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Which Seahawks Face Make-Or-Break Seasons in 2022?

For Seattle to hang around in the rugged NFC West after a tumultuous offseason, unsung heroes will have to surface on both sides of the football with career years. Headlined by Rashaad Penny and Cody Barton, several former high draft picks have the power to help the team surpass expectations.

With the calendar officially flipping to July, the Seahawks have less than a month until officially reporting for training camp. As anticipated following the departures of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner amid a turbulent offseason, the franchise enters a new season with low expectations from media and fans alike.

What would it take for Seattle to surprise and contend in the NFC West in 2022? Good fortune would certainly be a key ingredient, as would the emergence of a viable starting quarterback with a looming battle between Drew Lock and Geno Smith on tap. But aside from finding a respectable successor for Wilson, the team will need a handful of veterans to break through with career years to help prove prognosticators wrong and defy the odds stacked against them.

Which players could have the power to keep the Seahawks in the playoff hunt and surpass outside expectations? These six candidates entering make-or-break campaigns could help swing the tide with breakout campaigns:

Rashaad Penny
Colby Parkinson
L.J. Collier
Cody Barton
Seattle Seahawks defensive back Marquise Blair (27) breaks up a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver DeSean Jackson (1) during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field.

Unlike Collier, who Seattle drafted one round earlier in 2019, Blair has shown flashes of brilliance in his first three seasons when healthy. He dominated in training camp prior to the 2020 season, racking up interceptions and pass breakups in bunches on the practice field and drawing rave reviews from coaches and teammates. He forced a fumble on special teams in a season-opening win over Atlanta and looked primed for a breakout sophomore season. But he tore his ACL the following week and missed most of the 2021 season with a fractured kneecap, causing him to miss all but eight games over the past two seasons combined.

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While his status for the start of training camp remains up in the air, coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks still have high hopes for Blair being a key contributor in the secondary. Assistant head coach Sean Desai used extensive three-safety looks as a defensive coordinator for the Bears last season and with the team expected to play a lot of nickel and dime packages, the former Ute should still have ample opportunities to make a difference due to his positional versatility and physical playing style. The key, of course, will be staying available and avoiding the durability pitfalls that have plagued him thus far. If he can do that, he may finally live up to his promise, which would go a long way toward helping the defense become a top-10 unit.