Seahawks Insider

Post-draft depth chart: Linebackers

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on June 6, 2014 at 2:18 am with 21 Comments »
June 6, 2014 2:32 am
Bobby Wagner celebrates a Super Bowl win. / AP photo
Bobby Wagner celebrates a Super Bowl win. / AP photo

Let’s move on to the first defensive unit in our series.

Seattle’s linebackers — like much of the team — are exceptionally young. Bobby Wagner is 23 years old (he’ll turn 24 later this month). K.J. Wright is 24 (he’ll turn 25 in late July). Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith is 24 (he will turn 25 in July). Rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis is 22. Bruce Irvin is the old man among those listed as linebackers at age 26.

Irvin is also the biggest question mark, at this point. Looking lost at times last season when he transitioned to linebacker, Irvin’s role in the Seattle defense appears to be reverting back to full-time rush end and less linebacker. We include him in this intro because he’s still technically listed as a linebacker. Though, we’ll leave him out of the depth chart, since he’s expected to be a LEO again.

So, to the group:

K.J. Wright
Bobby Wagner
Malcolm Smith
Overview: Wright and Smith played strongside and weakside last season as injuries warranted. In this set up, Smith would likely be the strongside backer with Wright and his coverage skills on the weakside. Wagner has compiled 260 tackles in his two seasons and appear to just be getting started. Smith made two of the biggest interceptions in franchise history last year, including hauling in Richard Sherman’s tip during the Immaculate Deflection. The trio of Smith, Wagner and Wright will make a combined $2,857,618 in base salary next season. Smith and Wright can become unrestricted free agents in 2015. Wagner can become an UFA in 2016.

Primary backups
Kevin Pierre-Louis (R)
Heath Farwell
Korey Toomer
Overview: Rookie Pierre-Louis played two years as a weakside linebacker for Boston College before being moved to strongside his final season. He’s been working at weakside in OTAs with Toomer as a strongside. Toomer, coming off a knee injury, has drawn praise from Pete Carroll during OTAs. The veteran Farwell will be pushed by Mike Taylor in the middle.

On the outside looking in
Mike Morgan
Brock Coyle
Horace Miller
(We’re putting O’Brien Schofield in that same LEO spot)
Overview: Morgan has weakside and special teams experience, but will be pressed for his spot by younger players this year. He’s primarily used for special teams and expendable. Out of Montana, Coyle is a linebacker many thought would be drafted. The Seahawks were able to bring him in for rookie minicamp as an undrafted free agent. The Seahawks signed Miller, out of UTEP, after extending him a tryout invite to rookie minicamp.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. Hawks85 says:

    Can’t wait to see what this trio can do next season. Smith should have been starting over BI all last season, and KJ probably will be healthy all year. Wagner just keeps getting better, and better. Him, and Wright getting extended would be huge.

  2. Macabrevity says:

    KJ is one of my favorite Hawks. I loved that guy the instant he erased the pain of the Aaron Curry pick, but he just seems to get better every season. Guy is a serious stud. I like the whole group, but KJ is KJ…

  3. montanamike2 says:

    I’m glad Irvin is moving back to leo, i hope we can keep Wagner and Wright long term. Smith made some big plays in the playoffs but i think a lot of it was the system, i’m not knocking him because he’s good, but i think the other two are more indispensable.

  4. joeradio says:

    The only real concern I have defensively is our D-line. The LB crew should make another huge leap this season, but I think losing Clem, Big Red and Clinton were the biggest hits.

    Locking up KJ and BWags would be great. I like Smith, but not for big bucks. It seems like the kid from BC is a clone. I’m also really interested to see what all the hype is re: Toomer. I was pretty intrigued by his speed a few years back, but with his injuries, I can’t recall seeing him much.

    As far as Irvin goes, I think the experience he’s gotten at LB will serve him well, but it does seem like he and Benson will be competing (along with Jeffcoat?) will be competing for that LEO spot.

    I’m delighted to see our team back in action. The town hall meeting was cool, all the interviews, really everything that is Seahawks right now is pretty compelling stuff. If you thought 12th man was huge up until now, just wait.


  5. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Smith was the most impressive defensive player to me down the stretch.

    Irvin was the least.

  6. I view our starting LBs as an elite group. However, the “depth” is quite scary at this point for me. There is some talent, which is good, but I’m nervous as heck if one of our starters has to miss an extended period. There was a time last year when I thought this team would be better served with KJ at MLB and Smith starting but, Holy Cow, Wagner is the best and most important LB, imo.

  7. jawpeace says:

    Too bad Gus Bradley snatched up that good looking LB last year who was hitting real hard and flying all over in preason, made the opening roster and was cut around week three or four, in hopes to then get him to the practice squad. I think his name was Hart and he was a RB in college? Anyways I liked what he showed last preseason and would be nice to have him as depth this year.

  8. Singularitarian says:

    Was there something that came out saying Bruce Irvin was not going to be a linebacker this year. Everything I have heard indicates he’ll be playing old early downs and on the line on 3rd down. But everyone is saying he’s going back to Leo now

  9. Ken Norton Jr’s interview on KJR said BI was sticking at LB on 1st & 2nd downs, and would move to LEO on 3rd and long. He likes him at LB. Has something changed since then?

  10. Singularitarian says:

    Old is OLB. Damn auto correct

  11. BWags is good now and has potential to be a Willis/Bowman type beast, perhaps sooner rather than later. KJ Wright with his superior coverage skills and blitzing ability is one of those underrated guys like Doug Baldwin that we may be able to sign at a reasonable price since there is not too much hype out on him around the league.

    I like Smith, and was super impressed with his play during the stretch run and in the playoffs. However, part of me feels like he is replaceable, since the front 4 and LOB do a lot of the heavy lifting.
    As long as our Will has good speed and decent hands he should be able to get in there and make some plays. Smith may be one of those that needs to be released because we just can’t sign all of our guys, even though we like him a lot.

  12. I say we trade SB MVP Smith to the Patriots for their 1st in 2015, then give them a 4th to get him back in 2016.

  13. Singularitarian says:

    there is a lot of hype about KJR around the league. When Jimmy Graham gets shut down twice people start watching film to figure out why. He is fast and versital, and he plays on the number 1 defense in the league which every team is trying to copycat. Gus Bradley would be happy to pay him good starter money. He won’t be taking a bargain deal with Seattle because “nobody knows about him”

  14. My off season crystal ball previously predicted 32 year old Heath Farwell and his $1.7m salary are cut before the season starts – I still believe this will happen. Korey Toomer, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Mike Taylor are all younger and cheaper options.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    I completely disagree that Irvin looked “lost at most times” last season at Sam. And until he’s actually placed back at DE not including him as a “primary backup” is silly. And LEO? Weakside DE is not a LEO unless they are in an under front, which Seattle has used less each year Carroll has been here.

  16. seatowntp says:

    Congratulations to Richard Sherman – one hot commodity in the NFL!

  17. Ray_Maines says:

    RS really is good at life. He’s got fifty years to go, but he’s off to a good start. I don’t think Skip Bayless has ever been on the cover of anything has he?

  18. Well, I hope people stop talking about KJ Wright, because he has some unique skills and I want him back on the team at a decent price.

    I agree that Farwell will be released, Toomer is looking good and we have a few other guys like Schofield, Morgan and Pierre-Louis that they can plug in there for ST and backup LB.

  19. DFloydd says:

    Wasn’t Irvin the reason CK couldn’t run on the Hawks D in the 2nd half if the NFCCG? Thought I read somewhere he spyed CK and basically shut down his running lanes the rest of the game forcing him to make mistakes. Bruce is FAST

  20. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Speaking of fast, the Seahawk’s have the fastest linebacker group in the NFL.

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