The Seattle Seahawks acquired monster tight end Jimmy Graham in a moments-before-free-agency blockbuster trade that sent former All-Pro center Max Unger and a 2015 first-round pick to the New Orleans Saints, but the reigning, two-time NFC champs still have some serious work to do.

(Seattle got a 2015 fourth-round selection as a throw-in.)

Wait. How in the world does a franchise that's gone 30-8 -- playoffs included -- since the start of 2013 have work to do? That includes a Super Bowl win and coming one yard, one ill-advised play-call and one epic defensive play away from winning back-to-back Lombardi Trophies.

But the truth is that the Seahawks have some critical holes to fill if they want to stay on top of a parity-filled conference.

Before I begin, I don't want to overlook or understate the addition of Graham. He's LeBron-esque in terms of the way he can physically dominate his opponent... or an entire game.

Since Week 1 of 2011, only Dez Bryant (50) has more touchdown receptions than Graham (46). He instantly makes the perennially frightening Seahawks more terrifying.

But this column is aimed to step into the mind of GM John Schneider, a never-complacent football Einstein, and map out the rest of the offseason for Seattle as it attempts to reach the Super Bowl for the third-consecutive year.

Free Agency

During this free-agency period, the Seahawks have experienced much more departures than big-impact additions.

Additions: TE Jimmy Graham, CB Cary Williams, CB Will Blackmon

Departures: CB Byron Maxwell, C Max Unger, OG James Carpenter, LB Malcolm Smith, WR Bryan Walters, OLB O'Brien Schofield, SS Jeron Johnson

We're a full week in now, and a week into free agency is like six months in the real world.

There are only two players available who could be of significant use to the Seahawks: highly-controversial defensive end Greg Hardy and oft-injured offensive tackle Jake Long.

Hardy's still on the Commissioner's Exempt list in the wake of a domestic violence incident, and although he's free to sign anywhere, there's no telling if he'll be suspended in 2015 or for how long. 

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ole Miss product turns just 27 in July, and he's registered 27 sacks in his last 29 games. 

If Michael Bennett indeed gets traded to the Atlanta Falcons, the Seahawks will have an immediately edge-rushing need that Hardy could definitely fill. While he's not as scheme versatile as Bennett, he'd provide new defensive coordinator Kris Richard with a high-caliber pass-rusher. 

And for as much (rightful) publicity as Seattle's secondary has received, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor have had the luxury of playing behind a quarterback-devouring defensive line in each of the past three seasons.

Will the Seahawks roll the dice on Greg Hardy?  (USATSI)
Will the Seahawks roll the dice on Greg Hardy?(USATSI)

If Hardy signs elsewhere, Cowboys free-agent Anthony Spencer would be a cheap replacement option, though he wouldn't bring as much electricity to the defensive line.

As for Jake Long, the No.1 overall pick in the 2008 draft has been an IR-mainstay in his career, and his knees have endured multiple ligament tears. He was released by the St. Louis Rams on March 9 and turns 30 in May.

Since his release, there have been no rumors about interested teams.

There's a decent chance he plans to retire, and after the beating his body has taken, not many would blame him.

But his talent outweighs his perceived value at his point, which makes him a prime Schneider target.

Is Long an absolute priority? Certainly not. But he's a free agent that Seattle should investigate, and if everything checks out as well as it can for a serial ACL-rehab offensive tackle, he should be signed to a low-risk, incentive-based contract.

The draft

With free agency basically done, the Seahawks must shift their attention to the draft.

While the trade for Graham signified a philosophical offensive shift for Seattle from run-first to pass-first, Marshawn Lynch was just signed to an outrageous extension. The artfully bulldozing running back, who will be 29 next season, carries an $8.5 million cap hit in 2015, and his 2016 base salary is a whopping $9 million.

Regardless of Seattle's sizable financial investment in Lynch, the shift to Wilson as the offensive focal point is bound to happen.

As a rookie, Wilson threw the football 393 times. In 2013, that number increased slightly to 407. Last season, the former third-round pick attempted 452 passes, which was the 19th-most in football.

What does this all mean?

The Seahawks must get stronger up front to protect Wilson, the long-term face of the organization.

Sure, the nifty quarterback loves moving from the pocket and extending plays in mini Ben Roethlisberger fashion. But the percentage of drop backs in which Wilson was pressured in 2014 is startling, even if he contributes to some of it.

Last season the Seahawks ranked dead last in pressure percentage, with Wilson under duress on 46 percent of his drop backs, 44.3 percent if you include the playoffs.

For perspective on these figures, Roethlisberger himself was pressured on just 28.2 percent of his drop backs last season.

Seattle's offensive line, especially its pass-blocking efforts, have been an issue for a few years now, and the front office needs to find two new starters for 2015 after trading Unger and seeing starting offensive guard James Carpenter sign with the New York Jets.

Pro Football Focus graded Unger with a -.07 grade for run blocking and a 14 in pass blocking in 2014, while Carpenter got a 1.4 for run blocking and a -6.3 in pass blocking.

So, OK, the Seahawks aren't finding replacements for Steve Hutchinson and Walter Jones. But Unger, a former second-round pick, and Carpenter, a first-rounder, were unquestioned starters for a long time.

Also, former Mr. Reliable left tackle Russell Okung received a +4.9 pass-blocking grade in 2014, yet his run-blocking grade was in -8.5.

With the offensive line the most glaring need, and without a pick in the first round, here's how the Seahawks should attack the draft.

Round 2, Pick 31: D.J. Humphries, OT/OG, Florida

Humphries is a dynamic mover and, because of that, he'd be an exquisite fit in Tom Cable's zone-based blocking scheme that mixes in some power concepts as well. Last year's second-round pick Justin Britt gave free admission to defenders who wanted to pressure Wilson, and as a right tackle, the rookie's struggles actually limited the quarterback's ability to improvise.

Right now, Humphries can play right tackle or even the guard spot vacated by Carpenter's departure and eventually bump over to left tackle if Okung's issues continue. The Florida product has some injury concerns, but he's a legitimate first-round talent at the back end of the second round. That's a major win for Seattle.

Round 3, Pick 32: B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State

A former walk-on who ultimately started 52 straight games for the Wildcats, Finney is a classic overachiever. He's not a road-grading center; however, he plays with sound fundamentals and is comfortable and effective getting to the second level. He's an instant starter at a position in dire need of a good one.

Round 4, Pick 13: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

If it weren't for a serious knee injury in his final collegiate season, Ekpre-Olomu would have been a first-round lock. He's a smaller cornerback who may be relegated to covering the slot in the pros, but with Walter Thurmond gone, the Seahawks could use some reinforcement at the nickel corner position. Ekpre-Olomu plays bigger than his size and is surprisingly strong in jump-ball situations. There's some Brent Grimes to his game.

Round 4, Pick 31: Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech

Waller is a 6'6", 235-pound goliath like seemingly every other wideout from Georgia Tech -- what's up with that anyway? -- but having played in a run-heavy, triple-option system … he's raw. With Graham in the fold, Waller can learn the "rebound the football" technique from one of the finest in the game, and in a year or two he could be a dangerous weapon. Remember, Wilson loves launching those 50-50 balls down the sideline.

Round 5, Pick 31: Lynden Trail, DL, Norfolk State

Trail is 6'7" and 270 pounds, and no one is quite sure what position in the NFL will suit him best. But the athleticism he possesses at his size is appealing, and the Seahawks are rightfully enamored with versatile defensive front seven players.

Ellis McCarthy, DT, UCLA

At 6'5" and nearly 340 pounds, McCarthy is a larger version of Brandon Mebane and actually looks more like former Seahawks stud Red Bryant. The veteran Mebane can mentor the young former Bruin to take his spot in a few years as the team's defensive line anchor.

Round 7, Pick 31: Tevin McDonald, S, Eastern Washington

McDonald flies around the field with a springy first step and legit NFL free safety speed. Earl Thomas will be coming off an injury this season, and McDonald could fill in if Thomas occasionally needs a break. Schneider will be drawn the athletic talents of this small school prospect. After the draft, here's a look at the Seahawks depth chart heading into training camp:




Despite some personnel changes, the Seahawks remain one of the top teams in the NFC and a true Super Bowl contender. Jimmy Graham gives them a typically unfair red-zone target. The offensive line problems are real though, but even with no first-round pick, Seattle can address the blocking issues.

If they land two offensive line starters in this draft class, Seattle can become more efficient as an offense, which would help an already super-stingy defense that suddenly needs some cornerback depth. Watch out for second-year linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis to man Malcolm Smith's old position. He's a true sideline-to-sideline defender.

There could be some growing pains in September but, as we've seen over the past 2-3 seasons, the Seahawks should be one of the most difficult outs in the playoffs.

Russell Wilson was under pressure more than any other NFL quarterback last season.  (Getty Images)
Russell Wilson was under pressure more than any other NFL quarterback last season. (Getty Images)