With the offseason in full swing, I wanted to take a look at the roster and who has something to prove next season. Of course, to a certain degree, all players have something to prove… However, I’m talking a step above the rest, guys that have genuine chips for whatever reason. It may be proving their worth, removing injury labels or whatever the case may be.
Looking over the roster, I was surprised how many names I came up with when drafting this article, however decided to reduce that to the top 7 players who, in my opinion, have the most to prove next season. Enjoy…
C.J. will be entering his third season in a Seahawks uniform. A season that often sends players into a whole different stratosphere in terms of everything just ‘clicking’. However, a big part of that reason is most players have seen thirty plus games in the first two seasons. They’re comfortable with the playbook, their surroundings, and everything starts to become a bit more natural. Prosise has played a total of 11 games in those two years… 11.
When he’s on the field and healthy, he’s a genuine tilt the field type talent. A genuine difference maker. But as the ol’ saying goes – “the best players are the ones available on game day’ and C.J. has yet to show he can be dependable in any way, shape or form to date. He has a lot to prove. A genuine dual threat running back, when on the field, you won’t see safeties dropping into the box, you’ll see them slide back adjusting their zones, he possesses legit speed and catching ability and defensive coordinators absolutely have to account for him at all times.
It’s a real shame we haven’t truly been able to see where his ceiling lies on this roster, but he needs to start showing it, and fast. It doesn’t make financial sense to lose him this training camp, but no coach has ever cut a player, the player has cut themselves, and that’s exactly where Prosise is heading if he does not prove he can possess the durability needed for a full NFL season. Hell, I’d even take 12 games of availability from him at this point.
Duane Brown never really got to show what he was made of last season. In his second game as a Hawk he suffered an injury that, while didn’t require him to miss any games, certainly took its toll on his efficiency, speed and productivity on the field. He simply didn’t look like the same player and I’m not sure how much I buy into that being on Tom Cable’s head, I’d say it played a small part, however the biggest reason for the somewhat underperforming finish to his season was, at large, due to the injury.
I’m expecting big things out of Brown this year. He is potentially going to be in a contract year if he isn’t extended before the start of the season and will likely want to play as such, too. He is the seasoned vet in this relatively young group and while Justin Britt has stepped up, I’d imagine he will focus more of his time on his craft and allow Brown to take center stage in terms of a leadership role. With the revolving door at left tackle the Seahawks have endured since Russell Okung departed, Brown stabilizing the position is welcomed to say the least.
I absolutely do not buy into Ifedi being a bust at all. I’ve said it numerous times that he hasn’t really been put into a position to succeed until Cable. He’s been undisciplined and sloppy in almost every aspect and given how he performed at the college level, it’s not a case that he ‘can’ do better, it’s a case that we’ve actually seen him do better. That, to me, falls on coaching. With Solari on board and Germain entering his third season, I’d expect he will develop and be quite the force in 2018. I’m not expecting miracles overnight, though. I will happily go on record and say I firmly believe Ifedi has the potential to be considerably better than Justin Britt and will live up that, too.
Tyler locket is another name entering a contract year. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL draft, the Seahawks actually invest multiple picks to trade up and get him. Has he lived up to expectations? I can see both sides. I will say, though, that I am a huge Lockett fan. I even gave my son the middle name of Lockett when he was born in 2016, that’s how much I love the guy not only as a football player, but a human being, too. However I think it’s OK to want more out of him in 2018.
Just looking at his stats, he is actually on a downward trend in terms of pure yards as a receiver, gaining 664 in year 1, 597 in year 2 and 555 in year 3. However given his brutal injury towards the end of 2016, it’s to be expected that 2017 was very much a year that he played cautiously to a degree and tested what his body would allow him to do.
With his confidence back, his body back and a full offseason feeling 100%, I think he could make a quantum leap next season and earn himself an extension to keep him in Seattle long term.
Frank is entering a contract year with the Seahawks. He led the team last season in sacks and is now going to find himself as arguably the biggest leader of the defensive line personnel. Those are some big shoes to fill given the personalities this group has grown accustomed to being surrounded by.
Frank has already shown leadership skills on the field and is certainly backing that up and leading by example. But before he was just another name in a star studded line-up, now he is the star. Expect offensive lines to focus their attention on him, he will be game planned, studied further than before, scrutinized by the competition, can he overcome these obstacles? There’s no doubt in my mind, personally, however it is going to be exciting to watch it pan out.
If we’re basing this on the size of the chip on these guys shoulders, Dion Jordan leads the group. What he has overcome in recent years is fantastic and things are aligning for him to have an absolutely explosive 2018 season and really cement his name back into the NFL. Depending on how the draft falls at the end of the month, Jordan could easily be a starter at defensive end acting as a bookend to Frank Clark. I’m not expecting the production he managed to produce last season as, with a higher snap count, it wouldn’t be realistic. However, I am confident that as long as he can keep his demons in the closet
Nick Vannett has been somewhat of a disappointment to date, especially in the passing game. He caught a measly 12 receptions for 124 yards last season (his second in the NFL). Considering he was a 3rd round draft selection, it’s fair to have higher expectations which, to date, Vannett has failed to deliver on.
Could 2018 be a turnaround for him? I don’t know and you’d struggle to get me betting any money on it but with that said, it’s certainly not out of the realms of possible.
With Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson both gone, Vannett will find himself thrusted up the depth chart. Will he sink or will he swim?