The Seattle Seahawks ended their offseason program on Thursday. Here's a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals: Getting their once-strong running game back on track was priority No. 1 for the Seahawks after finishing in the bottom third in rushing in each of the past two seasons, a decline that has forced quarterback Russell Wilson to shoulder too much of the offensive load. That was part of the motivation behind several personnel moves as well as some of the sweeping changes to Pete Carroll's coaching staff following a 9-7 season that left Seattle out of the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Seahawks also wanted to find bargains on defense after moving on from star veterans such as Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Sheldon Richardson. Their replacements have huge shoes to fill.
How they fared: Too soon to tell
Move I liked: It's actually a move the Seahawks haven't made -- hanging on to Earl Thomas as opposed to giving him away. It wouldn't make sense for the Seahawks to trade their All-Pro free safety for anything less than a second-round pick, and it seems such an offer hasn't been made. Even a second-rounder wouldn't quite feel like an equitable return given Thomas' talent and how much he means to Seattle's defense, particularly now that several others are gone and with his safety mate, Kam Chancellor, in danger of never playing again. There's the potential for a messy standoff now that Thomas has said he won't report to the Seahawks until his contract situation is "resolved." But the team holds the leverage here, and dealing with a brief holdout would be wiser than dumping Thomas for a mid-round pick.
Move I didn't like: This is more of a quibble than an outright objection, but drafting a running back 27th overall was a move that can be fairly second-guessed. It's not about Rashaad Penny specifically, but about how a) starting running backs can often be found after the first round and b) Seattle already had one in Chris Carson, a seventh-rounder from last year who appears to be back to full strength after his injury-shortened rookie season. That said, it was an understandable selection. Penny is, among other things, durable, and that's something the Seahawks need after dealing with so many injuries in their backfield over the past few seasons. Not having a second-round pick meant their last shot at getting him -- or perhaps any other running back high on their board -- was to take him at No. 27. And while cornerback and defensive end were bigger needs, there simply wasn't a player they liked enough at either position available. The thinking is that it's better to take the best player than to overdraft a lesser talent to fill a need.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Who's the starter -- Carson or Penny? Carson has taken first-team reps during offseason work, as you'd expect, and is still the most physically impressive of Seattle's running backs. But it's hard to imagine the Seahawks drafting Penny where they did without a belief that he could take over as starter early in his career. As it often is for rookie running backs, his biggest hurdle may be proving that he can be trusted in pass protection. The Seahawks have made no secret of the fact that he has a ways to go in that regard but have also expressed confidence he can get up to speed quickly. Training camp will provide a good gauge of his progress there since contact finally will be allowed.
Quotable: "The energy is different. Obviously, if Sherm was out here, it'd be a lot louder. No, honestly, with those guys leaving -- or some guys leaving and some guys not being here -- it's sad. It changes the dynamic of the team in some ways." -- Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said in reference to Sherman, one of his best friends and former teammate dating back to their days at Stanford.
Salary-cap space: $10.66 million, according to the NFLPA salary cap report.
2018 draft picks: 1. RB Rashaad Penny (San Diego State); 3. DE Rasheem Green (USC); 4. TE Will Dissly (Washington); 5a. LB Shaquem Griffin (Central Florida); 5b. CB Tre Flowers (Oklahoma State); 5c. P Michael Dickson (Texas); 5d. OT Jamarco Jones (Ohio State); 6. DE Jacob Martin (Temple); 7. QB Alex McGough (Florida International)
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: LB Jake Pugh (Florida State), LB Emmanuel Beal (Oklahoma), LB Warren Long (Northwestern), DT Poona Ford (Texas), DT Eddy Wilson (Purdue), FB Khalid Hill (Michigan), OG Skyler Phillips (Idaho State), TE Clayton Wilson (Northwest Missouri State), WR Caleb Scott (Vanderbilt), LS Tanner Carew (Oregon)
Unrestricted free agents signed: S Bradley McDougald (Seattle), CB Byron Maxwell (Seattle), DE Marcus Smith (Seattle), CB Akeem King (Seattle), QB Austin Davis (Seattle), RB Mike Davis (Seattle), LB/DE Barkevious Mingo (Indianapolis), DT Tom Johnson (Minnesota), DT Shamar Stephen (Minnesota), CB Dontae Johnson (San Francisco), LB Dadi Nicolas (Kansas City), S Maurice Alexander (Rams), OG D.J. Fluker (Giants), TE Ed Dickson (Carolina), WR Brandon Marshall (Giants), WR Jaron Brown (Arizona), WR Damore'ea Stringfellow (Jets), WR Keenan Reynolds (Baltimore), K Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland), K Jason Myers (Jacksonville), FS Tevon Mutcherson, C Marcus Henry, OT Nick Callender, OG Avery Young
Players acquired via trade: WR Marcus Johnson (from Philadelphia)