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Offseason Forecast: Seattle Seahawks

With the offseason officially under way, Around The League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Seattle Seahawks.

What's changing

Coming off an 11-5 season that nearly ended with a trip to the NFC Championship Game, don't expect substantial changes from a personnel standpoint. This is a young, ascendant team with pieces in place to contend for the Super Bowl in 2013.

Their success played a part in the loss of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who took the head-coaching job of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Dan Quinn left the University of Florida to replace Bradley, while Travis Jones takes over for defensive line coach Todd Walsh, who followed Bradley to Jacksonville.

Biggest free agents

» DT Alan Branch: Branch doesn't stand out on a defense filled with stars, but he was a 16-game starter on one of the league's best units. In a draft class loaded with talent at defensive tackle, Branch could be expendable.

» LB Leroy Hill: Hill likely signed his ticket out town after he was arrested on domestic violence charges in January. Hill has had multiple run-ins with the law, and Malcolm Smith had emerged as Hill's potential replacement before he got himself in trouble.

Other key free agents: CB Marcus Trufant, DE Jason Jones

What they need

The offensive line did a great job opening holes for Marshawn Lynch, but improvements must be made to better protect Russell Wilson. The quarterback was sacked 33 times as a rookie. There's some serious trench talent in this draft, potentially bad news for right tackle Breno Giacomini, who was a laundry magnet (12 penalties.)

The Seahawks also might help build around Russell by giving him another weapon. Golden Tate, Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin are nice receivers, but Seattle lacks a playmaker who can take the top off defenses. Wilson loves to chuck it -- give him somebody to play catch with.

Bruce Irvin had moments as a rookie, but the defense could use some help at pass rush with Chris Clemons coming off reconstructive knee surgery. If the Seahawks can sign or develop a base rusher, their defense has the potential to elevate to scary-good territory.

Offseason crystal ball

The Seahawks won't lose any core player to free agency, and they could be minor players on the market with approximately $13 million in cap space. Wilson will likely have another toy on offense (perhaps Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert?). Free-agent DT Richard Seymour could be a nice stopgap with potential to flourish if surrounded by the right talent.

And this team does not lack talent.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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