A year ago at this time, the Seahawks were in the process of vetting Frank Clark — the controversial pass rusher they were targeting at the bottom of the second round.
They were ripped for the pick by almost every mainstream media outlet, and The Seattle Times did its own reverse investigation into Clark’s domestic incident and criticized the Seahawks’ background research into Clark. (For the record, we told everyone to lay off and trust the judgment of Pete Carroll and John Schneider.)
Not surprisingly (to us), Clark made it through his first season without drawing another bad word from anyone, and Carroll said Monday that the team monitored Clark closely — he reportedly continued counseling that he had started in Michigan — and “he was a great kid in the program.”
This draft apparently is so deep on the defensive line that not even the Seahawks could screw it up.
You might think that to be a harsh and unwarranted comment coming against a two-time Super Bowl club, but the simple fact is the Seahawks have been terrible at drafting and developing defensive linemen.
John Schneider & Co. have selected 11 in six drafts, and they are still looking for their first sustained success story: Frank Clark (2015), Jordan Hill (2013) and Cassius Marsh (2014) are the last men standing.
The Seahawks have had great defensive lines because they have relied almost exclusively on veterans — Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, Alan Branch, Jason Jones, Tony McDaniel and Ahtyba Rubin — to step in alongside longtime Seahawk Brandon Mebane.
Mebane and Rubin — the heart of the NFL’s No. 1 run defense in 2015 — are pending free agents, which explains why most mock drafts have the Hawks taking a defensive tackle at No. 26. But their history says they won’t do that.
As Greg Hardy proceeds to melt down in Dallas right before our eyes – and right before the Seahawks play the Cowboys this weekend — it’s a good reminder that the Seahawks realized what a head case the mercurial pass rusher was and steered away from him.
If you recall, a report out of Dallas in March indicated the Seahawks were willing to match any offer the Cowboys made for Hardy, who was facing a domestic-assault case and a suspension (which ended up being cut from 10 games to four).
The Seahawks did admit to checking into Hardy, calling it their usual “due diligence,” but general manager John Schneider also said they had zero interest in Hardy once they learned the specifics of the domestic assault case.
“We talk about being in on every single deal so we don’t miss out on something,” Schneider said in May. “… Once we found out what was going on with that situation, we were done. It was over. But we had to find out what happened. We opened that door, we looked inside and we slammed it.”
The Seahawks are focusing this week on figuring out how to finish games, but a fair number might not even get in the game Sunday when they play the Carolina Panthers.
Of the 10 players on the Seahawks’ injury report Thursday, nine were defensive players – and their front seven suddenly has joined their secondary in making the entire defense a M*A*S*H unit.
That could create problems against Carolina, which comes in with the No. 4 rushing offense in the NFL (132.3 yards per game) and has the best toxic differential (turnover margin and big-play margin) in the league.
Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark finished the preseason the way they started it — with a bang (or two or three).
And B.J. Daniels surely locked up a roster spot with his display of diversity in Seattle’s 31-21 win over Oakland on Thursday.
Lockett’s 63-yard touchdown catch off a perfect pass from Russell Wilson was the rookie’s third touchdown of the preseason — he returned a kick for a score in the first game and also had a punt return for a TD.
Clark dominated the line of scrimmage vs. the Raiders, notching a tackle for loss and causing a fumble for a TD on a sack in the end zone.
Pete Carroll was impressed with all three players.
“Obviously B.J. had a great night tonight,” he said, referencing Daniels’ great running (75 yards on seven rushes) and saying the receiver/quarterback managed the team well.
As for Lockett and Clark, Carroll said, “They’ve made great strides throughout (the preseason). Their going to definitely help us.”
The Seahawks entered their second preseason game with a lot of questions on the offensive line and secondary and came out with some mixed answers in a 14-13 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City.
They also showed what Jimmy Graham will do for them, saw more from Tyler Lockett and got another great game from their No. 1 front seven on defense.
With Justin Britt moving from right tackle to left guard and Garry Gilliam stepping in at right tackle, the offensive line performed much better than it had in the opener vs. Denver, which got seven sacks.
Wilson was not sacked as he completed 9 of 15 passes for 78 yards. But the first offense really struggled again to run the ball and could not get into the end zone. Robert Turbin ran for a mere four yards on six carries, and Christine Michael ran for 27 on 10 attempts (and also busted a running play by going the wrong way). It wasn’t any better than the first game, when the Seahawks totaled just 89 yards on 24 attempts.
Pete Carroll said he liked the pass protection but added, “We’re not running the ball as well as we would like at this time. … That might change once No. 24 (Marshawn Lynch) gets in there.”
He said the offensive line “did not get the movement we need.” He also confirmed that free-agent guard Evan Mathis is coming to Seattle for a physical Saturday.
The Seahawks took a lot of heat for drafting Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett with their first two picks this year.
The media ripped them for using the 63rd overall pick on Clark, who was kicked off Michigan’s team last year after he was involved in a domestic disturbance. And some were dubious of Seattle’s move to trade four draft picks to take Lockett six spots after they drafted Clark.
Clark clearly has to keep his nose clean off the field for eternity, but the performances by him and Lockett on Friday were a nice little sampler of what Pete Carroll and John Schneider expected when they drafted them.
Lockett returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown and finished with 188 yards on four kick returns and 18 yards on his only punt runback in Seattle’s 22-20 loss to the Denver Broncos. Clark, meanwhile, was a monster along the defensive front all game, finishing with a game-high nine tackles and a forced fumble.
As Carroll said after the game, “That’s a beautiful first message they sent us.”