The Seattle Seahawks could have as many as four new starters when the NFL season opens. Here’s a starting lineup projection:
Quarterback (Russell Wilson): The Seahawks struggled to protect him last year, and Wilson battled through three different injuries. He deserves credit for his toughness, but he wasn’t the same guy, rushing for a career-low 259 yards. The focus for Wilson will be on staying healthy and regaining his form from the second half of 2015, when he dissected defenses from the pocket and threw 25 touchdowns against two interceptions during an eight-game stretch.
Running back (Eddie Lacy): The Seahawks aggressively pursued him in free agency, and given that Lacy signed a one-year deal, he has a lot riding on this season. Assuming he keeps his weight down, Lacy is the favorite to start over Thomas Rawls, who will still have a role. At a minimum, C.J. Prosise will be the third-down back and a big factor in the passing game.
Wide receiver (Doug Baldwin): He set career highs with 94 catches and 1,128 yards a year ago. Only Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown have more touchdowns than Baldwin (21) over the past two seasons.
Wide receiver (Jermaine Kearse): Last year was a struggle. Kearse caught just 51.3 percent of his targets, had one touchdown and was called for a league-high six offensive pass interference penalties. He’ll need to bounce back to hold on to the starting job. Paul Richardson, who played well down the stretch last season, could make some noise here.
Wide receiver (Tyler Lockett): He suffered fractures to his tibia and fibula (right leg) in December but should be ready for the start of the season. If healthy, Lockett has the skill set to be the Seahawks’ top vertical threat.
Tight end (Jimmy Graham): He finished third among tight ends with 923 receiving yards last season and led all players at his position with a yards-per-catch average of 14.2. But the Seahawks need to do a better job of finding Graham in the red zone, where he had just six receptions last season.
Left tackle (George Fant): He was put in a tough spot last year, starting 10 games after having barely played any football since the eighth grade. Fant bulked up to 320 pounds (from 296) in the offseason and is the favorite to protect Wilson’s blind side.
Left guard (Luke Joeckel): He’ll compete at either left guard or left tackle. Joeckel played four games at guard with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and is coming off of a knee injury. Like Lacy, he’s on a one-year deal.
Center (Justin Britt): He was easily the Seahawks’ best offensive lineman last year. Entering the final year of his contract, Britt will look to earn an extension.
Right guard (Mark Glowinski): He’ll make the switch from left guard and will look to improve on an inconsistent 2016 campaign.