Successfully defending a Super Bowl title is one of the hardest things to do in sports. The last team to do so was the New England Patriots in 2004, and the task has become even more difficult with an increased level of parity in the NFL.
The 2013 Seattle Seahawks are one of the youngest teams to ever win the Super Bowl, and many feel they have a good chance to defend their title in 2014. It appears that the Seahawks are built for the future but will have a few holes to fill this offseason if they want to lift the Lombardi again. Here are five players the Seahawks could acquire through free agency or the NFL draft that would help them defend the title.
Jace Amaro, TE
One of the toughest questions facing the Seahawks this offseason is what to do with Zach Miller. Miller’s cap number for 2014 is $7 million. He is not a huge part of Seattle’s passing game, and the Seahawks have an intriguing prospect in Luke Willson ready to emerge. What Miller brings to the team is excellent blocking ability to help spring the Seahawks’ run-first offense. The front office will have to decide if blocking is worth that much money.
More than one mock draft has the Seahawks moving on from Miller and taking a tight end in the first round. Eric Ebron will be gone by that point, leaving Amaro as the most likely candidate. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Amaro has an incredible blend of size, speed and strength that helped him break the single-season receiving yards record for a tight end in 2013 at Texas Tech.
Amaro is also a good blocker, with the potential to become great with more coaching. He could be a tremendous offensive weapon and make an immediate impact with the Seahawks.
Arthur Jones, DE
The Seahawks don’t figure to be a major player in free agency this offseason. Seattle has a number of young stars that will be getting paid soon enough and a few critical pieces to re-sign.
In an ideal world, the Seahawks would be able to bring back defensive end Michael Bennett. If Bennett heads elsewhere, defensive line might be the one place Seattle would be willing to spend money on a big-name free agent.
Jones, coming off of an outstanding year with the Baltimore Ravens, would make sense as that big name. He’s a 3-4 five-tech defensive end with the ability to control the line of scrimmage and could be an important piece in replacing the versatility of Bennett.
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT
Defensive tackle will be just as much of a priority this offseason as defensive end. Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald are both free agents, with the latter almost certain to sign elsewhere. The Seahawks like to use a large rotation of defensive linemen, and will likely build depth through both free agency and the draft.
One of the most intriguing defensive tackle prospects is Ra’Shede Hageman out of Minnesota. At 6-foot-6, 310 pounds with long arms, Hageman was an absolute monster on the line of scrimmage for the Golden Gophers. His talent is a bit raw, but Hageman has the upside to make an impact on opposing offenses right away.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR
One of the most important pieces that could help the Seahawks defend their title is a big, physical receiver. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Benjamin appears to be the most physically imposing receiver in the draft or free agency. Benjamin gained notoriety at Florida State late in the year with a huge performance in the ACC Championship game and the game-winning catch in the national championship. He figures to go in the late first round.
The Seahawks didn’t have a receiver over 6-foot-2 for most of last year. Sidney Rice is already gone, and Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin could follow. Benjamin could fill a need and make a quick impact as a big target for Russell Wilson.
Brandin Cooks, WR
What if the Seahawks went in a different direction at receiver? Cooks is a smaller, lightning-fast receiver and ran a 4.33 40 at the combine. The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner torched Pac-12 defenses for 2,881 yards and 21 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
One comparison for Cooks out of college is Percy Harvin. Having Cooks and Harvin on the same field could provide some intriguing options for the Seahawks offense.
Bonus: Jimmy Graham, TE
This has little chance of happening in reality, but Adam Schefter recently tweeted that the Seahawks should offer two first-round picks for Graham. Seattle is unlikely willing to spend picks and a ton of money on Graham, who is not a good blocking tight end. But it’s fun to think about an offense with Harvin, Graham and Marshawn Lynch anyway.
Photo Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press
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