2013 Team Needs: Seattle Seahawks
They entered the playoffs in rampant form once they decided Russell Wilson was more than good enough to handle a full playbook. Now the scary thing for their opponents is they’ll come back with more experience, more development under their belt, and with even more belief.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re a complete roster by any stretch, so let’s take a look at some guys who could improve things. Meanwhile, you can see a complete list of the team’s own free agents here.
With Alan Branch unable to replicate his excellent 2011 season, and scheduled to hit free agency, there’s a fair chance that while the Seahawks won’t necessarily let him walk, they will look for an upgrade. Branch has never really excelled at getting to the quarterback and it was an area the team struggled with in base situations, failing to get pressure up the gut.
Brandon Mebane will be back in his role as a zero-technique trying to disrupt the opposition running game, but who do the Seahawks pair with him? Clinton McDonald is the only recognized interior lineman on the roster to see a substantial amount of snaps in their base package and he, while solid depth, rarely excites.
Free Agent Fix: Desmond Bryant
A big name like Henry Melton or even Richard Seymour might excite, but their costs will likely be prohibitive and it’s hard to see Melton making it past the franchise tag. Now, how about Bryant? Well, a Raiders team that can’t be competitive in the contract market might just lose one of their breakout stars from 2012. A versatile talent capable of lining up across the defensive line, he could start at defensive tackle or switch (in a pinch) to defensive end if Red Bryant can’t rediscover his form of a year ago.
What the Seahawks would be getting is a player who ranked sixth in our defensive tackle grading for 2012, thanks in large part to his ability to get to the quarterback (he had 15 combined sacks and hits). He’s no slouch in run defense either, as he tallied 16 defensive stops in that department, and could provide a much needed injection of explosion into this interior.
There were times in 2012 when Breno Giacomini held his own. However, the 12 penalties he surrendered, along with a rough first half of the year, mean at the very least the Seahawks are going to want to bring in some competition for him.
Now they may look internally, hoping that James Carpenter can become the player he was drafted to be. However, keep in mind that injuries have already taken a toll on him, and his rookie year in 2011 provided enough tape to suggest placing faith in him is too much of a leap at this stage. They may not want to invest heavily, but there is talent out there.
Free Agent Fix: Ryan Harris
There’s a lot to like about Ryan Harris (+6.3). He’s young (27) and has excelled in the same run blocking scheme the Seahawks employ (in his 2008 year with the Broncos he earned a +17.4 grade). There’s not a lot of wear on his tires and he’s coming off a good year as part of a right tackle rotation in Houston.
That rotation is likely to keep him off the radar for several teams, while his injury history will also lower the price somewhat. The bottom line is Harris, a former third-round pick, is a good player. He’s excelled in zone blocking schemes and he would create an interesting positional battle in Seattle.
With a late-season injury, who can tell if Chris Clemons will be back, and, even if he is, what kind of shape that will leave him in. He was responsible for 59 quarterback disruptions (including the postseason) and at 31 there’s a feeling Seattle may want to look more long-term at the spot.
Now, while Bruce Irvin may be that long-term answer, the raw prospect gave us all a glimpse at what fate could befall the Seahawks with him seeing extended time in their base defense. Tentative, hesitant and a total non-factor in the run game, when he’s put in situations where the offense is just as likely to run as it is to pass, he looks a shell of the player who made such a positive impression in the Seahawks’ nickel and dime defenses.
Can they risk teams running at him week in and week out? Not with so much on the line.
Free Agent Fix: Juqua Parker
If the Seahawks want to invest big money they might want to look at Anthony Spencer or Michael Johnson. If they want a stop-gap while Irvin develops, then they need look no further than the always productive Juqua Parker.
Sure he’s 34, but he’s coming off a year where he was a big part of the Browns’ rotation. In fact, his 44 combined sacks, hits and hurries on 365 pass rushes gave him a Pass Rushing Productivity score of 9.5 (Clemons was at 9.6, one spot up). He may not fit in with the long-term objectives of the franchise, but there’s no point denying it — the moves Seattle has made in the draft and free agency in recent years has put them in ‘win now’ mode, with a window you can foresee being open for quite some time.
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