The Seattle Seahawks entered the next step of the offseason with the start of Organized Team Activities at the VMAC in Renton on Tuesday.
After five weeks of conditioning exercises and individual player instruction, OTAs provide the first opportunity for team drills. The Seahawks completed the first two days of OTAs before receiving a day off on Thursday and will hold eight more before June 11.
There’s only so much that can be learned from noncontact drills four months before the season starts and several notable players were missing from the voluntary workouts. Still, there are a few important takeaways from the first two days of OTAs.
Early position battles
While spots on the depth chart are certainly up for grabs, the Seahawks don’t have too many starting roles to decide before the beginning of the season. In particular, the depth chart on the offensive line is far from set in stone.
After trading Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints and not adding Stefen Wisniewski in free agency, the plan at center isn’t exactly clear. Lemuel Jeanpierre is getting first-team reps over Patrick Lewis for now due to his experience with Seattle’s system, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
One more name to keep an eye on in the interior offensive line is sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli. The Seahawks are attempting to convert the extremely athletic Sokoli from the defensive line and have been getting some work for him at center in the early days of OTAs.
Elsewhere, Will Blackmon looks like he will be the starter at nickel back for training camp and possibly some of the regular season as Jeremy Lane recovers from multiple serious injuries. The prognoses with Lane’s torn ACL is good, but his broken arm suffered another setback earlier in the week.
Christine Michael’s big chance
Michael, the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch at running back, hasn’t had much of a chance to showcase his big potential yet. While that is partly due to injury, it seems like Michael should have received more touches at this point if he was really ready to be even a No. 2 running back, meaning there might be something else the coaching staff is looking for from him.
With Lynch absent and Robert Turbin recovering from hip surgery, this offseason represents a huge chance for Michael. Michael has received all the first-team carries so far and Carroll reiterated that this was Michael’s time to prove himself.
Carroll added that the team was looking for more consistency from Michael. There’s no denying Michael is explosive and athletic, but he he needs to show more this season.
While the Seahawks don’t like to think of OTAs as voluntary, several key players were missing from the first session. Lynch, Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett were no-shows, Cliff Avril was away to attend the funeral of his father, while Earl Thomas and Brandon Mebane were among those still recovering from injury.
The most surprising absent player was Wilson, who isn’t one to miss a team workout for something like a contract dispute. In a kind gesture, Wilson accompanied his brand new teammate Graham to the funeral of Tamara Meyerson, Graham’s manager and mentor.
Expect most of those players to be back soon or at least when they are healthy. Don’t count on seeing much of Lynch, Irvin or Bennett this offseason.
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