6. Malik McDowell, DT
Malik McDowell will be a part of the defensive tackle rotation this year because he caught the eye of both Schneider and Carroll. The Seahawks traded back in the draft numerous times to get McDowell out of Michigan State. There were whispers about his desire to play for the Spartans at times last season, but considering he dealt with injuries last year and played for a sub-.500 team, those concerns might not apply to his NFL career.
McDowell will join Ahtyba Rubin, Jefferson, Jarran Reed, and others as the defensive tackles. If McDowell can show his penetrating style in snuffing out run plays in the NFL, the Seahawks defense will thrive when he’s on the field. The reason why talented rookies are so valuable is because they come with four years of team control at reasonable prices. McDowell inked a four-year, $6.9 million contract after the draft. If he is what the coaching staff thinks he is, he could be an extremely valuable member of the Seahawks defense for an Olympiad or more.
5. Shaquill Griffin, CB
Shaquill Griffin was recently hailed as the Seahawks rookie most likely to earn a starting job this season. With nominal starter DeShawn Shead likely not ready to start the season due to his torn ACL last year, the door is open for Griffin and other defensive backs to take the starting job for the Legion of Boom.
Competition for that second cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman is relatively light compared to other positions on the Seahawks roster. The main competitors are veterans Jeremy Lane and Neiko Thorpe, a nickel corner who struggled at times last year and a special teams player, respectively.
No doubt Thorpe and Lane feel the position is theirs over this young pup, and not to take anything away from them as players, but Griffin embodies the mold of defensive backs that Carroll likes: a long, rangy, aggressive corner unafraid of tackling and pushing opposing receivers around.
Judging from his college play, Griffin could already be the best option of all the would-be Boomers and could very well run away with the job. As yet another rookie in a rookie deal (three straight rookies on this list, are you seeing a pattern?), he could be up for a massive raise after his four-year, $3.2 million contract is up.