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Seahawks have high hopes for “redshirt” class

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 04: Greg Scruggs #98 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up before a game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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The Seattle Seahawks had to watch several members of their Super Bowl championship depart for new homes this offseason. Receiver Golden Tate (Detroit), tackle Breno Giacomini (NY Jets), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (NY Giants) are just a handful of the players no longer with the team as the 2014 season approaches.

Also gone are defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, who were released by the team in salary-related decisions.

While the majority of the Super Bowl winning roster remains intact after an offseason of contract extensions to some of the team’s most vital pieces, the Seahawks are looking for a group of “redshirt” players to take steps forward into productive roles this season.

Defensive end Greg Scruggs, linebacker Korey Toomer, cornerback Tharold Simon and defensive tackles Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill are former draft picks of Seattle that missed all, or most, of the 2013 season due to injuries.

Head coach Pete Carroll has been impressed with every member of the group this offseason and is looking forward to seeing what their impact can be for this year’s team.

“Those guys come back and with their redshirt year behind them, they really add to the roster and the competitiveness of the whole thing,” Carroll said during mini-camp.

Hill was the only member of the group to play last season, appearing in just four games after being selected in the third round last year. Scruggs and Toomer, both members of the team’s 2012 draft class, missed the entire season with knee injuries. Williams (knee) and Simon (toe/foot) missed all of their rookie campaigns to injury as well.

In addition, tight end Anthony McCoy is back with the team on a one-year deal after missing last season due to an Achilles tear and Christine Michael, the team’s second-round pick in 2013, is expected to get an increased workload as well.

The group of seven players is now back to full health and all took part in the team’s mini-camp in June.

The return of that group basically gives the Seahawks a second draft class to work with this fall in addition to the eight players they will bring to camp that were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft in May.

It remains to be seen whether Scruggs, Toomer and company can replace the production of the players Seattle lost in free agency, but they have plenty of candidates ready to give it a shot.