By Jon Lopuch, Associate Editor Seahawks Offseason Needs We continue our team-by-team look at offseason needs with the Seahawks, who suffered through a parade of injuries to key players last year. Everyone is expected to be healthy entering 2007, but that doesn't mean they won't be busy making several moves, many of which could alter players' fantasy value.
Areas of Need: Not long ago the Seahawks boasted one of, if not the, best offensive line in the NFL, but that unit was a big disappointment last season. It started with the offseason departure of Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson to the Vikings, which forced Porkchop Womack to start at left guard and he struggled to be close to the dominant force Hutch was. All-Pro tackle Walter Jones dealt with injuries for part of the season and turned in a sub-par performance. Center Robbie Tobeck missed a good chunk of time with an injury, opening the door for Chris Spencer to come in and take his job. All this shuffling on the line has created more uncertainly than we're accustomed to seeing in Seattle. The team is going to have to take a long look at Womack and determine if he is the answer at guard. Tobeck will have to examine if he wants to return as member of the second string; if not, the Seahawks will be searching for a backup center this offseason. They will also be looking to re-sign veteran free agent guard Chris Gray before he hits the open market.
Tight end Jerramy Stevens is an unrestricted free agent and may have played his last game in the Seahawks uniform, much to the delight of the home crowd which made a habit out of booing him after every dropped passâ€”which necessitated quite a bit of booing. However, if Butterfingers is allowed to leave and drop catchable passes in another city, the Seahawks would be left with Will Heller and Ben "Another Injury Is Coming Soon" Joppru as the only tight ends on the roster since Itula Mili was cut during the playoffs. Getting a playmaker at tight end would be welcome news for both Matt Hasselbeck and fantasy owners.
On defense, the Seahawks need to address their issues in the secondary. There isn't a lot of depth at cornerback and strong safety is a question mark after Michael Boulware was benched in favor of Jordan Babineaux during the season. Plus, the team probably wants to back up Ken Hamlin with someone better than Oliver Celestin. At least we hope so.
Help is on the Way? The Seahawks are roughly $22 million under the cap entering the offseason, according to the St. Petersburg Times, so they have the flexibility to go after some free agents. Some of that money may go to Stevens if Seattle chooses to re-sign him. If they opt to go another direction, they may target an available tight end such as the oft-injured Eric Johnson, veteran Kyle Brady, or Daniel Graham.
The Hawks' quest to shore up their offensive line will probably lead them to the draft, where they can add some quality depth despite not having a pick in the first round. Players like Doug Datish, Samson Satele, and Andy Alleman all grade out as mid-round prospects, providing the Seahawks with short-term depth in the middle of the line and could develop into a start down the road.
The draft could also provide secondary help, although the lack of a first-round selection means they likely won't land anyone who will start as a rookie. Even so, adding Brandon Meriweather or Eric Weddle would be a boost to the safety position and getting Aaron Ross or Marcus McCauley, who has plenty of talent but is seeing his stock take a big hit after the Senior Bowl, could provide a similar upgrade to the depth of the cornerback corps. Free agency also could hold some answers for the team's secondary, especially with quality options like Randall Gay and Michael Lewis available for the highest bidder.
Go for the secondary I say. The OLine isnt bad by any means, it just is a bit worse than expected due to losing Hutch. At TE I wish we still had Mili, but since we don't I honestly wouldnt mind keeping Stevens. Hopefully if that happens he can limit the drops though. Getting a better backup than Morris at RB wouldnt hurt either, especially since SA is admittedly getting old. Perhaps that can wait until next year though.
Eric Johnson looks like a Seahawk type of player to me, i can just see him working in perfect as a Seahawk and lookin good in a seahawk uniform. Wouldnt mind drafting a TE either though.
I think our O-line will be ok next year with some of the rooks, this year we had like 11 differnt o-line looks.
Secondary you would think would be our number 1 concern, but i dont think it is, we will have Trufant, Jennings and Herndon at CB. Jennings stepped it up toward the end of this year and it was his rook year, he should be even better next year.
Only thing in our secondary we need to shore up is SS. Hamlin is fine at FS, we just cant go another season with Bouleware back there.
I can really see mike green taking that spot next year, he was great in preseason until he was put on IR.
Wants and Needs: The Seahawks have Pro Bowl talent at quarterback and running back and good depth at receiver, but they are lacking a playmaking tight end. With Jerramy Stevens not welcomed back after years of dropping passing and terrorizing neighbors, Seattle has Marcus Pollard atop their depth chart, which is a clear sign that help is needed at the position. The Seahawks also need to address the interior of their offensive line, which is still suffering from the loss of Steve Hutchinson last offseason. The tandem of Rob Sims at left guard and Chris Spencer at center is a good start, but the team needs to look for a right guard and some depth. The defensive line could use some help, especially at tackle, where Marcus Tubbs is trying to come back from microfracture surgery. Getting additional depth in the secondary should also be a goal this weekend.
Potential Selections: The Seahawks would be very interested in Arizona State tight end Zach Miller if he was available in the second round. If not, guys like Matt Spaeth or Clark Harris may be targets on the second day. Defensive tackle Tank Tyler would be a very good choice if Seattle chooses to address that problem in the second round. They may wait on a tackle, though, and look at guys like Quinn Pitcock and Keith Jackson in later rounds. The Seahawks offensive line problems could be softened by looking for guards such as Mansfield Wrotto, Tim Duckworth, or Mike Jones late in the draft. Depth in the secondary could also be added in the later rounds with players like Chinedum Ndukwe, Michael Coe, or Gerald Alexander.
Hopefully they can get Miller in the second. Beyond that I honestly couldn't care less who they take, since realistically none of them will be having an impact anytime soon unless the Hawks manage to somehow get this year's Colston. (But there isnt gonna be a guy like Colston this year)