The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2021-22 season 7-10 but had four wins in their last six games. Normally, that would be an encouraging springboard into the coming season. Then, the offseason happened. The team cashed in by dealing Russell Wilson for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris. The deal was sweetened for Seattle when they also acquired two first-round picks, two seconds, and a fifth-rounder. No matter how you slice it, the Seahawks got a great consolation deal after Aaron Rodgers elected to stay in Green Bay and Denver felt the need to make a move.
Seattle solidified future prospects, but the consensus of losing Wilson meaning it’s a total rebuild is a mistake. Lock needed a change of scenery, Fant has had flashes of the talent that made him the 20th overall pick in 2019. Moving together to a new home is a bonus for both them and the Seahawks.
Of course, Lock being under center is still up in the air. Rumors have swirled all offseason about a potential trade for the Browns’ Baker Mayfield. However, Cleveland has kept their cards close to the vest as they await the results of Deshaun Watson‘s legal troubles. At this point, it seems that the Brownies will hold onto Mayfield as insurance. Outside of division rival San Francisco possibly releasing Jimmy Garoppolo, Seattle does not have many other options outside of Lock, Geno Smith, and Jacob Eason. Seems like a perfect time to come up with some bold predictions for 2022, doesn’t it? Dig in.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Bold Predictions.
Rashaad Penny Eclipses 1,100 Yards on the Ground
This is rushing yards only, as Penny has cinderblocks for hands. He’ll likely eclipse his career-high in catches of NINE, but given the crowded backfield in Seattle, don’t expect to see him out there in many third-and-longs. Head coach Pete Carroll has always been a fan of running the ball but gave Wilson carte blanche to take control under center. With Wilson gone, the playcalling will revolve around the guy who led the NFL in yards per attempt in 2021, as Penny banged his way to 6.3 per carry.
It’s going to be a very different look in the Pacific Northwest, but should be an effective one. While many are expecting a committee approach between Penny and a number of unprovens, he should be the guy. Chris Carson is still on the roster and is lurking, but will be relegated to a supporting role. Carroll likes the guy who wants it more, and that’s Penny. He had 749 yards rushing in 2021-22 in just 10 games (six starts) and will take the reins and run with them.
Quinton Jefferson Logs 10 Sacks
Back to where it began for the 29-year-old Jefferson, drafted by Seattle in the 5th round of 2016. In four years with the team, he put seven and a half sacks on the books. Like a fine wine, he has gotten better with age. The Pittsburgh native has had the same number of sacks since he left, in just two years between Buffalo and Las Vegas. A notorious workout machine, there is nothing to suggest he cannot continue his upward climb for another couple of years. Though he plays on the line, he is James Harrison-esque with a mean streak to get to the ball.
Jefferson will likely spend most of his time in the middle of the line, so 10 sacks could be far-fetched. However, this is a guy who hit the quarterback 16 times in 2021. Give him an inch, and he will take a mile. Jefferson should be a defensive anchor, and if they keep him out on third downs to start, they will rectify that immediately. He is due for a career year.
Tyler Lockett Catches 100 Passes (Again)
Lockett posted the most yards in his NFL career in 2021 when he caught 73 balls for 1,175 yards. His yards per catch (16.1) was by far a career-high. Yards per target came in at 11.0, also impressive. However, if you look back at the 2020 season, his value is obvious. Lockett can be the Tyreek Hill of the Seahawks and run deep routes, but his value lies over the middle. Take Wilson’s scrambling out of the equation, and Lockett’s true strength is on short routes and RAC. In 2020, he caught 100 balls on 132 targets and his 75.8 catch percentage is a career-high.
Whether it’s Lock, Smith, Eason, or Mayfield, (you name it) these are all guys who play best when they dink and dunk. With DK Metcalf drawing heavy coverage, Seattle would be wise to run Fant on go routes and leave Lockett one-on-one underneath for easy pitch-and-catches. Let the playmakers do the work. Lockett hits the 100-catch plateau again, this time also eclipsing his career-high in receiving yards (1,175).
Geno Smith Leads Seattle to a Wild Card Berth
Mayfield isn’t walking through that door. Neither is Jimmy G. On top of that, coach Carroll is so stubborn that he is probably already confident enough in what he has that he is not really looking, anyway. Even signing a journeyman backup is likely out of the question because they won’t let go of Eason. No matter in Seattle. The Seahawks will play three different quarterbacks under center this season, including borrowing the college idea of using two in the same game.
Lock will be adequate, if unspectacular before a permanent change is made to Smith. His numbers last season were encouraging and he has the legs to keep some of Wilson’s old plays in the playbook. The team will try Lock for a bit before realizing he just doesn’t fit. It’s going to hurt Fant, too, but Smith is the best option for the team. Seattle makes a big second-half run and sneaks into the wild card slot in the NFC ready to surprise some people. Perhaps flying under the radar is exactly what the Seahawks need.
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