Jordan Hill amongst those ready to step up in 2014
Pete Carroll constantly preaches “Always Compete” and “Next Man Up.” Who will step up in 2014 for the Seahawks? In the case of the following five names, you don’t have to look beyond the current roster.
A third-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2013 out of Penn State, Jordan Hill spent much of the championship season riding the bench for a couple of reasons. One was his health — a torn bicep that he sustained during the preseason — but the second reason was that he was a rookie on a very, very deep team.
In 2014, one would expect that Hill will be 100 percent health wise. With Red Bryant already gone and other D-lineman likely to follow, it seems clear that Hill will get his shot to shine. Hill is a monster 6’1″, 303-pound lineman who can easily slide into that run-stop role that Bryant held the past few years.
John Schneider and coach Carroll have played this game before — signing a player out of the CFL while everyone else scratches their heads and says, “eh?” Seattle recently pulled off another Brandon Browner-type move by signing WR Chris Matthews away from the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
I really, really like this move because Matthews is the type of WR that the Seahawks lacked all of last year. He also compliments their current players at that position, and is a monster at 6’5″, 220 pounds.
Put simply: He’s a physically huge target for Russell Wilson.
As good as I think Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin are, they aren’t big guys and that was the only element that lacked in the Seahawks WR corps in 2013. Matthews will bring that in 2014 and everyone will be wondering where in the world Seattle came up with him.
While not officially gone yet, the speculation on Golden Tate remaining with the Seahawks continues to swirl around. While I see Matthews as a nice fit at WR to replace Tate, I don’t see him returning punts. Enter Christine Michael.
Michael road the bench for the most part in 2013 after being a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M by the Seahawks in 2013. He did get some occasional “mop up time” in a handful of games during the season and he really impressed me with the speed and shiftiness that he can lay on an opponent.
Michael hits the hole faster than any running back on the Seahawks roster, and I believe that talent will allow him to pick up playing time returning punts in 2014.
Bowie arrived in Seattle as just a seventh-round draft choice (where have we heard that before) in 2013 out of Northeastern State. At 6’4″, 332 pounds, he is an absolute walking wall, which is just what you want on your O-line.
Thanks in large part to some injuries on the offensive line throughout the 2013 campaign, Michael Bowie managed to get more playing time than I think O-Line Coach Tom Cable originally had in mind.
With it doubtful that the Seahawks will re-sign RT Breno Giacomini, and that extra bit of experience he got in 2013, Bowie finds himself in an excellent position to win that starting job. If not at RT, Bowie could easily wind up at RG in replace of J.R. Sweezy ,who struggled periodically in 2013.
I freely admit that Luke Willson is not quite as big of secret as these other four guys, but with a departure ticket all but stamped for starting tight end Zach Miller, it seems clear that Willson is going have the starting TE job as his to lose entering OTAs.
Willson didn’t start off the 2013 campaign red hot, but he did slowly develop into one of Russell Wilson‘s favorite targets down the stretch and into the playoffs. Willson also showed us some of his future in the Superbowl when he grabbed a couple of key third-down passes to help sustain drives.
Watch for “Wilson to Willson” to become an even bigger deal in 2014.