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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



April 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM

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Seahawks suddenly packing on the LBs

"Get in shape for summer? Nope. The Seattle Seahawks are bulking up by adding LBs from bringing Barrett Ruud aboard to re-signing Leroy Hill and Matt McCoy. So are the Seahawks done?

That's what Bob Helling of Bothell wanted to know when he e-mailed in: "In your latest blog post about getting Hill and McCoy you don't say whether or not that completes our needs at LB. I thought we were two short and I'm not sure if McCoy qualifies to fill both slots. I will watch your blog to see if you add the answer there."

Five minutes later, Mr. Helling inquired again: "Just read your main article and I'm sorry to say I still don't feel that I know the answer."

Fair enough. Linebacker and defensive end are going to be the two positions considered Seattle's biggest needs in the draft.

The truth is there isn't a definitive answer at this point. NFL teams don't come out and declare themselves set at any given position even when they set their 53-man roster in September let alone two weeks before the draft.

I think -- given a look at the roster -- that the Seahawks appear to be done looking at veterans. When David Hawthorne didn't accept Seattle's final offer, it went and signed Ruud, and this week brought back Hill on a one-year deal for the second consecutive season.

Here are the linebackers currently listed on Seattle's roster:

K.J. Wright, 2nd yearAllen Bradford, 2nd yearHeath Farwell, 8th year
Matt McCoy, 8th yearJameson Konz, 3rd yearLeroy Hill, 8th year
Barrett Ruud, 8th yearMike Morgan, 2nd yearAdrian Moten, 2nd year
Malcolm Smith, 2nd year  

Of the 10 linebackers currently on Seattle's roster, four of those are entering their eighth year in the league. Of the six linebackers entering either their second or third season, only K.J. Wright has experience as a starter.

I expect Seattle to look to the draft for young legs to improve the speed of the defense. The presence of Hill and Ruud provides veteran insurance so to speak. Seattle doesn't head into the draft feeling the pressure to draft a player ready to step in as a starter right away, but the fact that Ruud, McCoy and Hill are all on one-year deals shows that Seattle isn't beholden to the idea that they will be long-term starters.

The Seahawks usually keep seven linebackers when they reduce the roster to 53 in September. Sometimes it's fewer. In 2005, Seattle started the year with five linebackers because Hill was suspended for the season-opener. In the past decade, Seattle has never started a season with more than eight linebackers on the 53-man roster.

Bradford and Konz are players who've switched positions since coming into the NFL. Smith was a seventh-round pick in 2011, who showed great promise in August last year. He is extremely fast, someone the Seahawks are certainly hoping steps into a consistent role this season, perhaps as a nickel linebacker, but he was not durable in college and was slowed by injuries at times as a rookie.

Moten was acquired off waivers last November after David Vobora suffered a season-ending injury, and Morgan spent much fo the season on the practice squad.

Farwell's value is special teams, and while McCoy was playing as a nickel linebacker in addition to special teams last September, he's also coming back from a knee injury.

Is it Seattle done at linebacker? For the time being perhaps, but expect Seattle to add to that position later this month, first in the draft and afterward with the addition of undrafted free agents.


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Packing on the LB's. Ha ha. That cracked me up. Anyway, I've noticed that the team... MORE
Well said Carlsbad. I, personally, think that Decastro is that man! MORE
Add 20 pounds to each guy to fit NFL standards and you have our starting line up at... MORE

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