Why the Seahawks are the biggest surprise in the NFL

Colin Cowherd hasn’t been shocked by many of the early storylines the NFL has presented to its viewership. Most teams are who he thought they were, especially the division leaders.

Well, except for one: the Seattle Seahawks, whose 4-3 record has them perched atop a loaded NFC West that includes last season’s Super Bowl winner, the NFC’s final two teams standing in 2021 and three reigning playoff participants.

“The only surprise to me leading the division is Seattle,” Cowherd said on “The Herd” on Tuesday. “Two things can be right at the same time: Pete Carroll’s critics were right. I’m one of them. And now he’s right. First of all, Seattle’s defense in the last five years has been bad. And he’s a defensive coach. It’s bad again, it’s 31st … we were right. … And they put a lot of draft choices on their defense.

“Seattle’s drafting — this year being the exception — had been bad in the last five years mostly. Seattle’s O-line for most of the last half decade, they couldn’t get it right.”

Carroll, of course, has also made some great decisions of late.

“Pete hired two years ago a brilliant young offensive mind, Shane Waldron from the Rams,” Cowherd noted. “He’s terrific, he’s the Brian Daboll of the West coast. And Seattle had an insanely good draft: two star tackles, star running back , star corner, another corner, an edge rusher.

“It’s early … but Seattle is proof that you don’t need huge money [for wins]. … Seattle, with one big trade, hitting on a bunch of draft picks from that trade, and hiring a really sharp coordinator, they’re 4-3. … That’s why this league’s great. … You look up, and you go from bad to interesting really, really fast. Now Seattle in this [2023] draft has two firsts, two seconds, two fourths. If they do again what they just did in the draft … you’re looking at like a seven-year run of excellence.”

Despite the defense’s poor performance, Geno Smith’s efficiency (11 TD to three INT) and high-volume passing yards (1,702) have been a welcome surprise for the Hawks’ offense, while Kenneth Walker III and Rashaad Penny have taken care of business on the ground.

It begs the question: Are Carroll & Co. really building Seattle into a contender again?

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Jorge Oliveira

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