Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked for 11 yards by New Orleans Saints defensive end Paul Kruger (99) in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans October 30, 2016. File photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo
The Seattle Seahawks entered the offseason needing to do something to address an offensive line that was just too young, inexperienced and lacking in cohesion last year.
Seattle signed former Jacksonville Jaguars No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel and former Texans guard Oday Aboushi to infuse their young group with a bit more experience and add to competition.
"Luke is a guy who started at left tackle, was drafted at left tackle," head coach Pete Carroll said. "I'm thinking of him as that, knowing he can play left guard."
Carroll said they will start Joeckel at left tackle with the belief they can kick him inside to left guard depending on how the competition this offseason shakes out.
Aboushi will slot in at right guard. That could give Seattle the flexibility to bump Germain Ifedi - last year's first-round draft pick - out to right tackle.
The Seahawks also made an effort to improve their rushing attack with the signing of former Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
Seattle had 11 different running backs carry the ball last season due to a myriad of injuries. Lacy provides a big, power back that should give the Seahawks' backfield a little more margin for error.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider were also thrilled with their addition of safety Bradley McDougald, who can back up both safety spots for Seattle, which was an area of concern last year as both Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor missed time with injuries.
Cornerback depth remains a concern despite re-signing DeShawn Shead and Neiko Thorpe. Of interest, Carroll said the team fielded trade inquiries regarding All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and didn't dismiss the possibility after the All Pro defensive back created sideline havoc last season.
Here is a closer look at where the Seahawks are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft, at No. 26 overall.
2016 finish: 1st NFC West (10-5-1)
TOTAL OFFENSE: 357.2 (12th)
RUSHING: 99.4 (25th)
PASSING: 257.8 (10th)
TOTAL DEFENSE: 318.7 (5th)
RUSHING: 92.9 (7th)
PASSING: 225.8 (8th)
1. Cornerback: The Seahawks are still in need of additional help at cornerback after a torn ACL suffered by DeShawn Shead in the playoffs left a hole in the roster. Richard Sherman returns as Seattle's top option and Jeremy Lane can play the No. 2 role adequately. However, depth and the need for an infusion of younger talent remain issues. While Shead re-signed with Seattle on a one-year deal after being non-tendered as a restricted free agent, his injury likely makes him unavailable until close to midseason. Neiko Thorpe also re-signed on a one-year deal to give Seattle some more stability at the spot. But cornerback could be Seattle's top target in the first round of the draft.
2. Defensive tackle: Behind starters Ahtyba Rubin and Jarran Reed, Seattle is lacking sufficient depth at defensive tackle. Garrison Smith and Quinton Jefferson are both returning from knee injuries that ended their 2016 seasons. Tony McDaniel has not re-signed with the team this offseason after being a key cog in Seattle's top-ranked rush defense. While the Seahawks remain optimistic about Jefferson's potential, they could use more help to fill out their roster.
3. Wide receiver: Seattle could benefit from the addition of a receiver with size to their roster. Paul Richardson is in the last year of his rookie deal and has missed significant time with injuries in his first three seasons. Jermaine Kearse could be gone after this season as well as his contract becomes easily expendable following the season. A young, big receiving option would be a sensible addition for the short term and the future.
KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 6)
CB DeShawn Shead: Not tendered as RFA; $1.5M/1 yr, $1M guaranteed.
CB Neiko Thorpe: UFA; $3.5M/2 yrs, $600SB.
TE Luke Willson: UFA; $1.8M/1 yr, $800K SB/$1.8M guaranteed.
G Oday Aboushi: UFA Texans; $975K/1 yr, $80 SB.
LB Arthur Brown: FA; terms unknown.
CB Perrish Cox: FA; $855,000/1 yr.
LB Terence Garvin: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
G/T Luke Joeckel: UFA Jaguars; $8M/1 yr, $4.25M SB/$7M guaranteed.
RB Eddie Lacy: UFA Packers; $4.25M/1 yr, $1.5M SB/$2.865M guaranteed.
S Bradley McDougald: UFA Buccaneers; $1.8M/1 yr, $750K SB.
K Blair Walsh: FA; $1.1M/1 yr.
LB Michael Wilhoite: UFA 49ers; $1.55M/1 yr, $500K SB.
LB Brock Coyle: Not tendered as RFA/49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
K Steven Hauschka: UFA Bills; $8.85M/3 yrs, $3M SB/$4M guaranteed.
DT John Jenkins: UFA Bears; $900K/1 yr, $100 SB.
DE Damontre Moore: UFA Cowboys; $1.665M/2 yrs, $100K SB.
TE Brandon Williams: UFA Colts; $855K/1 yr, $80K SB.
NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 26 overall)
Cam Robinson, T, Alabama. It is no secret that the Seahawks' top priority over the offseason would be addressing a leaky offensive line. Robinson, the reigning Outland Award winner as the nation's top blocker, possesses the size and strength Seattle prioritizes with a skill-set that projects well to guard or tackle, wherever offensive line coach Tom Cable needs him most.
Kevin King, CB, Washington. A tall, long athlete at cornerback who played his college football in Seattle? Almost seems too obvious that he will be the pick here for the Seahawks if available.
Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?
Based on the team's current status, there are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate check out NFLDraftScout.com's full mocks and ratings.
--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX team insiders contributed to this article.