Seahawks Preview capsule
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-7)
New faces: DE Jadeveon Clowney, G Mike Iupati, DE Ezekiel Ansah, DE L.J. Collier, WR DK Metcalf, CB Parry Nickerson, LB Cody Barton, K Jason Myers, S Marquise Blair.
Key losses: S Earl Thomas, WR Doug Baldwin, DE Frank Clark, G J.R. Sweezy, CB Justin Coleman.
Strengths: Linebacker group of Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks and rookie Cody Barton could be among best in NFL. Running back depth excellent with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Offensive line solid with four starters returning from last season and addition of Iupati. If offensive line plays up to potential, Russell Wilson could have big season throwing without being under duress.
Weaknesses: Trade of Clark leaves pass rush major concern. Suspension of Jarran Reed for six games amplified pass rush worries. Trade for Clowney along with healthy, disruptive Ansah huge key to season. Must find replacement go-to pass catcher making up for loss of retired Baldwin, whether it’s Jaron Brown, David Moore or rookie DK Metcalf. Secondary was exposed last season, meaning CBs Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers must improve. Loss of CB Coleman in free agency looms big after being primary nickel cornerback past few seasons.
Fantasy Players To Watch: WR Tyler Lockett. This season will prove if Lockett is No. 1 receiver. Without Baldwin, focus will be on Lockett and connection with Wilson. Lockett had career-high 57 catches and 10 touchdowns last season.
Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl 37-1. Over/under wins 8½.
Expectations: Unexpected playoff appearance last season raised hopes remodel of Seattle’s roster was ahead of schedule. Avoiding contract disputes with Wilson and Wagner by signing both to long-term extensions were significant wins to keep Seattle’s core together. Offense could be very good with RB combo of Carson and Penny behind experienced offensive line and Wilson playing at top of his game. Seattle has restocked depth and should be able to absorb some of natural injury attrition. Seattle isn’t ready to contend with Rams, but acquisition of Clowney — even on one-year rental — and improvement in secondary should have Seahawks in playoff contention.