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2021 Key Seahawks Position Battles

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After what seemed to be a disappointing 2020 campaign for the Seattle Seahawks, they have kept their hopes up for a more successful 2021 season. However, the Seahawks had quite an uneventful offseason with no major new signings/trades. They were able to retain some of their stars such as WR Tyler Lockett, RB Chris Carson, DE Carlos Dunlap, and P Michael Dickson. Yes, a punter can be a star…he had some incredible highlights last year.

They lost some sleeper key players such as David Moore, Carlos Hyde, and Shaquill Griffin. They were also lacking in rookies as they traded away a lot of their picks, and ended up only making 3 selections. With these limited roster moves, there won’t be a lot of competition for positions, but there are a few key positions on both sides of the ball where the Seahawks are looking for the youngsters and the veterans to step up and battle it out in camp.

Battle # 1: WR3

D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are the clear number one and two receivers on the team. They will be Russell Wilson’s go-to targets on any given passing play. However defense will be looking to double team both of these receivers, Seattle will be looking for a receiver that can win his 1v1 matchups. This battle will come down to three players, Freddie Swain, John Ursua, and D’Wayne Eskridge.

Freddie Swain is the favorite in this battle, and for good reason. He’s the only one that’s actually caught a pass from Russell Wilson, and the only one who actually has some experience playing in the NFL. However, he is a small receiver and his route running is too “free form” as described by NFL scouts. His main strength his speed and agility. He’s almost like a Darren Sproles except at receiver.

Then you have the “sleeper” out of these three, John Ursua. A seventh-round pick out of the University of Hawaii, Ursua shows a lot of promise for this position. His fundamentals are great, he has reliable hands, good route running, and good releases. But he does have one main downside, his athleticism. He is very smart and great with fundamentals but doesn’t necessarily have the speed and strength.

This could hinder his ability to get past DB’s in the NFL. Finally, you have the rookie, D’Wayne Eskridge. Seattle’s first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft (Round 2, Pick 56) is an explosive player. He has the speed and acceleration to tear up the secondary downfield making him an excellent receiver for Wilson’s “Moon Balls”.

But What Seattle really needs at this position is someone who can run the shallow routes and someone who can be a “dump-off” for Russ. This where Eskridge lacks in skill, his route running isn’t sharp and he really isn’t meant to be running slants, and crossing routes. So I think in the end, the “vet”, Swain, will win this spot due to his experience and route running abilities.

Battle # 2: CB1

After losing their top corner, Shaquill Griffin in Free Agency Seattle will be looking for a new CB1. Luckily one of their biggest signings in the offseason was a CB, Akhello Witherspoon. He shows a lot of promise as the CB1 as he can keep up with fast and shifty receivers. He also has long arms which help him break up passes. However he does not change direction well, and he will lose more 50/50 jump balls compared to other CB’s.

The other two candidates for this spot are D.J. Reed and Damarious Randall.

Reed is a bit of a hidden gem, as he was able to hold his own playing outside as CB. Like Witherspoon, he is very good at keeping up with receivers and can decipher routes better than most CB’s. However he also is undersized at 5’9, 188 lb, so he can’t really match up with bigger and stronger receivers.

Then you have Randall, who is a bit confusing. What I mean by that is that he started his career as a premier CB for the Packers. Then he was traded to Browns where he switched to his desirable position, strong safety. Then after three years at safety, he moved back to cornerback. So essentially he’s been all over the place, but for good reason. He’s got long arms and is quite quick too, making him a perfect DB, except for one thing.

He’s also lacking in the size department (I’m starting to see a trend here) and will have trouble winning the 50/50 balls. In my opinion, all three of these CB are similar in their physical and playmaking abilities, so my winner for this position is Witherspoon. He’s the most experienced at CB (recently) out of 3 and has started previously at CB for the 49ers.

SANTA CLARA, CA – JULY 29: San Francisco 49ers cornerback Akhello Witherspoon (23) warms up during San Francisco 49ers training camp at SAP Performance Facility on July 29, 2019 in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Battle #3: RB2

After having an identity crisis during the 2020 NFL season. Their options were to “Let Russ Cook” or “Ground and Pound”. If they decide to run the “Ground and Pound” offense, then having two solid RB’s is going to be key. Chris Carson is the clear-cut RB1 barring injury. So then the Seahawks will need to find a reliable RB2. They will be looking at three of their RBs in Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, and DeeJay Dallas.

Penny was promising in his first season, showing his receiving abilities and his incredible agility. But then during his second season, his injury issues became persistent. He played in only three games and did quite literally nothing in those games (11 rushes for 34 yards). So I think Penny has the highest potential but he will lose out on this role.

There is Travis Homer, an overall solid RB. His stats are not great either (25 rushes for 88 yards), but he is an overall package and RB. He can catch out of the backfield well, he’s got some speed and power, and is not afraid to take on a defender. However, he is prone to fumbling and turning the ball over, which is a big no-no for the Seahawks.

Finally, you have DeeJay Dallas, who I’ll think will win this spot. First of all, he has the best stats from last year (34 rushes for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns). He’s not as shifty as the other 2 RB’s but he is built well and is hard to bring down. He also is more consistent than the other RB’s which exactly the one the Seahawks are looking for. I also think that he will work well with Chris Carson in the backfield.

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