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Seahawks head to combine with draft needs

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider, co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer and the rest of the club’s talent evaluators – as well as those from every team in the NFL – are converging this week in Indianapolis for the league’s annual meat market, the NFL scouting combine. As with the other teams, the Seahawks are going looking to fill multiple needs in this year’s draft.

Much is made of the combine, as every year a player or two goes through the workouts with stunning results and lifts his draft status. Sometimes those “workout warriors” go on to NFL stardom. Other times, they turn into NFL busts.

Fitterer told the Seahawks’ website this week that he looks for workouts to validate what he has seen previously on game film. “What that can do is either confirm what you’ve seen on tape, or it can make you go back to the tape,” Fitterer told www.seahawks.com. “It can make you question, ‘Hey, I thought he was faster, I thought he was more explosive.’ It will lead you back to the tape, it makes you ask more questions. You go back and say, ‘What am I missing on tape? OK, I see that now, I see he’s not as explosive as I thought.’ That type of testing just leads us back to the tape.”

In Indianapolis this week, the Seahawks will be evaluating talent to potentially fill several needs on both sides of the ball, including:

Offensive line

Early in the 2015 season, the Seahawks’ offensive line was a joke, allowing 31 sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson through the first seven games, and if not for Wilson’s magical escape abilities while running for his life, it could have been 40 or more. Things got better the last nine games, as Wilson was sacked just 14 times and the Seahawks offense stood out in November and December as one of the NFL’s best. Left tack Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy will be free agents, and Okung, in particular, looks to be too expensive to keep.

Defensive line

A strength of the club for several years running now, the interior line might need overhauling with Ahtyba Rubin and Brandon Mebane scheduled to hit free agency. Rubin will likely get an offer, but Mebane will be too pricey to keep, particularly with his recent injury history. Edge rusher Bruce Irvin is another free agent, so the ‘Hawks will definitely keep their eyes open for a pass rusher.

Running back

Despite long-time star Marshawn Lynch retiring, the Seahawks are in good position at running back with last year’s breakout rookie, Thomas Rawls. However, Rawls is recovering from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the final few games of the regular season, and today’s NFL almost requires teams to have multiple threats at running back. While the Seahawks won’t be looking to draft a running back with an early pick, they will be looking at the combine for a late-round selection or a possible free agent in the mold of Rawls.

Defensive back

In today’s NFL, you can never have enough quality defensive backs, and the Seahawks will likely need a replacement for free agent Jeremy Lane. In the past several offseason, opposing NFL teams have coveted Seahawk DB free agents, overpaying in salary and up-front money; look for Lane to get paid.

Photo Credit:  Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

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Ray Hartjen

A Public Relations pro by day, by night @RayHartjen follows parallel - yet somehow still often conflicting - paths searching for hair metal guitar legend status, a career as a journeyman 4th line center in the NHL, and the treasured laminates to be a hanger-on in the circus that is Formula 1.
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