Which Seahawks are you most excited to watch this preseason?

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The Seattle Seahawks are playing an actual football game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Preseason is almost like a game of Whose Line is it Anyway? in that the points don’t matter, but performances do. Russell Wilson’s awesome August ended the Matt Flynn era before it even began. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett dazzled both in the passing game and special teams. Thomas Rawls went from UDFA to possibly the team’s current #1 running back. We got a glimpse of what Earl Thomas would soon become in the 2010 side’s third preseason matchup, as he returned a Brett Favre pass all the way for a touchdown.

Who’s at the top of your list of Seahawks players to watch for the 2017 preseason? The big names and regular starters are ones I automatically disregard, as we’re really mostly focusing on roster battles more than anything else. I have four players in mind whom I can’t wait to see on the gridiron over the next 19 days.

Shaquill Griffin

There’s been plenty of buzz about Griffin’s performances in training camp. With Jeremy Lane on the mend and Deshawn Shead not ready to start the season, this is Quill’s opportunity to cement his place as a starter. What I’m really hoping is that Griffin can become a ball hawk (no pun intended). Here are the number of interceptions (postseason included) Seahawks defensive backs not named Sherman, Chancellor, or Thomas have managed in the LOB era:

2011 – 7 (Browner 6, Trufant 1)
2012 – 3 (Browner 3)
2013 – 6 (Maxwell 4, Thurmond 1, Browner 1)
2014 – 6 (Maxwell 3, Simon 1, Burley 1, Lane 1)
2015 – 4 (Lane 2, Shead 1, Burley 1)
2016 – 1 (Shead)

I’m not arguing that a weakened secondary is the reason for the drop in interceptions, but it certainly doesn’t help. I’m really interested in what Griffin can bring to the table, because he may turn out to be the CB2 that the Seahawks have been looking for.

Bradley McDougald

McDougald is a versatile player who can play corner if needed, but he’ll be focused on filling either safety position. Based off of training camp talk, we could see him in three-safety looks and have a significant role in the Legion of Boom, in addition to special teams. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer is on a one-year, $2 million deal, so there’s little risk and high upside to this move.

I’m all about improved secondary depth, especially after the Steven Terrell nightmare, and McDougald is supposed to provide exactly that.

Amara Darboh

The Seahawks wide receiver group is in an interesting state. After Doug Baldwin, you’re left with Tyler Lockett (question mark coming off serious injury), Jermaine Kearse (didn’t play well in 2016), Paul Richardson (free agent after this season and with a history of injury problems), and Tanner McEvoy (Tanner McEvoy). Darboh was Michigan’s leading receiver for both catches and touchdowns in 2016, and he was on my pre-draft radar before the Seahawks actually drafted him.

Darboh’s place on the roster through this season is 99.9% certain, it’s just a matter of where he’ll be in the pecking order. Against the Chargers, it’ll mostly be Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis throwing to him, then Russell Wilson will have more playing time over the next two weeks. I hope Darboh thrives right away or at least is no worse than a WR4, because there are varying degrees of uncertainty with essentially every non-Baldwin receiver on the roster.

Chris Carson

Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Prosise are all safe. I don’t see the need for the Seahawks to have five running backs on the roster, so the battle is between Alex Collins and Chris Carson. Collins performed much better in the final handful of games last season, but he’s still a distant 4th on the depth chart. There’s been nothing but praise from coaches and players (and our own writing team) about the Oklahoma State rookie throughout the offseason.

How can you not want to watch more of this?

Eddie Lacy is on a one-year contract. It’s very possible that the future is Rawls/Prosise/Carson depending on how the season unfolds. There’s been a lot of hype for the seventh-round pick, and we’ll soon find out if it’s justified.

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