RENTON, Wash. -- Draft another Damien Lewis.
That would be the most cost-effective option for the Seattle Seahawks to appease their franchise quarterback and improve the pass protection that faltered late in the season, one of several reasons for their offensive nosedive.
Lewis had his own struggles at the end of the year, but his rookie season was a success, as he played the most (967 snaps) and arguably the best of Seattle's eight-man draft class. The third-round selection out of LSU (No. 69 overall) grabbed a hold of the starting job at right guard in training camp despite no on-field offseason work to ease his transition from college. He started every game, including one at center, and finished the season ranked second among rookie guards in ESPN's Pass Block Win Rate at 91%. It earned Lewis a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
"Damien had a terrific season to play ... almost every snap of the year," coach Pete Carroll said. "He's going to be a fantastic football player. He's a great championship kid, too. Tough as hell. Really smart. You can truly count on the guy. Awesome."
Here's a look at the rookie seasons for the Seahawks' seven other draft picks (with snap counts from Pro Football Reference) and how they might fit into Seattle's 2021 plans:
First round, No. 27 overall
Defensive snaps: 367
Brooks played sparingly the first two weeks as a backup, then suffered a knee injury in his first career start, sidelining him for two games. Once he returned, Brooks showed why the Seahawks made him their latest surprise first-round pick. He added much-needed speed to Seattle's defense and paired it with physicality to finish by making at least eight tackles in four of the final six games. The Seahawks subbed Brooks out in nickel situations but didn't draft him where they did to keep him in a part-time role. They'll want to play him more going forward, which could impact how far they're willing to go to re-sign veteran K.J. Wright.
DE Darrell Taylor
Second round, No. 48 overall
Defensive snaps: Zero
Taylor spent the entire season on the non-football injury list after the Seahawks badly misjudged his recovery time from January surgery. He had a titanium rod inserted into his lower leg after playing through a stress fracture during his final college season. The Seahawks, who got an up-close look at Taylor and his medical situation during a pre-draft visit, considered taking him in the first round but instead traded up to take him in the second, believing he'd be ready in time to help their pass rush as a rookie. But he didn't start practicing until the week of their wild-card loss.
Carroll's comments at the end of the season about how Taylor might have played had Seattle advanced to the divisional round indicate that, at the very least, this isn't another Malik McDowell situation.
"We finally got a chance to see Darrell Taylor on the [practice] field," Carroll said after the wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Rams. "He's going to be a big factor, there's no doubt. Physically and speed-wise and athletically, he's going to be a big factor. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get him healthier earlier in the year ... He might have played this next week, too. Unfortunately we don't get to see that. But that's how well he looked in practice."
Fourth round, No. 133 overall
Offensive snaps: 51
Given how loaded Seattle was at tight end, Parkinson might have had a hard time making an immediate impact even if he had been healthy all year. But he broke his foot over the summer, forcing him to miss the first six games. Parkinson (two catches for 16 yards in six games) should have an easier path to playing time in 2021, with Greg Olsen retired and free-agent-to-be Jacob Hollister potentially leaving, too.
Fourth round, No. 144 overall
Offensive snaps: 146
Drafted as a third-down, change-of-pace back, Dallas was forced into a starting role for two games after Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were injured in Week 7. He rushed for two touchdowns but averaged under 3 yards on 25 carries, then gave way to Alex Collins the following week. Dallas looked more dangerous as a pass-catcher (17 receptions, 111 yards, TD) than a runner (34 carries, 108 yards, two TDs) in 12 games before an ankle injury ended his season. He isn't expected to be a factor on early downs next season regardless of what happens with pending free agents Carson, Hyde and Collins.
Fifth round, No. 148 overall
Defensive snaps: 336
Robinson's four sacks were second among rookies, with only No. 2 overall pick Chase Young (7.5) besting him. Robinson's 16 pressures were third behind Young (35) and K'Lavon Chaisson (23), another first-round pick, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Seahawks have seen defensive ends Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier take second-year jumps after producing less as rookies than Robinson did. They could use a similar jump from Robinson, especially if they're unable to keep Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa and/or Bruce Irvin.
Sixth round, No. 214 overall
Offensive snaps: 351
Swain's modest production -- 14 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns, including playoffs -- looks better with the appropriate context. He was taken with the last pick of the sixth round, didn't have a normal offseason to overcome one of the steeper learning curves at any position and was drafted into a strong receiver corps. It had redshirt rookie season written all over it. Yet Swain carved out a role as Seattle's fourth receiver and appeared in every game. He impressed the organization with his blue-collar mentality -- playing hurt, competing on special teams and embracing his place in the pecking order behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks believe Swain will be a steady player in that complementary role for several years. He could be Seattle's third receiver in 2021 with David Moore headed into free agency.
TE/DE Stephen Sullivan
Seventh round, No. 251 overall
Defensive snaps: 22
It's unclear why the Seahawks didn't retain Sullivan's rights after the season, which made him eligible to sign with Carolina. He seemed to remain in the Seahawks' plans for 2021 after spending most of his rookie year on their practice squad. They drafted him as a developmental tight end but began working him at defensive end, where he played in his lone appearance, making one tackle. Sullivan finished the year on practice squad IR after needing surgery for a core-muscle injury. Carroll said he would return to tight end next year, but Sullivan wasn't among the players Seattle signed to a futures contract when the season ended. In Carolina, he'll reunite with former Seahawks VP of football operations Scott Fitterer, the Panthers' new general manager.