Drilling in: Seahawks unit by unit analysis

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson struggled somewhat at the end of the 2017 season.Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

A detailed breakdown of the lineup

By Curtis Crabtree, The Sports Xchange

QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Russell Wilson. Backups -- Austin Davis, Alex McGough.

Russell Wilson is the unquestioned starter of the team, but will need to recapture his peak after a disappointing last month of 2017. While Wilson was stellar all year in the fourth quarter of games, setting a record for most fourth-quarter touchdowns thrown in league history, the remaining three quarters left a lot to be desired at times. Wilson started leaving the pocket too soon and was overly reliant on his athleticism to make plays, frequently leading to mistakes. Davis and McGough will battle for the backup job. McGough, a seventh-round pick, is the second quarterback selected in the draft since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over in 2010 (Wilson, third round, 2012).

RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Chris Carson. Backups -- Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, Mike Davis, J.D. McKissic, FB Tre Madden, FB Khalid Hill, FB Jalston Fowler.

Carson was the talk of training camp last year and had a strong first month to his career before a broken ankle ended his season. He's returned in even better shape and should have the early edge on top draft pick Penny. Prosise and McKissic will battle for a role as a receiving back if Prosise can remain healthy. Davis flashed at times late last season after taking over as the starter in November. Hill could be a name to watch to emerge as a fullback as the team looks to vastly improve their rushing attack.

TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Ed Dickson. Backups -- Will Dissly, Nick Vannett, Tyrone Swoopes, Clayton Wilson.

Following the departure of Jimmy Graham, Seattle's tight-end group will be much more focused on helping block. Dickson has been one of the better blocking tight ends in the league and the Seahawks viewed Dissly as the best blocking tight end in this year's draft class. Swoopes could emerge as a receiving option after spending a year developing on the practice squad.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett. Backups -- Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, David Moore, Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson, Tanner McEvoy, Keenan Reynolds, Damore'ea Stringfellow, Cyril Grayson Jr., Caleb Scott.

Beyond Baldwin and Lockett, much is uncertain with the receiving group. Marshall, Brown and Johnson are all outside additions that could help add experienced depth. Marshall has been sidelined throughout offseason since signing with the team. Brown and Johnson looked solid during OTAs and minicamp. Darboh and Moore each look to make strides forward in their second year with the team. McEvoy looks to rebound from a down season. Reynolds, Stringfellow, Grayson and Scott all hope to push for roster spots.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Duane Brown, LG Ethan Pocic, C Justin Britt, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Germain Ifedi. Backups -- T George Fant, G Jordan Roos, G/T Rees Odhiambo, T Jamarco Jones, T Isaiah Battle, C Joey Hunt, G Willie Beavers, G Skyler Phillips, G Avery Young, C Marcus Henry.

Seattle beefed up its offensive line with the midseason addition of Brown last year and the offseason addition of Fluker in free agency. Pocic has added 20 pounds this offseason as Seattle wants to recapture its running game. Fant is healthy again after sustaining a torn ACL last preseason and could challenge Ifedi for the starting job at right tackle. Roos and Odhiambo should be backup options. Jones has potential as a developmental left tackle prospect.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Dion Jordan, NT Jarran Reed, DT Nazair Jones, LEO Frank Clark. Backups -- DE Rasheem Green, DE Jacob Martin, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, DE Branden Jackson, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Poona Ford, DT Eddy Wilson, DT Malik McDowell.

Following the retirement of Cliff Avril and departure of Michael Bennett, finding pass rushers to pair with Frank Clark will be a priority this preseason. Jordan had four sacks in five games last year and pencils in as a starter, but he continues to battle injuries and did not take part in offseason work. Johnson and Stephen come over from the Vikings to provide veteran depth inside. Green and Martin are draft picks that should contribute as well. McDowell is an afterthought as the 2017 second-round pick still appears unlikely to play after an ATV accident last July.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB K.J. Wright, MLB Bobby Wagner, SLB Barkevious Mingo. Backups -- WLB Shaquem Griffin, SLB Marcus Smith, SLB D.J. Alexander, LB Austin Calitro, LB Joshua Perry, LB Warren Long, LB Emmanuel Beal.

Mingo replaces Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin as the likely starter as SAM linebacker. Marcus Smith will also get run at the SAM spot after being transitioned out of a pure defensive end role this offseason. Griffin will slot in as a backup to Wright on the weak side and key special teams player. Alexander returns as a core special teams option.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Shaquill Griffin, RCB Byron Maxwell, Nicker CB Justin Coleman, FS Earl Thomas, SS Bradley McDougald. Backups -- CB Tre Flowers, CB Donte Johnson, CB Neiko Thorpe, CB Mike Tyson, CB DeAndre Elliott, CB Akeem King, FS Tedric Thompson, SS Delano Hill, SS Maurice Alexander, FS T.J. Mutcherson, FS Alex Carter, SS Kam Chancellor.

Griffin has moved to the left side to fill the spot vacated by the release of Richard Sherman. Maxwell returns to his old role on the right side of Seattle's defense. If Thomas shows up to training camp, he will again be the unquestioned starter at free safety. If not, McDougald will likely take over at free safety with Hill getting a chance at strong safety. Chancellor remains on the roster, but is not expected to play due to a neck injury. Flowers is a prototypical corner in Seattle's scheme but will need to develop. Thompson, Tyson and Hill all look to find increased roles in year two with the team. Elliott is returning from a broken ankle that ended his 2017 year in the preseason. Johnson and Alexander are veterans trying to find a spot on the team.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Michael Dickson, LS Tyler Ott, K Jason Myers, P Jon Ryan, LS Tanner Carew, KOR/PR Tyler Lockett.

The Seahawks will have training camp battles throughout their specialist group for the first time in a long time this summer. All three spots are up for grabs after Ryan and Steven Hauschka anchored the group for much of the last decade. Dickson -- a fifth-round pick -- will need to show he can handle duties such as holding on placekicks to cement his spot. Janikowski and Myers will have a spirited battle for the kicking job, and Ott -- the team's snapper all of last season -- will be challenged by the rookie Carew.

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