Season Preview Part II – Defense

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 18: Lawyer Milloy #36 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as he enters the field before the game against the Arizona Cardinals on October 18, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Defensive Backs
Incumbents: Marcus Trufant, Roy Lewis, Kelly Jennings, Lawyer Milloy, Jordan Babineaux
In: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Walter Thurmond, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness
Out: Josh Wilson, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Jamar Adams
2009 Final Grade: D-

Despite an absolutely terrible year for the DBs in 2009, quite a few have returned. Luckily, Marcus Trufant is looking very good, Lawyer Milloy was our best safety (and eventually even got to play!), and Roy Lewis has been very good. Much more importantly though, the Hawks drafted Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond, and Kam Chancellor, all of whom looked good in the preseason. All in all, an improved group, but there are questions about our Right CB and it remains to be seen if Milloy can play through the whole year at his age and, more importantly, speed.

2010 Projection: B
Incumbents: Aaron Curry, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, David Hawthorne, Will Herring
In: Matt McCoy
Out: D.D. Lewis, Lance Laury
2009 Final Grade: C-
The 2009 final grade is based primarily on Curry, Hawthorne and Herring, which is not ever going to be a super group. If Lofa can stay healthy, this is a good group. If Hill and Curry can play up to their talent level, this is an elite group. I fear that at least one of the three will spent some time injured this season, but Hawthorne is a very capable backup and Herring does things well enough to get through a week. Still, the group will be better if three of the top four can be on the field every game, so that alone bumps them up.
2010 Projection: B
Defensive Tackles
Incumbents: Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole
In: Junior Siavii
Out: Craig Terrill, (Kevin Vickerson)
2009 Final Grade: D

Make no mistake, this was a big weakness for the Hawks last year, but they were given absolutely no help by the coaching staff / schemes or the defensive ends. Still, I’ve made it clear that I love Mebane, but Cole remains a question mark and I know nothing about Siavii. Terrill had to go, but the Vickerson cut will have us scratching our heads for awhile. I dont think they got more talented, but I do think the scheme will match their skills much better.

2010 Projection: C
Defensive Ends
Incumbents: Red Bryant (sort of)
In: Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, E.J. Wilson
Out: Darryl Tapp, Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Nick Reed
2009 Final Grade: D-
Red Bryant has been a revelation at DE, but he will have plenty of weaknesses and they will be exploited from time to time. Still, he’s fun to watch and he just looks so damned happy out there. I love what he’s bringing to the team, and I think he’s someone that we’ve all been rooting for. Balmer and Jackson are of equal talent level, Chris Clemons is a big question mark for us (still), E.J. Wilson still looks a year away…
But Dexter Davis. Yah! I love what Davis has done, and I love that it hasn’t just been against scrubs. He will replace Nick Reed as our Leo end, and I think he’ll get a lot of playing time this year. This is a huge question mark though, so I’m praying for average and assuming a little under…
2010 Projection: C-