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A new era is underway in Seattle with Pete Carroll no longer being the head coach of the Seahawks

The franchise went from having the oldest head coach in the NFL in Carroll (age 72) to the youngest after hiring Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald (age 36) to fill his big shoes. Carroll is clearly the franchise's best coach with the team's best regular season record ever (137-89-1, .606 winning percentage), best postseason record ever (10-9) and the only coach to ever win a Super Bowl with Seattle.

However, Macdonald comes to the Pacific Northwest after helping lead a historic Ravens defense. The unit was the first team in NFL history to lead and/or co-lead the league in scoring defense (16.5 points per game allowed), sacks (60) and takeaways (31, tied for the most in the NFL with the New York Giants) -- all in the same season. Macdonald's unit also held Patrick Mahomes and the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs scoreless in the second half of Baltimore's 17-10 AFC ghampionship game defeat.

Now, Macdonald is tasked with revitalizing a Seahawks defense that has become a far cry from its "Legion of Boom" glory years. Since 2022, the Seattle defense ranks 27th in scoring (23.6 points per game allowed) and dead last in both total defense (366.5 total yards per game allowed) and run defense (144.3 rushing yards per game allowed). 

The offense, led by Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith and Pro Bowl wide receiver DK Metcalf, hovered around league average, ranking 17th in scoring offense (21.4 points per game) despite not being complemented by a reliable defense. Having an improved defense would allow running backs Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet to take over games in the second half, a formula Macdonald's Ravens used plenty in 2023: grounding their opponents into submission on both sides of the ball.

The 2023 Seahawks barely missed the postseason despite losing six of their last 10 games and finishing 9-8. Had the Green Bay Packers lost their regular season finale against the Chicago Bears, Seattle would have made a return trip to Dallas to face the Cowboys in the NFC wild card round, a team it barely lost to on "Thursday Night Football" at the end of November. 

Here is how the Seahawks can use some of the seven draft picks currently in their possession to help them bounce back and return to the postseason in 2024. Seattle is without its second-round pick due to its trade deadline acquisition of Pro Bowl defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who is set to become a free agent this offseason. The Seahawks picked up an extra third-round pick during last year's draft when they traded back with the New Orleans Saints

Seahawks' team needs: OG, S, EDGE, LB, DT (via Josh Edwards)  

Seahawks' notable unrestricted free agents: OG Damien Lewis, OG Phil Haynes, TE Noah Fant, C Evan Brown, LB Devin Bush, LB Jordyn Brooks, QB Drew Lock, LB Bobby Wagner, DT Leonard Williams, EDGE Frank Clark, OT Jason Peters

Seahawks 2024 draft picks*







81 (via trade with Saints)









* Compensatory picks not yet known

Here's who the Seahawks will select in 16th overall, according to CBS Sports' latest mock drafts:      

CBS Sports mock drafts


Ryan Wilson

Jer'Zhan Newton



Chris Trapasso

Cooper DeJean



Josh Edwards

Byron Murphy II



Garrett Podell

Jackson Powers-Johnson



For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on "With the First Pick" -- our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find "With the First Pick" wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, etc. Listen to the latest episode below!

Overhaul interior of offensive line

The Seahawks NEED to fix their pass protection. While their 38 sacks allowed were the 10th-fewest in the NFL, their pressure rates tell a much different story. Seattle allowed quarterback pressure on 40.2% of their dropbacks, the eighth-worst rate in the NFL. Pro Football Focus gave them a team pass-blocking grade of 52.9, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.

Second-year right tackle Abe Lucas, a 2022 third-round pick, had an decent season, allowing just two sacks and and 13 pressures in six games played. Second-year left tackle Charles Cross, the ninth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, improved slightly in Year 2. He allowed eight sacks and 45 pressures while playing all 17 games as a rookie, and he allowed seven sacks and 40 quarterback pressures while suiting up in 14 games in 2023. 

All three interior offensive line starters -- right guard Phil Haynes, center Evan Brown and left guard Damien Lewis -- are slated to be unrestricted free agents this offseason. With their current cap situation ($5.2 million over the cap) they won't be able to bring all of them back. Seattle will certainly free up room by releasing safety Jamal Adams (cap savings of $16.5 million if designated as a post-June 1 cut, more on that below) and tight end Will Dissly ($6.97 million cap savings). Restructures of both DK Metcalf's and Tyler Lockett's deals will probably also be utilized to create more space. 

Bottom line: Seattle will need to invest multiple draft picks in a center and at least one guard. If the Seahawks want to go with the top center prospect in the entire draft, Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson (6-foot-3, 334 pounds) is the pick. Much of his college tape involves him throwing people (defensive linemen) out of the club (the line of scrimmage) with ease. It's very easy to project Powers-Johnson having an extensive NFL career.  

If Seattle would prefer to address other areas of need in Round 1, a Boston College product who stood out at the East-West Shrine Bowl could be of service. 

Christian Mahogany (6-foot-2, 318 pounds) earned first-team All-ACC honors at right guard in 2023 after making a comeback from a torn ACL in June of 2022 that erased his junior year. He played right guard in college, but at the Shrine Bowl they started him off at left guard in practice, a position he subbed in at as a sophomore at BC. Mahogany also rotated in at center to show he can fill any interior offensive line spot, and he played well. He does a great job getting low and winning with sturdiness against defensive linemen at the point of attack. 

Refresh front seven

Nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner led the NFL in tackles again in 2023 with 183, but he'll turn 34 years old in June. He could return to Seattle on a team-friendly deal, but the Seahawks need to find a long-term replacement. Their 2020 first-round pick, inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks, is also set to become an unrestricted free agent, as is backup Devin Bush. 

A couple of Clemson Tigers linebackers could be available to Seattle in the third round should it choose to use one of its picks at that spot.  

Barrett Carter (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) is the top athlete in the 2024 linebacker class, and that athleticism is why he was a five-star recruit. Some teams may have some concerns about his NFL future because he played a similar role that Clemson alum and 2020 eighth overall draft pick Isaiah Simmons did when in college: a jack-of-all trades -- lining up as an edge rusher, linebacker and defensive back. His coverage abilities in the middle of the field are high, making the way he plays a fit in the current NFL. Carter could thrive under Macdonald's tutelage. 

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (6-foot, 230 pounds) is fundamentally sound, likely thanks to his upbringing. His dad, Jeremiah Trotter, played 11 NFL seasons and was a four-time Pro Bowler -- plus a 2000 first-team All-Pro -- in his eight seasons played with the Philadelphia Eagles (1998-2001, 2004-2006, 2009). Trotter possesses strong anticipation and feel in pass-rush gaps when tasked with blitzing as well as throwing lanes when in coverage. His tackling technique and positioning are solid, which makes him an easy projection as a starter-level player in the NFL. 

If Seattle doesn't go for an offensive lineman with their 16th overall selection, Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton would make sense. The 2023 consensus All-American and 2023 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, racked up 102 quarterback pressures the last two seasons, the most by an FBS defensive tackle in that span by 35 pressures. Newton has strong fast-twitch and powerful movements, which allow him to shed blockers and plug up gaps in the run game as well. 

Find a Jamal Adams replacement at safety

Back in 2020, the Seahawks sent the New York Jets safety Bradley McDougald, 2021 first- and third-round picks, and a 2022 first-round pick in exchange for then-two-time Pro Bowl and 2019 first-team All-Pro safety Jamal Adams. The following 2021 offseason, they made him the highest-paid safety at the time with a four-year, $70 million contract extension.

Over the past three seasons, Adams has missed more games (29) than he has played (22) while dealing with a litany of injuries including a torn quad that required surgery as well as groin, shoulder and knee maladies. Following those injuries, he is now much more limited when dropping back into coverage than he was in his Gang Green glory years. Adams is more linebacker than safety in terms of what he can do in coverage. 

It would be stunning if the Seahawks don't release this offseason. If they do so right away, they can save $6.1 million against the salary cap while incurring $20.8 million in dead money. Should they designate him as a post-June 1 release, the Seahawks can save $16.5 million and only have $10.4 million in dead money. 

USC safety Calen Bullock and Georgia safety Javon Bullard could both be potential Day 2 targets. 

Bullock's gift when it comes to tracking the football in the air and making plays (seven interceptions since 2022) would provide Macdonald with peace of mind knowing the deep middle will be secure when Bullock is in the area. His speed pops in coverage, shutting down pass lanes quickly. However, standing at 6-foot-3 while weighing 190 pounds lends itself to issues when coming up to make plays in the run game. That's one area he will need to build upon should he be Adams' replacement. That can be improved as he grows into his body over time. 

Bullard is one of the heat-seeking missiles from Georgia's dynamic defense. Take a look at the massive hit below against Florida last season. He provides schematic flexibility by being able to line up at nickel corner or as a safety in multiple places along the formation. Bullard put decent ball skills on tape for a player who is known more for being a hard-hitting presence. He hauled in two interceptions in the biggest moment, the national championship game, in 2022 against TCU. 

Bullard is a high-upside player physically who would certainly develop under Macdonald. He could be on the board in the third round.