Analysis: 5 most improved opponents on the Seahawks’ 2022 schedule
Amid organized team activities, the start of the regular season may seem distant for NFL fans. But with training camp just two months away, it won’t be long before the Seahawks and all 32 teams return to play in September.
After turning the page on the most successful extended run in franchise history, a Seattle rebuilding team faces a daunting schedule that includes non-conference games against the busy AFC West, tough games against the NFC South and, of course, six brutal competitions against divisional foes. .
Looking at the Seahawks’ schedule as a whole, which of their upcoming opponents has improved their roster the most since the start of the league’s new year leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft?
1. Denver Broncos
Most notable additions: Russell Wilson, Randy Gregory
Best draft pick: Nick Bonito
The most obvious upgraded team on Seattle’s schedule, the Broncos finally found a franchise quarterback seven years after Peyton Manning’s retirement by acquiring Russell Wilson from the Seahawks in a blockbuster trade in March. The nine-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer immediately gives them one of the best signallers in the league with a host of weapons on the outside, including fast receiver Jerry Jeudy, behind a strong offensive line anchored by tackle. Garrett Bolles. His arrival should transform them from a cellar dweller into a viable contender for the division title.
Wilson wasn’t the only big addition Denver made during free agency, either, as the team invested a five-year, $70 million deal in pass rusher Randy Gregory and bolstered its inside line by signing former 49ers defensive tackle DJ Jones. Even without a first-round pick, they landed another quality rusher by selecting Oklahoma’s Nik Bonitto in the second round to help hunt any talented quarterbacks found in the AFC West. This new roster may need time to gel, but no team has improved further at the sport’s most important position.
2. Las Vegas Adventurers
Most notable additions: Davante Adams, Chandler Jones
Best draft pick: Dylan Parham
Reuniting quarterback Derek Carr with his close friend and former Fresno State teammate, the Raiders dealt a first- and second-round pick to the Packers to acquire Davante Adams in March and signed him to a five-year extension from $140 million. Adams will join an offense that already includes dynamic tight end Darren Waller, standout slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and running back Josh Jacobs, giving Carr plenty of weapons at his disposal to lead the offense. from new coach Josh McDaniels.
Defensively, the Raiders doubled their assist, signing former All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones to a three-year, $51 million deal. Joining forces with rising superstar Maxx Crosby, they should have one of the best one-two running tandems in the NFL. While the team lost a few key starters in free agency and only made five picks in the draft, it was an out-of-the-box contender that only got better by adding arguably the best receiver. football and a high-level rushing force.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
Most notable additions:JC Jackson, Khalil Mack
Best draft pick: Sion Johnson
The Raiders weren’t the only AFC West team to build more around their franchise quarterback, as the Chargers took a slightly different route to fortify their roster to compete in the toughest division in the game. the league. After re-signing standout receiver Mike Williams to a new three-year deal, general manager Tom Telesco traded a second-round pick and future sixth-round pick to the Bears for Khalil Mack, bringing the former defensive back of the Year from the NFL West. team up with Joey Bosa. Days later, they splurged on their secondary by handing All-Pro cornerback JC Jackson a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Offensively, the Chargers used the draft to strengthen their offensive line and running game, selecting versatile guard Zion Johnson in the first round and using a third-round pick on sneaky fullback Isaiah Spiller. Both players have a good chance of starting at some point as rookies. Former Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett has also signed a one-year contract to catch passes for Justin Herbert and will face his two former employers in 2022.
4. New York Jets
Most notable additions: Laken Tomlinson, DJ Reed
Top draft picks: Ahmad Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson
After a disappointing first season under coach Robert Saleh, the Jets are suddenly looking like a sleeper to watch in the AFC East. Armed with two top-10 picks, including one they received from the Seahawks in the trade of Jamal Adams, they landed cornerback Ahmad Gardner with the fourth overall pick and gave quarterback Zach Wilson a another viable target by selecting receiver Garrett Wilson 10th overall. Later in the round, general manager Joe Douglas traded back to the first round for a third time and added defensive end Jermaine Johnson, providing the team with another talented passing thrower. In the second round, they also upped their running game by picking running back Breece Hall, who is expected to start on day one.
Far from killing him in the draft, the Jets also made some key additions in free agency. After a few good seasons with the 49ers, Tomlinson will join a much-improved offensive line as an inside anchor, while Reed is expected to start across from Gardner in a revised secondary. The key to a real turnaround will be Wilson’s development, but the front office has done what it takes to build around the young quarterback and give him the best chance of success.
5. New York Giants
Most notable additions: Mark Glowinski, Tyrod Taylor
Top draft picks: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal
Shaking up the roster with a new coach in Brian Daboll, the Giants took advantage of having two top-10 picks by attacking the trenches and strengthening two critical areas of need. Once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux should be an immediate starter in pursuit of Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts in the NFC East. Evan Neal, who started at both tackle positions as well as guard for Alabama, should be a staple on New York’s offensive line for years to come. Both players will be the building blocks of what the organization hopes will be a budding contender in the near future.
What’s stopping the Giants from being higher on this list? They still have Daniel Jones at quarterback and while Daboll may be able to do similar magic to what he did with Josh Allen and the Bills, he hasn’t proven to be anything more than a fringe starter. during its first three seasons. With salary cap issues, the franchise also hasn’t made many moves in free agency to improve the team, although former Seahawks guard Mark Glowinski should be a slight improvement in the inside offensive line protecting Jones.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Lions
Most notable additions: Deshon Elliot, DJ Chark
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Top draft picks: Aidan Hutchinson, Jameson Williams
Like the Giants, the Lions haven’t necessarily made a splash in free agency and they still have some long-term questions at quarterback with Jared Goff returning for a second year as a starter. But coach Dan Campbell has an exciting young team to work with and after a strong end to the 2021 season, the arrival of passing rush phenom Aidan Hutchinson and lightning-fast receiver Jameson Williams as first-round picks could help the team push for a playoff spot sooner than expected.
Ultimately, with Williams possibly missing part of his rookie year after a torn ACL and notable holes on the roster yet to be filled, Detroit likely remains a year or two out of the competition. But with players buying what Campbell sells and plenty of intriguing young pieces on both sides of the ball, this will be a team no one wants to play in 2022.
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