Seattle Seahawks fans are stumping for the obvious area of need in the upcoming NFL draft. However, the specter of a long-running area of concern continues to hold sway over Seahawk supporters.
The NFL draft is moving ahead as scheduled next week, when it takes place virtually next Thursday through Saturday. Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on the draft. Specifically you were asked, which position should the Seahawks prioritize in the draft?
POLL: Which position should the Seahawks prioritize in the upcoming NFL draft? Full context, including a closer look at the team’s needs, here: https://t.co/TQojjq3uMI
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) April 13, 2020
When one adds up the votes between the Twitter and blog versions of the poll, the majority of the voters — 51% — said the defensive line should be prioritized. The offensive line was right behind at 42%, while just 5% said running back should be the priority and a mere 2% picked the “other” option.
So it’s clear, fans think the Seahawks should stock up on the defensive and offensive lines.
The fact that the defensive line received the most votes is no surprise. Ever since the season ended the talk has been non-stop about how Seattle needs to upgrade its defensive line, and specifically its pass rush. The Seahawks managed just 28 sacks last season, which was second-to-last in the NFL. That was with Jadeveon Clowney in the fold, and the star defensive end remains a free agent and a big question mark as to whether he’ll re-sign with the Seahawks. Add in the loss of defensive tackles Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods to free agency and it’s clear the defensive line is an area of need, even with the addition of free-agent pass rushers Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa.
But what was a little surprising was how close behind the offensive line was in the voting. Yes, the Seahawks lost Germain Ifedi and George Fant to free agency. But Ifedi, despite being a first-round pick and a starter at right tackle, was the regular subject of fan ire, and Fant, though popular, was a backup. Seattle re-signed Mike Iupati this week, meaning four of the five starters are back, and the Seahawks have added four offensive linemen — Brandon Shell, B.J. Finney, Cedric Ogbuehi and Chance Warmack — through free agency. The Seahawks have enough offensive linemen to fill a double-decker bus, yet the fans still see the position as a major need, finishing just 9% behind the defensive line in the poll.
This is no doubt due to the long-running issues Seattle has had on the offensive line, and particularly in pass protection. Since 2013 the Seahawks have allowed at least 42 sacks and ranked 20th or lower in sacks allowed every year, and the fans grumbled about it the entire time. Part of the reason for the large number of sacks is quarterback Russell Wilson’s desire to extend plays to try and make things happen, giving the defense more opportunity to register sacks. But it seems concern about the offensive line is now ingrained in Seahawks fan base’s psyche.
With everything else totalling just 7%, it means the fans are hoping to hear the names of defensive and offensive linemen called early and often during the draft.