DE Lawrence Jackson (Rd.1; 28 overall) – Jackson, who was widely thought to be one of the more complete defensive ends available in the draft, started 14 games and played in all 16 as a rookie and had an up-and-down season. He’s got all you could want from a physical standpoint, but there were concerns about his effort-level during some games. He was held without a tackle in three games and managed to post only 29 tackles and two sacks. He’ll battle with Darryl Tapp and rookie free agent Michael Bennett for the starting position opposite Patrick Kerney, but he needs to maximize his potential in order to avoid having the underachiever label being linked with his name.
TE John Carlson (2; 38) – When Carlson was available with the seventh selection in the second round Seattle was hard-pressed to get their card in to make the selection any faster than they did and he lived up to all the hype by posting 55 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns, all team highs. The Notre Dame product struggled some early in the season with drops, but as the season progressed he became a valuable safety-valve for Seattle’s quarterbacks. This season Carlson will be expected to build on his outstanding rookie season and to become a more consistent blocker, but with his work-ethic, that shouldn’t be a problem.
DT Red Bryant (4; 121) – Even though he only played in four games as a rookie and posted eight tackles, a lot is expected out of Bryant who has the size and talent to be a real force if the Seahawks can get him to notch up the intensity more. While at Texas A&M he was seen as a player with a ton of talent that wasn’t realized because he seemed to disappear at times. However he’s had a good offseason and appears to be poised for a breakout season for the Seahawks this fall.
FB Owen Schmitt (5; 163) – Schmitt was an instant legend because of his reputation for breaking helmets, but he wasn’t used much in 2008 due to the presence of Leonard Weaver. However Weaver now resides in Philadelphia, so Schmitt will battle veteran Justin Griffith for the starting fullback postion. He’s an underrated athlete, possessing soft hands and enough quickness to be a good short-yardage option in certain situations.
RB Justin Forsett (7; 233) – The diminutive back was initially placed on the team’s practice squad after a solid preseason, but then was signed by Indianapolis and played in four games for the Colts before being released and ending up back with Seattle, this time on their active roster, for the rest of the season. Playing in 11 games, Forsett managed to post a 9.9 yard average on 23 punt returns. In order to make the final roster Forsett would have to unseat one of the veterans ahead of him on the roster at the running back position and with WR Nate Burleson back healthy and able to return punts, he’s looking at long odds on making the final roster, but if he sticks he will likely be used in a multitude of ways.
K Brandon Coutu (7; 235) – The talented kicker from Georgia didn’t play for the Seahawks in 2008, but the staff liked him so much they kept him on the roster the entire season which is almost unheard of in today’s NFL. He’ll battle with 14-year veteran Olindo Mare who had an outstanding season in 2008 for the kicker position during training camp. Coutu has a strong leg, but struggles at times with his distance on kickoffs and that is probably the biggest reason that Mare ended up as the main kicker. This year that won’t happen again so the youngster will need to step up big time in August to wrestle a roster spot away from Mare.