Offensive line: With 10 different starting offensive line combinations last year, coach Pete Carroll said improving the talent up front remains a priority this offseason. The Seahawks started early last season by drafting offensive tackle Russell Okung No. 6 overall. The Oklahoma State product only played in 10 regular-season games because of high ankle sprains on both legs, but when he played, the offensive line performed better, and by all accounts Okung is the team’s left tackle of the future. Where Seattle needs help this year is at both guard positions and right tackle. The Seahawks can shore up the center position by either re-signing free agent Chris Spencer or moving third-year pro Max Unger from guard to center, considered his best position. Others who could compete for a starting job currently on the roster include interior linemen Mike Gibson, Chris White and Lemuel Jeanpierre, and offensive tackles Stacy Andrews, Tyler Polumbus, Breno Giacomini and Will Robinson.
Quarterback: The Seahawks did not get a deal done with veteran Matt Hasselbeck before the beginning of free agency, and the two sides reportedly are far apart in negotiations. Right now, reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is the only signal-caller on the team’s roster. But Whitehurst did not have enough of an opportunity to show he’s the quarterback of the future, and Seattle might look to draft a developmental quarterback if they can’t get a deal done with Hasselbeck. The Seahawks also will consider their options via trade and free agency, with Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb, Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer and Tennessee’s Vince Young possible targets.
Defensive line: Seattle likely will look to add depth inside at defensive tackle and defensive end behind Red Bryant, who suffered a knee injury against Oakland, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. The Seahawks considered Bryant a key to the team’s success stopping the run the first part of the season. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane also could become a free agent this offseason depending on what happens with the CBA, so Seattle might need another player to pair with run stuffer Colin Cole inside if Mebane winds up with another team.
Cornerback: The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last season, tied for third-worst in the league, and allowed an average of 250 passing yards during last year’s regular season, 25th overall. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant turns 31 this year, he struggled with injuries for a second straight season in 2010 and is due to make $5.8 million in base salary this season. Seattle’s other starting corner from last season, Kelly Jennings, is a free agent this year. The Seahawks likely will look to draft a big corner that fits the team’s pressing style of defense on the outside, and look for second-year Oregon product Walter Thurmond to see more playing time in 2011.
–CB Kennard Cox: Potential ERFA; $550,000/1 yr.
–RB Leon Washington: Potential RFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown.
–DT Jay Alford: FA; terms unknown.
–TE Dominique Byrd: FA; terms unknown.
–OG Paul McQuistan: FA; terms unknown.
–TE Chris Baker (released/failed physical).
Tags: Breno Giacomini, Carson Palmer, Center Position, Charlie Whitehurst, Chris Spencer, coach pete carroll, Guard Positions, High Ankle Sprains, Jeanpierre, Kevin Kolb, Line Combinations, Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Gibson, Polumbus, Pro Max, Quarterback Of The Future, Reserve Quarterback, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, Signal Caller, Stacy Andrews
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