Seattle defense, position by position

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the Seattle Seahawks defensive depth might look going into training camp, including the 2014 draft choices and rookie free agent signees, and how they might fit it. The rookies are in all caps.

Defensive ends

Starters: Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril

Backups: Greg Scruggs and Benson Mayowa, CASSIUS MARSH, Kenneth Boatright

Comment: Marsh, a fourth-round pick from UCLA, will get a chance to move in front of Scruggs and Mayowa as part of the pass-rush rotation. Coaches say Mayowa put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason.

Defensive tackles

Starters: Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel

Backups: Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, JIMMY STATEN, ANDRU PULU, D’Anthony Smith.

Comment: Williams missed all of last season as a rookie with a knee injury, but could step up and play a lot. Staten, a fifth-round draft choice, looked promising in rookie camp. Pulu, a rookie free agent from Eastern Washington, could be a surprise. He was a big-time recruit when he signed with Washington out of high school, but was kicked off the team after an off-campus fighting incident.

Outside linebackers

Starters: K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin

Backups: Malcolm Smith, Mike Morgan, O’Brien Schofield, KEVIN PIERRE-LOUIS, BROCK COYLE, Korey Toomer, Mike Taylor

Comment: Irvin needs to step up here. Smith, the Super Bowl MVP, will continue to get more playing time. Pierre-Louis, a fourth-round pick, likely will be a special-teams contributor this season, but could play at the Will LB. Toomer had an excellent rookie camp, even though he’s technically a third-year player. He spent his first two seasons on IR, but could be a contributor in 2014.

Middle linebacker

Starter: Bobby Wagner

Backup: Heath Farwell

Comment: Wright also can play inside and probably would start if Wagner was hurt, as he did a few games last season. Farwell is the team’s special-teams captain and a valued veteran.


Starters: Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell

Backups: Jeremy Lane, Tharold Simon ERIC PINKINS, Phillip Adams, Akeem Auguste, A.J. Jefferson

Comment: Lane likely will be the slot corner in nickel. He also is the best punt coverage gunner in the NFL. Pinkins (6-3, 220) is a sixth-round pick who the Seahawks are moving from safety to cornerback. He struggled at times in rookie camp trying to learn press coverage, but it’s all new for him. Simon was injured last year as a rookie, but another big corner (6-2, 200) that the Seahawks love.

Strong safeties

Starter: Kam Chancellor

Backups: Jeron Johnson, DeShawn Shead, DION BAILEY, Terrance Parks

Comment: Chancellor had hip surgery in early March, but should be ready to go early in training camp. Johnson missed most of last season with hamstring injuries, but he’s a quality backup. Shead also can play corner and will see time at the nickel back. Bailey is a rookie free agent who was physical enough to play some OLB at USC.

Free safeties

Starter: Earl Thomas

Backups: Johnson, Chandler Fenner

Comment: Thomas is the best of the best, but the Seahawks are thin here after losing Chris Maragos to Philadelphia in free agency. Fenner is listed as a corner, but the Seahawks may look at him as Thomas’ backup.