015 resulted in first downs) and big catches at important moments of the game.
18. Ahtyba Rubin (21)– Prior to last season, we wondered whether we’d see the Ahtyba Rubin that put together some very impressive tape early in his Cleveland career or the one that had recently seen his play decline severely, primarily because of injury. Thankfully, Seahawks fans saw a rejuvenated “Big Tuba” play consistently well in 2015. He re-signed with the team for three years this offseason and will be expected to once again make things difficult for opposing offenses in the middle on run-downs alongside new linemate Jarron Reed.
19. Deshawn Shead (47)– Until last season, Shead came off as the guy that could theoretically cover at all four positions in the defensive backfield, just not very well if the situation came to pass. However, in 2015 Shead bailed the secondary out after the cringe-worthy Cary Williams Chronicles, providing stabilizing play at the LCB, RCB and slot CB positions. Every team would like to have a swiss army knife-type player like this in the age of the restrictive gameday roster, and the Seahawks unearthed and coached up a good one here.
20. Paul Richardson– Finally healthy in his third season, Richardson’s ranking is based more on potential than proven play. He gives the offense a true deep threat, a genuine lid-lifting dimension that most of the other wide receivers do not. A Wilson-to-Richardson quick-strike bomb gives this offense the ability to score from literally anywhere on the field. P-Rich’s speed also provides the benefit of loosening up corners and safeties, revealing a soft zone underneath for guys like Baldwin, Lockett and the tight end group to exploit.
Next: 21 to 30: Rising Backups and Linemen