The uneventfulness of preseason football has always been good for two things: Giving football fans a false sense of hope as they head into the regular season and allowing relative unknown players to become a little bit more, well, known. With the Seattle Seahawks set to kick off the exhibition season next Saturday against San Diego, here's a look at four players I think you should get better acquainted with this month:
1. Defensive Tackle Brandon Mebane:The Seahawks spent the offseason bulking up the defensive line by bringing out beefy defensive tackle Colin Cole from Green Bay and versatile interior pass rusher Cory Redding from Detroit. However, the guy whose name should be at the tip of your tongue is squatty, third-year man Brandon Mebane. At 6'1 and 311 pounds, he's as explosive as he is thick, reminding some of former Raider/Falcon Rod Coleman. With the 330lb Cole clogging up multiple lineman in the middle, that will allow Mebane to use his quick first step to provide a much needed pass rush to a Seahawks squad that finished dead last in the NFL in pass defense.
2. Wide receiver Deon Butler:A 3rd round pick out of Penn State in this past April's draft, Butler wowed Seattle's scouts with his sure hands and amazing speed. He's a little on the small side at just under 6 feet and around 185 pounds, but he's not afraid to operate out of the slot and go over the middle. Butler is also a phenomenal blocker despite his lack of ideal size. With Nate Burleson recovering from ACL surgery and Deion Branch always a long shot to last a full 16 games, Butler could be this year's Eddie Royal if he sees a significant increase in playing time. For the time being, however, Butler's contributions will likely come on special teams as the 'Hawks look to lighten some of Burleson's return duties while he's on the mend.
3. Offensive lineman Max Unger:Seattle would like Unger, a 2nd round pick out of Oregon who played tackle, guard and center for the Ducks, to replace recently “retired” left guard Mark Wahle as they look to retool and offensive line decimated by injuries last season. He'll have to add a little weight to his 6'5 frame but if he can grasp offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme, it will be a huge boost for a Seahawks team that struggled to establish the run last year.
4. Running back Justin Forsett:The departure of Maurice Morris to Detroit opened up a significant portion of touches to pass around in the Seahawks' backfield. While most of those carries will probably end up going to starter Julius Jones and short-yardage back T.J. Duckett, there could be some that trickle down to Forsett, a second year man out of Cal. At 5'8 and 194 pounds, Forsett doesn't have the kind of size to factor in as an every down back. However, his speed and versatility could make him a poor man's Brian Westbrook and a solid showing in the exhibition season could convince the coaching staff to get him more involved in the team's new offense.
Of course, it goes without saying that 4th overall pick, linebacker Aaron Curry, is the rookie that is sure to draw the most attention from fans and opposing teams alike. However, as of right now, he's still unsigned(Although that impasse could be coming to a close following the recent contract agreement between the Chiefs and 3rd overall pick, Tyson Jackson). In the meantime, keep a close eye on these four gentleman as their potential breakout could have a huge impact for the vastly underrated 2009 Seahawks.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.