Our too-early predictions on who comes out of the competitive fire at training camp this year.
The Seattle Seahawks have done it again! That’s the cautiously optimistic feeling around Seattle when examining Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s team-building efforts this off-season. From an influx of young and hungry draft picks (catalyzed in a major way by the trade of Russell Wilson) to the quick turnover of the previous roster. Bobby Wagner is the only remaining member of the previous, Super Bowl-winning squad!
The most significant feeling of déjà vu (excuse my French), however, comes in the form of a highly-anticipated and hotly-contested competition for snaps in this new era of Seattle Seahawks Football. Who are the real dogs that don’t care what the analysts are saying about the ‘big, bad’ Niners?? Who can help Seattle ascend to the NFC West throne once again? Do we dare hope that history repeats itself? That may be for another article altogether, but we can at least take an early look at who might win some of the starting jobs that are up in the air for the 2023 NFL Season, even before the pads come on at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, WA later this month.
Running Back Kenneth Walker III v. Zach Charbonnet (2nd-round rookie).
Does this need to be stated? Kenneth Walker III is our starter and a budding star in this league. He had over 1,000 rushing yards and 9 TDs in only 11 starts (after the injury to Rashaad Penny). 12s know he should have won OROY. Let’s remember that Penny started and got a bulk of the snaps last year before going down, so it won’t be 50/50. Zach Charbonnet is an exciting player to add to reinforce the ground game and provide an element of power as a change-up; he’ll have to take what he can get behind the explosive sophomore who was debated as the best back in his draft class (between him and Breece Hall).
Predicted Winner: Walker
Right Guard: Phil Haynes v. Anthony Bradford (4th-round rookie)
The Seattle Seahawks may have drafted a long-term answer at OG, but Haynes has semi-starting experience rotating in a platoon with Gabe Jackson last year. These two players carry many similarities, and both options were 4th-round picks in their respective NFL Drafts, but Haynes is entering his 5th year in the league. Last year was the first time Haynes has played in more than 6 games in a season, as he struggled with injuries his first two years (between appearances on Injured Reserve and the Physically Unable to Perform lists), then was a reserve in ‘21 before splitting duties in ‘22.
Big Phil was an asset in the run game (the team averaged 120 rushing yards in his 2 starts at RG and 1 at LG, for an injured Damien Lewis), but seemed to be a liability in pass pro at times. Let’s see how he does after marinating in this system for a while and finally getting a full-time role. In the event that a rookie wins the center job (more on that below), it may be most prudent to maintain continuity up front at first to get that player as much help and stability as possible. If Haynes stumbles, the powerful Anthony Bradford will get his chance. Bradford can also be an emergency OT, so he has value and flexibility here.
Predicted Winner: Haynes
Page 2: Moving over to the defense