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April 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

La Confora asks questions about the Seahawks, we try to answer

Not a ton of Seahawks-related links out there this morning.

But there is this story from CBSSport.com’s Jason La Confora from a couple of days ago in which he asks a few questions about each team prior to the NFL Draft.

As a rainy Sunday morning exercise, I figured I’d give my best guess at answers to each of La Confora’s questions

So here we go:

Question 1: Can anyone repeat in the NFL anymore? It’s a daunting proposition but one this loaded team just might be ready to meet.

My answer: No doubt it is really tough to repeat, something we will delve into in a lot more detail as the season approaches as it is the overriding storyline of Seattle’s 2014 season. In the Super Bowl¬† era, nine teams have repeated. Only two, though, have repeated since the dawning of full free agency in 1993, the main thing that has made it more difficult for teams to do something such as replicate the dominance of the 1960s Packers or 1970s Steelers — the 1997-98 Broncos and the 2003-04 New England Patriots. Each was led by legendary, first-ballot Hall of Fame QBs — John Elway and Tom Brady. Russell Wilson this week made some headlines when he said he wants to be the best QB ever (something he’s said before but which for whatever reason got some traction this week). Winning two Super Bowls in his first three seasons — something no QB has done — would go a long way toward putting him in the same rarefied air as guys like Brady and Elway. And with Seattle’s free agent losses — which on paper mean the team could have a smaller margin for error in 2014 than it had in 2013 — the onus could fall even more on Wilson to lead the way. Can he do it? So far he’s shown no reason to doubt him.

Question 2, Which of their core of deserving players — Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Russell Okung — gets his contract extension first?

My answer: Thomas. He’s the most logical to do first, and there have also been reports that the team is focused on getting him done first. While indications are that nothing is imminent, as I wrote the other day, I don’t think that means something can’t happen relatively quickly. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hinted loudly Friday to expect some more news this off-season regarding the team’s core players. It wouldn’t be a surprise if something happened with Thomas between now and the NFL Draft, May 8-10.

Question 3: How many drafts picks are devoted to restocking the interior of the defensive line — an area that took a hit in free agency?

My answer: La Confora accurately states that the area that took the biggest hit in the off-season was the defensive line, where Seattle lost Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Clinton McDonald while not yet signing anyone despite trying to bring in the likes of Jason Hatcher and Jared Allen. Still, while Seattle did try to sign a few free agents, the Seahawks’ brain trust seems pretty confident in a lot of its young players to progress and fill in the gaps, notably Greg Scruggs, Benson Mayowa, Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill, all of whom apparently will be healthy this season (all but Mayowa battled injuries in 2013). The Seahawks, though, are all about depth up front — even last year, after signing three significant defensive line free agents, the Seahawks then drafted two more in Williams and Hill. At the moment, Seattle has fewer picks than a year ago — seven compared to last year’s 11 — so it will be forced to be a little more selective. But knowing what we know today — meaning that at the moment, the Seahawks haven’t signed any free agent DLs, which could still happen as there are a few depth guys remaining — I’d guess Seattle drafts at least one DL with no surprise if it takes two.

Question 4: Can GM John Schneider continue his wizardry in the draft? I see no reason why not, given his impeccable draft record.

My answer: I’d give the same answer as La Confora — at the moment, the Carroll/Schneider regime deserves every benefit of the doubt when it comes to personnel issues. As it stands today, though, it’ll be even more of a challenge as the Seahawks have just two of the first 132 picks — No’s 32 and 64 — with the third-rounder traded to Minnesota a year ago as part of the Percy Harvin trade. And as noted, at the moment Seattle has just seven picks. The Seahawks have had nine or more in each of the first four drafts under the Schneider/Carroll regime.

Question 5: Can Percy Harvin stay healthy for an entire season and really boost the offensive explosiveness?

My answer: It’s always risky to give definitive answers about someone’s health. But the good news is that the Super Bowl appeared to show that Harvin’s hip issues were in the past. Harvin has played just three games since Nov. 4, 2012, so when the 2014 season rolls around, he should be pretty fresh. Certainly, the team is counting on a full, healthy year out of Harvin, witness some of the comments we’ve heard from Carroll and Schneider during the off-season, and the team will need it to help make up for some of the production lost with the departure of Golden Tate.

Question 6:  How good of a fit could free agent TE Jermichael Finley be in this offense if healthy and signed? I think he is another nice piece of the puzzle there still waiting to be added.

My answer: As was well documented, the Seahawks brought in Finley for a visit, but did not sign him after a physical revealed he is not yet healthy after having had spinal-fusion surgery in October. Sounds like it could be a few months before he would get cleared to play, so any signing isn’t likely to happen soon. But if he gets healthy, it would appear Seattle is in good position to sign him if it wants. Seattle appears pretty well-stocked at tight end with Zach Miller and Luke Willson returning, Anthony McCoy back after missing 2013 with an injury, and having also signed former New York Giant Travis Beckum. But Finley could be an intriguing late addition, no, uh, question about it.

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