It's time for another Seattle Seahawks mailbag. Let's get right to the questions.
@SheilKapadia Can the Hawks succeed with a RB by committee approach or should they feature one of Lacy, Rawls, Prosise?— Cody Othoudt (@CodyOthoudt) March 31, 2017
It's clear that the organization wanted to make running back a priority in free agency. The Seahawks showed interest in Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Latavius Murray before signing Eddie Lacy. And while Lacy is the favorite to be the featured back here, there is certainly some wiggle room in terms of roles, for a couple reasons.
No. 1, Lacy has to prove himself in terms of weight and conditioning. Since entering the league, he has averaged just 3.61 YPC in the fourth quarter and overtime. That ranks 46th out of 67 qualifying players. Pete Carroll has stated often that his preference is to go with more than one back, but during his time in Seattle, that's usually been unnecessary because he had Marshawn Lynch.
But the Seahawks will want to keep Lacy fresh for the fourth quarter, when they will be trying to wear defenses down. That should mean a healthy dose of Thomas Rawls. The biggest thing Rawls has going for him is that his No. 1 fan in the building is the head coach. Carroll is the one who wanted to sign Rawls as a rookie free agent in 2015, and by all accounts, he views last season as a wash.
"Two broken legs since the last time he played," Carroll said of Rawls. "Broke a leg, got it repaired, came back, broke a leg again. Different break. He’s going to be extraordinarily different, just the way that he’s stepped into the offseason. He’s fit and ready to go. Last offseason, he was in a boot, on crutches and limping."
As for C.J. Prosise, he is easily the best receiving weapon of the three and will be in the game in most passing situations.
To answer your question, Lacy is in line to be the featured back, but the roles will be determined by performance, and all three guys should be a factor.
@SheilKapadia Do you believe the FO has added enough is free agency to truely make their draft board "wide open"?— Kevin White (@KevinErikWhite) March 31, 2017
One thing I appreciate about GM John Schneider is that he readily acknowledges that need factors into draft decisions. However, he's also quick to point out that reaching for specific positions can lead to disastrous results.
With the additions of Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, combined with the expected growth of guys on the roster, I think the Seahawks feel like they're competitive enough on the offensive line to not have to reach in the draft.
Looking at the roster, the areas of need are offensive tackle, cornerback, pass-rusher and tight end. This is not a strong draft for offensive tackles, and unless someone like Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk slides, the Seahawks probably won't draft that position early. The draft is loaded with corners, and someone like Washington's Kevin King could make sense if he's on the board at No. 26. Cornerback is the position most likely to marry need with talent in this draft.
And the only tight end on the roster signed past 2017 is Nick Vannett.
As for the X factors, wide receiver stands out. Jermaine Kearse is coming off a down year. Tyler Lockett is coming back from a serious injury. And Paul Richardson is entering the final year of his contract.
So overall, yes, I think the draft board is more wide open than it was in previous years.
@SheilKapadia 2017 Seahawks: More competitive than 2016? Are they a SB contender?— Manzell B (@ManzellBeezy) March 23, 2017
Wilson didn't miss a start in 2016 but clearly was hampered by the knee, ankle and pectoral injuries. If he's healthy and nothing else changes from last year, the Seahawks are a better team. The same goes for Thomas on the other side of the ball. The defense fell apart when he went down with the leg injury. Thomas is on track to be ready for Week 1, and the rest of the defensive starters -- aside from part-time SAM linebacker Mike Morgan -- are expected to be back.
The offensive line has to come together, and the Seahawks need to manage the Richard Sherman situation, given recent trade talks. But overall, they are among a handful of Super Bowl favorites.