The Seattle Seahawks recently signed rookie defensive tackle Antonio Valentino. The Ohio native originally signed with the New York Giants before being waived earlier this year. Although he went undrafted during the 2022 NFL Draft, Valentino has a lot of potentials and an intimidating stature.
The Seahawks had a season to forget last year, finishing last in the NFC West division for the first time in over two decades. The franchise has shaken things up, especially after the loss of celebrated quarterback Russell Wilson. There aren’t many players left from the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning Seahawks team, so NFL fans across the US are monitoring what could either be an inspiring revolution or a cause for concern.
One thing is for certain: the Seahawks aren’t going to be as favorable at the bookies as in previous seasons. Even with the acquisition of Antonio Valentino, they have a tough division to navigate, including last season’s Super Bowl winners, the Los Angeles Rams. Never say never, but we’re unsure the Seahawks are going to be particularly popular with sports bettors this year.
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As a relative unknown before he joined the Seahawks, Antonio Valentino will need to hit the ground running to endear himself to fans and fellow players. Keep reading for an overview of who he is and how he can help the Seahawks bounce back from a disappointing 2021-2022 season.
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Who is Antonio Valentino?
First things first – who is Antonio Valentino? The Ohio native spent his college career playing for Penn State, proving himself as a valuable defensive player, with 51 tackles in 40 games. At 6’2” and 310 pounds, Valentino is an imposing defensive tackle with one of the largest frames on the Seahawks team.
After a promising four years at Penn State, Valentino moved to the Florida Gators as a Redshirt Senior. He was a starter in eight games, amassing some vital tackles and sacks against the likes of Florida Atlantic, South Carolina, and Missouri.
Although he went undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, Valentino was snapped up by the New York Giants. However, the union didn’t last long and he was waived in May. The Seahawks took the opportunity at the beginning of August, signing up the rookie defensive tackle for the season ahead.
How the Seattle Seahawks signed Antonio Valentino
The Seahawks’ capture of Antonio Valentino was relatively straightforward, due to his position as an undrafted free agent. It took some fans by surprise, as the roster wasn’t exactly short on defensive players. Valentino will need to work hard to break into the starting lineup but the potential is certainly there.
Contract details regarding his signing haven’t been released. As a relatively unknown rookie, we don’t expect the financials to be particularly impressive. Also Read – NFL: 9 Scariest NFL Players of All Time
What will Antonio Valentino bring to the Seahawks?
Antonio Valentino had a convincing four years at Penn State before a relatively impressive season at the Florida Gators. He certainly proved himself as a strong and imposing defensive tackle, but the tactical element to his game needs more work. Unfortunately, with the likes of Al Woods, Poona Ford, and Shelby Harris ahead of Valentino in the pecking order, he may struggle to make the initial 53-man roster.
Nevertheless, the defensive tackle has time on his side. At 25, he still has a lot to learn, and he may become a valuable asset to the Seahawks in the seasons to come. Fans probably won’t see too much of him in the upcoming 2021-2022 season, although you never know.
Seattle Seahawks: season preview
Seahawks fans have reason to be concerned, especially with the loss of Russell Wilson. One of the main problems facing the team is a lack of direct quarterback replacement. Drew Lock is the next in line, but whether or not he can match Wilson’s importance and match-winning ability remains to be seen.
However, the Seahawks have never been ones to play by the rules. Head coach Pete Carroll proudly oversaw an imperious spell from 2012-2020, where he would often toy with unconventional trades and tactics. As he said himself to the Seattle Times: “We know what we’re doing.”
Carroll certainly trusts Drew Lock to kick on, but will the absence of Wilson’s magic be a fatal blow to the Seahawks? Only time will tell, but the departure of linebacker Bobby Wagner could magnify the problem even further. Carroll will need new players like Antonio Valentino to hit the ground running and put pressure on from the start if he wants to match the success of his 2012-2020 period.
Other teams that will cause problems in the NFC west
While the Seattle Seahawks were the dominant force in the NFC West for almost a decade, the tables have changed these days. They go against franchises that are on upward trajectories, especially Super Bowl winners and the Los Angeles Rams. Look below for a summary of two other NFC West teams that will pose problems for the Seahawks:
- Los Angeles Rams: You cannot deny that the Rams deserved their Super Bowl triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals. Players such as Aaron Donald help to form an outrageously solid defense, while Sean McVay has signed an extension to stay on as coach. High-profile additions like Bobby Wagner from the Seahawks have also improved the team massively.
- San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers narrowly lost the NFC Championship against the Rams in January, throwing away a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 20-17. The loss is bound to hurt, so we’re tipping them to come back much stronger in the 2021-2022 season.