Who Will Breakout On The Seattle Seahawks’ 53-Man Roster?

The second edition to the three-game-long preseason has finally wrapped up, and for the Seahawks, they should be happy about it. The Russell Wilsonless Hawks went winless in their three contests and did not get to see much action from key newcomers Drew Lock and Kenneth Walker III. Despite the lackluster practice games, Pete Carroll and his coaching staff rounded out the roster and made the cuts to hit lucky number 53. The 2022 season does not give much hope to Seattle hopeful. Many around the league predict a second straight losing season. I am more optimistic for the upcoming season and believe a handful of bright spots will bring back a sense of hope for the 12s.

Geno Smith

From the words of Pete Carroll’s mouth, it was announced that Geno Smith had won the starting quarterback position. Smith has been in Seattle since 2019, backing up Wilson. He only received real playing time last year after injuries plagued Wilson’s final year in the pacific northwest. In those three starts, Smith had an impressive 700 passing yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception. Whether it was truly based on the competition or if it was the lack of Lock game film, it’s now Smith’s job to lose. He will arguably have a better supporting cast around him than Wilson did in his recent years. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett obviously return, with an intriguing two-headed monster at running back in Rashaad Penny and Walker. The offensive line is still problematic, but Smith has enough tools to prove why he was once a second-round draft pick.

Kenneth Walker III

Many thought Seattle had other areas of need heading into the draft. A running back in the second round was instead the route that Carroll decided on. After Chris Carson announced his retirement, it all makes sense. Walker, despite being drafted at a later round than expected starter Rashaad Penny, appears to have more hype around him than any Seattle back in recent history. Like Lock, Walker did not get much action in the three preseason games. After appearing in the first contest against Pittsburgh, he dealt with an apparent hernia injury that required surgery. His health for this year is undetermined, but once healthy, expect him to be just as advertised. In his last and only season at Michigan State, he had 19 total touchdowns and 1,725 total yards from scrimmage. Penny will be the main guy for the near future, but in the long term, Walker will be special.

Boye Mafe

A key attribute that has eluded Seattle defenses in recent years is the ability to get to the quarterback. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril held down the edge for most of the prime Legion of Boom era. Since then, Carroll has been searching far and wide for that kind of production. Rebuilding through the draft has, so far, not panned out. It hasn’t been due to a lack of actually drafting at the position. Malik McDowell, L.J. Collier, and a handful of later round edge threats have been thrown into the fire with no prevail. Veterans Frank Clark, Ziggy Ansah, and Jadeveon Clowney have also filtered out, but the mainstay has still yet to be found. One player that could become what Seattle has needed for years is Boye Mafe. Mafe is a gifted athlete with tremendous size, standing 6-foot-4 at 265 pounds. In the preseason, he shined, highlighted by a week one two-sack performance. He will surely filter into the always rotating edge spots with players like Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, and Alton Robinson in the mix.

Coby Bryant

I feel like all Seahawks fans, and maybe even a lot of NFL fans, in general, are aware of Coby Bryant. It might not be because of the incredible talent, which he does have, but rather because of his iconic name. Different spelling — same number. Bryant is the third rookie on this list due to the promising 2022 draft class for Seattle. The 6-foot-1 defensive back out of Cincinnati has a challenging task to live up to his name, but becoming a lockdown corner in the league could be on the horizon. Bryant fell to the Hawks in the fourth round after winning the Jim Thrope award given to the nation’s top defensive back. One thing that could be considered positive or negative in his game is based on who his counterpart was. Across the field at all times from Bryant was Amad “Sauce” Gardner, who was selected fourth overall. This meant matching up with the opposing side’s No. 2 target throughout his career. It also meant many more targets, with quarterbacks in fear of challenging the elite Gardner. Bryant figures to be the slot cornerback this year with Ugo Amadi being traded, Marquise Blair being cut, and not a whole lot of other competition to deal with. 

Cody Barton

It was hard to think about much else during the offseason for Seahawks fans. Russell Wilson was traded, and losing arguably your greatest player ever is a tough pill to swallow. Making it even more difficult was losing another team legend in the same offseason. Bobby Wagner was released and now plays for the rival L.A. Rams. Jordyn Brooks is the obvious replacement, coming off a record-breaking season where he recorded 184 total tackles. Brooks’ former No. 2 position now falls to Cody Barton, who has been patiently waiting for the more significant opportunity. Barton was drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft and has been used primarily as a special teams specialist. For a productive 2022, Seattle needs Barton to step up. The middle of the defense is the heart, and nobody embraced that more than Wagner. Replacing him is an impossible task that Barton must face.