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NFC West Offseason Outlook: Seattle Seahawks

Posted Mar 6, 2014

Addressing the Seattle Seahawks’ offseason outlook in terms of ‘needs’ may be a bit of a stretch as the league’s free agency period and pre-draft preparation ramp up this week.

Coming off the organization’s first Super Bowl title, Seattle enters the offseason with one of the league’s most balanced rosters, as well as one that includes a core of players on each side of the ball who are currently entering their collective prime. Positioned at the top of the league’s best division, the Seahawks boasted the NFL’s best defensive unit in 2013, and figure to see minimal change along their defensive front.

Among the possible upgrades the Seahawks could pursue via the draft is in their receiver corps. With veteran Sidney Rice sidelined for the majority of 2013, fourth-year wideout Golden Tate represented the Seahawks’ primary threat through the air, with 64 receptions for 898 yards. This year’s receiver class is a particularly deep one, with many draft experts projecting up to six receivers chosen in the first round.  Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks represent a pair of options that could be available when the Seahawks make their selection with the 32nd overall pick.

Whatever additions the Seahawks make in the months between the opening of free agency and the beginning of training camp, the changes could be largely geared toward depth for an organization that aims to emphasize continuity.

“It’s a huge goal for us to try to keep this team together for as long as we possibly can,” Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said at the NFL Combine. “There are tough decisions that will have to be made along the way, and you don’t look forward to those, but we want to be a consistent championship team and not a team that cruises in for a year.”

The ability to maintain continuity from a championship in 2013 will be paramount for a team that has arguably been the class of the division since Carroll took over in 2010. The difference between first place and fourth in the NFC West, however, has never been more difficult to discern. The closing gap between the top and bottom of the division was never more apparent than in the Seahawks’ Week 8 victory over St. Louis, in which Seattle escaped despite being held to a season-low 135 yards of offense. Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll emphasized this point while addressing the media at the NFL Combine.

“It has been a remarkable change,” Carroll said. “We have watched this thing happen so quickly, and it’s pretty impressive. There’s no question about it—this is a very difficult division. We know, because we have to play in it. The defenses are loaded up, the commitment to the running game is there, and there are just terrific athletes. I don’t think anything is going to change about it. Everyone’s getting better. The Rams are getting better and they’ve got a tremendous draft opportunity coming up. The Cardinals are just getting started, and we’re going to slug it out with the 49ers. This division is a great strength.”