|By Shawn Childs, Sunday, July 30, 2023|
2023 Seattle Seahawks Outlook
Pete Carroll has a 161-112-1 record over 17 years as a head coach, with his best success coming with the Seahawks (128-81-1 and a Super Bowl title). He went 114-63-1 over the last 11 seasons. Carroll has 11 wins and 11 losses in the postseason, with 12 trips to the playoffs.
Seattle snatched up a piece of the Rams' coaching staff by signing Shane Waldron as their offensive coordinator in 2021. He has nine years of coaching experience in the NFL, with five seasons as the passing coordinator for the Rams and Seahawks. His pro coaching career started in 2008 with New England. Waldron starts the year at age 44.
Seattle bumped to 9th in points scored (407 – 12 more than in 2021) and 13th in offensive yards. They've had a top-10 scoring offense four times over the past five seasons.
Clint Hurtt returns for his second year as their defensive coordinator after working as the Seahawks' assistant head coach and defensive line coach from 2017 to 2020. His coaching career in the NFL started in 2014 for the Bears.
Seattle had further regression on defense, leading to 25th in points allowed (401 – 35 more than in 2021) and 26th in yards allowed. They've finished 22nd or lower from 2019 to 2022 in yards allowed.
The Seahawks signed five defensive players in the offseason – DT Dre'Mont Jones, LB Bobby Wagner, S Julian Love, DT Jarran Reed, and LB Devin Bush. Jones was their big ticket item ($51.5 million over three years). They lost DT Poona Ford (BUF) and LB Cody Barton (WAS) off their defense. The only offensive player to leave town was RB Rashaad Penny (PHI).
Seattle has four selections over the first two rounds in the 2023 NFL Draft, with two going to their offense (WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Zach Charbonnet) and two to their defense (CB Deven Witherspoon and DE Derick Hall).
Smith-Njigba gets some knocks for his route running, quickness, and top-end speed by scouts, but the Seahawks saw enough in his game to invest a first-round pick on him this year. His hands grade well, along with his movements in space when the ball is in the air. Smith-Njigba produces on the field, which is all that matters in the end.
Charbonnet has the skill set to be an every-down option for Seattle. He runs with patience and the speed to shine in space. His vision in tight quarters isn't ideal, and Charbonnet takes a couple of steps to regain his top stride. His route-running and pass-protecting projects as assets, earning him a place in the Seahawks' running rotation in 2023.
Witherspoon brings a high floor in coverage with an eye for getting his hands on the ball. He controls the short areas of the field in coverage, but his long speed can't match elite wideouts. Quarterbacks can manipulate Witherspoon, leading to missed steps and some big plays. He wants to keep receivers in front of him, leading to a low catch rate and short yards per catch.
Hall would rather attack the quarterback than battle the big bodies in run support. He plays with power and plenty of punch in his movements when moving toward the line of scrimmage. His run defense needs work, with questionable vision and anticipation.
In the fourth round, the Seahawks added G Anthony Bradford and DT Cameron Young.
Bradford is a beast of a man who plays with a powerful blow after the snap in run blocking. He can be nimble for his size (6'4" and 330 lbs.), but his range is limited. Bradford can't be bullied in the pass rush.
Young has the talent to be a foundation-run defender on the interior of the Seahawks' defensive line. He controls the line of scrimmage with the ability to fill running lanes. His pass-rushing skills need work, pointing to an early down rotational player in his rookie season.
Seattle invested in D Mike Morris and C Olu Oluwatimi in the fifth round.
Morris is a developmental player with the talent to become a helpful piece in the pass rush. His game lacks fire and consistency from play to play, hindering his ability to make impact plays. Morris has another gear, but he needs to find it to reach his potential.
Oluwatimi plays with strength but limited range. His run blocking is trailing while having questions about his ability to handle power blockers. With improved technique and more experience, he has the talent to earn starting snaps.
Their final two pieces in this year's draft class were S Jerrick Reed and RB Kenny McIntosh.
Reed doesn't have the tackling ability to win at the safety position, pointing to him earning his snaps as a coverage player. His read and react skills grade well while having a high understanding of his job. He will struggle with big, physical receivers.
McIntosh has the look of a power runner based on his speed (4.62 40-yard dash), but his short areas quickness and value in the passing game paint a different profile. He runs good routes and handles himself well in pass protection. McIntosh must improve his vision and patience to earn a more significant role with Seattle.
Seattle slipped to 18th in rushing yards (2,042) with 12 rushing touchdowns while gaining 4.8 yards per rush with 18 runs over 20 yards. Despite their success, they averaged only 25.0 rushing attempts per game.
The Seahawks climbed to 10th in passing yards (4,282) with 30 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Their offensive line allowed 46 sacks with 50 completion of 20 yards or more.
LT Charles Cross made 17 starts in his rookie season after getting drafted ninth overall in 2022. His run blocking was weaker than expected, while too much pressure on the quarterback.
LG Damien Lewis showed growth in his third season in the NFL. He developed into an asset in the run game with more success slowing down the pass rush.
The center position for Seattle is in flux this year. Incoming rookie Olu Oluwatimi could be their top option, but I don't see him being above average player out of the gate.
RG Anthony Bradford is a second rookie who appears to be the best starting option in 2023. His run blocking is ahead of his pass protection.
RT Abraham Lucas comes off shoulder surgery, putting him behind schedule heading into training camp. He helped in the run game in his rookie season, but pass rushers beat him on too many plays.
This offensive line is young, with plenty of work needed to rank at the league average. Defenses will be able to rush the quarterback on the outside and potentially up the middle. Seattle has a better chance to run the ball with success.
The change at quarterback to Geno Smith ended up being a positive move for the Seahawks' offense last year. They threw the ball 57.4%, compared to 54.5% in 2021. The structure of their offense has strength at wide receiver and running back, helping them extend drives and score points.
QB Geno Smith - Solid/Safe Pick
Smith had a 13-21 record over his eight years in the NFL after getting drafted in the second round in 2013. He has more interceptions (37) than touchdowns (34). Over his first two seasons, Smith chipped in on the ground (72/366/6 and 59/238/1).
When asked to start in 2021 with Russell Wilson injured, Smith passed 702 yards with five touchdowns and one interception over four games. His completion rate (68.4) was the best of his career while gaining 7.4 yards per pass attempt. He added nine rushes for 42 yards and one score.
Smith handled himself well with the keys to the Seahawks' offense in 2022. He gained 4,748 combined yards with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 69.8% of his passes. Smith finished fifth in quarterback scoring (361.80) in four-point passing touchdowns leagues. He scored more than 25.00 fantasy points in four games, highlighted by one impact game (369 combined yards with three scores). Smith passed for 300 yards in four matchups (325/2, 320/2, 328/2, and 367/3).
Fantasy Outlook: The Seahawks rewarded him with a three-year deal worth $75 million in March. Seattle has two established top-tier wideouts, an intriguing rookie wide receiver (Jaxon Smith-Njigba), and a viable option at tight end. I'm not a fan of the Seahawks' offensive line, but Smith has the tools to repeat his success. My starting point is 4,500 combined yards with 30 scores.
QB Drew Lock - Not Draft Worthy
Over three seasons with Denver, Lock went 8-13 with 30 combined touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Teddy Bridgewater beat him out for the starting job in 2021. He battled a shoulder issue late in the season.
In his short career, his completion rate (59.3) and yards per pass attempt (6.7) ranked poorly, with some help in the run game (72/285/5). Lock gained over 300 passing yards three times in his 21 career starts.
When at his best in 2017 at Missouri, he passed for 3,964 yards over 13 starts with 44 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In his first year with Seattle, Lock didn't take a snap.
Fantasy Outlook: Another season of holding a clipboard looks to be in the cards for Lock in 2023.
Other Options: Holton Ahlers
RB Kenneth Walker III - Solid/Safe Pick
After two quiet seasons at Wake Forest (217/1,158/17 with six catches for 47 yards), Walker pushed his game higher after transferring to Michigan State. He gained 1,725 combined yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 catches in 2021. His best success came in three matchups (23/264/4, 29/233/1, and 23/197/5).
Walker did an excellent job mixing up his run cadence in his final season in college. When asked to fire up the middle, he had the vision and speed to create big plays. At the same time, he would delay his forward motion to help his blockers possibly create running lanes. On some runs, Walker has the quickness and burst to get himself out of jail in tight quarters. His willingness to retreat on a lost play and reverse direction led to some success at Michigan State, but this thought process could kill some drives in the NFL if Walker takes significant losses. He's had limited chances in the passing game, but his game may improve in this area over time. Walker did get a negative grade in his pass protection skill, pointing to an early-down role early in his career.
After a limited role over the first four games (15/58 with six catches for 14 yards) in his rookie year, Walker shined over the following five weeks (96/512/7 with six catches for 34 yards). He lost momentum from Week 10 to Week 14 (39/126/2 – 3.2 yards per rush with 11 catches for 100 yards) while missing one game with an ankle issue. His season ended with three productive outcomes (26/107, 23/133, and 29/113 with four combined catches for 17 yards).
Fantasy Outlook: Walker finished 18th in running back scoring (203.20 FPPG) in PPR formats while playing well in only half of his games. Seattle added running back depth in the offseason, inviting more competition for touches. His blocking was a liability in 2022, pointing to fewer chances on passing downs this year. On a path for 275 touches for 1,300 yards with 10 touchdowns and 20 catches. Walker ranks 15th at running back in the early draft season.
RB Zach Charbonnet - Bye Week Fill-in
Over the last two seasons at UCLA, Charbonnet played at a high level, leading to 3,014 combined yards with 27 touchdowns and 61 catches on 459 touches. He posted three impact games (22/198/1, 259 combined yards with three touchdowns and five catches, and 219 combined yards with three touchdowns and nine catches).
Fantasy Outlook: Charbonnet will get his chances this year, cutting into Kenneth Walker's touches. He comes off the board as the 39th running back in early July. Seattle will give him RB2 snaps in 2023 while being the favorite to see most of the passing down snaps. Possible 750 combined yards with short touchdowns and 40 catches
RB Kenny McIntosh - Dynasty Only
The Georgia Bulldogs gave McIntosh his best opportunity (150/829/10 with 43 catches for 504 yards and two touchdowns) in 2022. Over his three previous seasons, he gained 1,109 combined yards with eight scores and 33 catches.
Fantasy Outlook: Compared to Zach Charbonnet, McIntosh has a better rhythm and fluidness in the passing game. He'll start the year third on the depth chart while being one injury away from a piece of the Seahawks' running back rotation. I don't expect him to get drafted in many 12-team formats, but I'll keep an open mind if an opportunity emerges.
Other Options: DeeJay Dallas, Bryant Koback
Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR DK Metcalf - Solid/Safe Pick
Metcalf finished with the same number of targets (129) in his second and third years in the league, but he caught eight fewer passes in 2021 with a sharp decline in receiving yards (1,303 – 967). Over his first three years, he gained 20 yards or more on 41 of his 216 catches (19.0%), with 11 of those plays reaching the 40-yard mark. He has 29 touchdowns in his first 49 games in the NFL.
His only game with over 100 yards receiving in 2021 came in Week 3 (6/107/1). Metcalf failed to gain over 65 yards in any of his final 10 starts with a six-game swoon without a score. Over the last three months, a lingering foot issue led to him having surgery in mid-February in 2022 to remove a screw.
Last season, Metcalf set a career-high in catches (90) and targets (141) while gaining more than 1,000 yards for the second time. Seattle used him closer to the line of scrimmage, leading to 11.6 yards per catch (14.7 over his first three seasons). His best success came in four matchups (7/149, 11/90, 8/127/1, and 10/136/2), with the latter coming in the postseason. He had a floor of seven catches in seven of his 19 games played.
Fantasy Outlook: Metcalf finished 15th in wide receiver scoring (228.80) in PPR formats, the same as 2021 but below 2020 (7th). Consequently, he is the 15th wideout off the table in early drafts in the high-stakes market. Metcalf is trending toward a 100-catch receiver with 1,200 and double-digit touchdowns.
WR Tyler Lockett - Solid/Safe Pick
Despite dropping 25 targets from 2020 (132), Lockett gained over 1,000 yards for the third straight season. Seattle used him more in the deep passing game, with DK Metcalf battling a foot injury, leading to a spike in his yards per catch (16.1 – 10.5 in 2020). He finished with a career-high in yards (1,175), 20+ yard catches (22), and 40+ yard catches (7).
In 2021, he posted five impact games (4/100/2, 8/178/1, 12/142, 5/142/1, and 5/98/2) while adding help in two other contests (4/115) and 7/68/1). On his down days, Lockett scored fewer than 8.00 fantasy points in six games, giving him a boom-or-bust ride for fantasy teams.
Last season, he extended his streak with more than 1,000 yards to four years. Lockett crossed the end zone 45 times over his previous 80 games. His catch rate (73.9) has been elite over this span. He finished three impact games (9/107, 5/104/2, and 9/128/1) with seven catches or more in five matchups.
Fantasy Outlook: Over the past four seasons, Lockett ranked 13th (236.30), 8th (265.40), 16th (241.40), and 13th (239.30) in fantasy scoring in PPR formats. Despite his success, the fantasy market has been fading him in the early draft season (32nd wideout) due to the Seahawks adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba in this year's draft class. Lockett will start the year at age 30 with no sign of regression. He can be up and down due to Seattle not getting the ball to him enough in some matchups. Lockett gets open and catches the ball, pointing to another productive year – 75/1,000/7.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba - Sleeper (undervalued)
Last year at Ohio State, Smith-Njigba played in three games with empty stats (5/43 on nine targets) due to a hamstring injury. His success in 2021 (95/1,606/9 on 112) was enough to convince Seattle that he is NFL-ready. He finished that year with five explosive games (15/240/1, 9/139/1, 10/105/1, 11/127, and 15/347/3).
Fantasy Outlook: The addition of Smith-Njigba gives the Seahawks three elite wideouts, inviting more targets to the position to support their exciting new receiving option. His footwork in space and running his routes create winning windows while forcing defenders to miss tackles. Playmakers command the ball, giving Smith-Njigba a chance of 60 catches for 900 yards and five scores in his rookie campaign.
WR D'Wayne Eskridge - Low Potential
Over his final four seasons at Western Michigan, Eskridge caught 105 passes for 2,139 yards and 14 touchdowns on 195 targets. He gained 20.4 yards per catch while pushing his game forward in 2020 (34/784/8 over six games).
With defenses focusing on shutting down WR DK Metcalf, Seattle wanted to add another deep threat in the second round in 2021 to take advantage of single coverage on the outside. Eskridge brings speed to burn while creating an edge with his open-field ability. His route running needs plenty of work, suggesting a minimal role early in his career.
Eskridge caught 17 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown on 33 targets over his first two years with the Seahawks.
Fantasy Outlook: He has a lot to prove in 2023, and there won't be many balls thrown his way based on the top three wide receivers on the roster.
Other Options: Dareke Young, Cody Thompson, Cade Johnson
TE Noah Fant - Quality Backup
After delivering TE2 stats (40/562/3 on 65 targets) in his rookie season, Fant improved to 8th and 12th in tight end scoring the following two years with almost identical stats (62/673/3 and 68/670/4). He averaged 5.3 targets over his first 47 starts.
His only two impact games came in Week 6 (9/97/1) and Week 17 (6/92/1) in 2021, but Fant had eight games with 8.00 fantasy points or fewer. He gained over 100 yards twice in his rookie season (3/115/1 and 4/113/1).
In his first year in Seattle, Fant finished with 50 catches for 486 yards and four touchdowns on 63 targets (3.7 per game). He gained fewer than 50 yards in 16 of his 17 matchups, with his best outcome coming in Week 9 (5/96).
Fantasy Outlook: The Seahawks rotated in three tight ends last season. Fant won the snap count (698) over Will Dissly (569) and Colby Parkinson (488). The presence of Jaxon-Smith-Njigba will lead to fewer targets for Seattle's tight ends. Fant is young enough to improve, but he can't be fantasy relevant without more snaps and targets. At best, 60 catches for 600 yards and short scoring while ranking as a mid-tier TE3 in the early draft season.
TE Colby Parkinson - Not Draft Worthy
Over his last two seasons at Stanford, Parkinson picked up 77 combined catches for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns. His game improved in 2019 (48/589), but he posted only one touchdown compared to seven the previous year on 29 catches.
He won the top-end tight end battle in the 2020 draft class as far as height (6'7") but trailed the top options in speed (4.77 40-yard dash) and quickness.
Parkinson has the look of a jump ball specialist in one-on-one coverage, especially in the red zone. His release and route running look viable at tight end, but I don't see much damage after the catch unless he breaks a tackle or slips free after a defender blows his assignment. Parkinson offers strong hands and the ability to catch the ball at a high point.
Seattle had Parkinson on the field for 20 games over his first two seasons, leading to seven catches for 49 yards. Last year, he pushed his production to 25 catches for 322 yards and two touchdowns on 34 targets. The Seahawks gave him a bump in chances over the last three games (3/45, 5/36/1, and 2/47) in 2022.
Fantasy Outlook: Seattle rotates in three tight ends, making it difficult to start any of their options in the fantasy market. Only a flash player with a chance to improve this year.
Other Options: Will Dissly, Tyler Mabry, Noah Gindorff, Griffin Hebert
PK Jason Myers - Solid/Safe Pick
From 2018 to 2020, Myers made 80 of his 88 field goals (90.9). Unfortunately, he lost his way in 2021, leading to six missed field goals in his 23 attempts (73.9%). Last season, Myers made 34 of his 37 field goals (91.9%), upping success from long-range (29-for43). He converted 91.2% of his 307 career extra-point chances.
Fantasy Outlook: Myers was the third-best kicker last season. Seattle will move the ball and score points, giving him another chance to be a top kicker. He ranks sixth in the early draft season. The Seahawks scored 44 touchdowns with 37 field goal attempts in 2022.
Seattle - Not Draft Worthy
Seattle regressed to 30th in rushing yards allowed (2,554 yards) with 21 touchdowns. Rusher gained 4.9 yards per carry with 30.9 attempts per game.
The Seahawks jumped to 14th in passing yards allowed (3,595) with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Their defenses finished with 45 sacks.
DT Jarran Reed posted his best year with Seattle in 2018 (50 tackles and 10.5 sacks), but he only had five sacks over his last 34 games with Kansas City and Green Bay. His run defense has been a liability over the past two years. DE Dre'Mont Jones delivered 18.5 sacks over his last 42 games with the Broncos. On the downside, he doesn't project to be much help in run support. The Seahawks added a pair of defensive linemen in this year's draft. DT Cameron Young has the best chance to help clog up the middle vs. the run, while DE Mike Morris will get pass-rushing opportunities off the bench.
LB Uchenna Nwosu comes off his best season, leading to 67 tackles and 9.5 sacks. He still misses too many tackles, but he played well against the run. LB Jordyn Brooks has been a tackling machine (345) over his last 33 games. His strike comes in pass coverage while ranking highly in pass coverage. LB Bobby Wagner had a great career with Seattle over 10 seasons, resulting in more than 100 tackles each year. Last year, with the Rams at the age 32, he posted 140 tackles and a career-high six sacks. His run defense remains elite. LB Darrell Taylor delivered 16 sacks over his first 32 games with the Seahawks, but he struggled to support the run with weakness in tackles.
CB Devon Witherspoon expects to slide into the starting lineup after getting drafted in the first round this year. CB Tariq Woolen had an up-and-down rookie season. He held wideouts to a low catch rate with six interceptions, but Woolen did give up some big plays and touchdowns with weakness in his tackling. S Quandre Diggs remains a solid all-around player with help in all areas. S Jamal Adams missed 16 games in 2022 due to a quad injury. He has the talent to be one of the best players in the league at his position.
The return of Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams points to Seattle regaining some of their last value vs. the run. Their defensive line is in transition, and they have some questions at cornerback. This defense will get some sacks and turnovers, leading to a backup option in the fantasy with some matchup value.