Seahawks position ranking: Where do Seattle’s position groups stack up?

RENTON — The Seahawks roster is now largely set heading into the 2022 season.

We say “largely” because Seattle made six roster moves on Wednesday the day after setting the initial 53-man roster, meaning 56 players have already been on the active roster this season.

But, while changes will continue, the bulk of the roster is now in ink.

Which means it’s also time for our annual ranking of the Seahawks’ position groups heading into the season from best to worst.

And yes, this is going to look a little different from the last decade.

1. Safety

Certainly, this had better be at the top given that Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs have two of the top seven cap hits on the team and are the most decorated players on the defense. Neither played in the preseason, but in practices, each appeared fully recovered from the injuries of last year. Adding to the strength of this group is veteran Josh Jones, who was one of the revelations of camp, emerging as a de facto third starter in three-safety sets, something the Seahawks figure to do often to try to get Adams involved closer to the line of scrimmage. Ryan Neal is also a steady jack-of-all-trades depth player.

2. Defensive line

When considering literally the “three” in the 3-4 alignment that will be the team’s base defense, the Seahawks seem set and deep with Poona Ford, Al Woods, Bryan Mone and the emerging Myles Adams at tackle and Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson at end, as well as recent waiver claim Darryl Johnson.

3. Running back

Assuming Rashaad Penny stays healthy, Ken Walker III gets healthy and the preseason improvement of DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer translates to the regular season, then the Seahawks could have one of the better RB units in the NFL. Certainly, they are going to need it to have any success this season.

4. Tight end

Seattle’s relative lack of depth at receiver may put the onus even more on tight ends Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson to be significant factors in the passing game. Parkinson is the wild card of the group, showing vast potential but needing to now turn that into consistent production in his third NFL season.

5. Specialists

If Jason Myers returns to his 2020 form — when he didn’t miss a field goal — then this may be too low, as there is little doubt that Michael Dickson will be one of the best punters in the NFL. Myers ended the preseason on a high note making 4 of 4 at Dallas.

6. Wide receiver

Here’s a tough position to rank. Seattle has one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. But after, that it’s mostly question marks. Can Dee Eskridge truly emerge as a third receiver? Can Marquise Goodwin stay healthy and produce at age 31? Can rookie Dareke Young make the leap from Division-II Lenoir-Rhyne to become a consistent factor?

7. Linebacker

Jordyn Brooks proved he can tackle last year. Now he has to prove he can be the same overall leader in the middle that Bobby Wagner was the last decade. And for all the worries about the ILB depth, the way the Seahawks may use Jamal Adams might mitigate a lot of that. The OLB corps has lots of promise but is going to need consistency from Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu and for rookie Boye Mafe to be an immediate contributor to become an elite group.

8. Returners/coverage units

This is the kind of season when the Seahawks will need to consistently have the special teams edge to win a lot. The coverage units will undoubtedly be better than they looked in the preseason — a lot of the players making mistakes in those games are now gone — and Seattle was solid a year ago. But the Seahawks may be depending on some young players more than ever. Dallas looks to again be the primary kickoff returner after a solid year in 2021. The big question is at punt returner, where Seattle could use someone to inspire a bit more fear in opponents. It looks like Eskridge could get the first shot, and he showed promise in his one game at Dallas, but for now, he remains something of an unknown.

9. Offensive line

This ranking might also seem too low if Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas can immediately translate the promise they showed in the preseason to the regular season. But the regular season is an entirely different beast, and some learning moments are to be expected. Austin Blythe should be an upgrade at center, and Phil Haynes had a solid preseason to add good depth at guard behind starters Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis.

10. Cornerback

Here’s yet another spot that on paper could be a lot better than this if some of the veterans get/stay healthy (specifically, Sidney Jones IV and Artie Burn) and the rookies (Tariq Woolen/Coby Bryant) look like vets quickly. But with the season fast approaching, who is starting where on the outside still remains in some question, which isn’t totally ideal.

11. Quarterback

Yep, this spot goes from first to last in a seeming heartbeat. Geno Smith is the QB for now as much for what the team thinks he won’t do — turn it over — as for what he will do. And Drew Lock unfortunately didn’t seem to quell his reputation as a bit too much of a risk taker in the preseason. And it’s hard to ignore the combined career records of Smith (13-21) and Lock (8-13) of 21-34. Smith is surely motivated to prove he can be a winning quarterback. But until it’s proven on the field, skepticism about what Seattle has at the most important position in the game is understandable.

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