Many of the names on Seattle’s defensive line for 2022 may be familiar to you.
But their roles are expected to change some as the Seahawks implement more 3-4 reviews of their plan under freshman defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.
What could also change as a result is what the Seahawks are looking for in players ahead of the draft.
“Yeah, there are some subtleties to that,” coach Pete Carroll said Thursday when asked how the different accent in the scheme might impact their draft. “It’s still a 3-4 hybrid that’s very similar to what we’ve done over the years, but Clint has some experience, and (associate head coach for defense) Sean (Desai) has experience and also with (defensive passing game coordinator) Karl (Scott) who we are working to develop. We are always trying to improve. As we progress, you will watch and see how we do. I think you will see us. will be affected by the new perspectives.
As the Seahawks prepare for the NFL Draft next week, let’s take a closer look at their defensive line.
Players under contract for 2022: Tackles Poona Ford, Al Woods, Bryan Mone, Myles Adams, Jarrod Hewitt, Niles Scott; Complete Shelby Harris, LJ Collier, Darrell Taylor, Quinton Jefferson, Alton Robinson, Alex Tchangam.
Key losses in the offseason: End Kerry Hyder (released, signed with 49ers); late Carlos Dunlap (released, remains unsigned); late Rasheem Green (free agent, remains unsigned); late Benson Mayowa (released, remains unsigned); tackle Robert Nkemdiche (free agent, remains unsigned).
Seattle could open the season with a line essentially featuring three of the four starters at the end of last year – Ford and Woods as tackles and Taylor as finishers. Ford, who was the only player in contention to start all 17 games last season, reached the team’s highest cap in 2022 at $10.075 million, and barring anything unforeseen, it should stay that way.
But while players such as Taylor and Robinson remain listed as thins, they may be better considered linebackers when the team is in a 3-4. When the Seahawks are in their base defense, the three down linemen could well be Ford, Woods and Shelby Harris, a 6-2, 290-pounder, who was a starter at the end of Denver’s 3-4 year. last, with players such as Taylor and free agent signee Uchenna Nwosu, who the team lists as linebacker, flanking them.
In other words, fans may have to get used to some flexible player designations this year, as the Seahawks are likely going for a mix of 3-4 and 4-3 looks, and using some players somehow. somewhat interchangeable as ends and linebackers.
Seattle’s tackle spots, however, appear set with Woods re-signing to join Ford and Mone (who also re-signed as an exclusive royalty-free agent).
Seattle looks set with its base defense ends, a spot that can be played by Harris, Collier, who some team members say could be a great fit for the new scheme, and Jefferson, a fifth pick. tour in 2016 returning after one season. with the Bills and another with the Raiders.
For now, Seattle’s starting spots to rush should go to Taylor and Nwosu, with Robinson also in that mix.
Seattle also hasn’t closed the door on the return of Dunlap, who became the team leader in sacks last season with 8.5 to cap what has been an often confusing year in terms of usage. And as of now, Green, who was second in sacks with 6.5, also remains unsigned and it’s unclear if Seattle is interested in bringing him back.
Decisions on the two could be heavily influenced by what the Seahawks do in the draft.
History of recent drafts
The Seahawks can’t be cited for a lack of draft investment on the defensive line. Two of their most controversial first picks in recent drafts were linemen – Frank Clark (second round, 2015), Malik McDowell (second round, 2017).
And for reasons related solely to whether he might have been a litter, Collier’s first-round selection in 2019 also sparked its fair share of debate. And it’s worth remembering that Collier’s choice might not have been necessary had McDowell failed.
Since 2010, Seattle has taken 18 players considered defensive or ending tackles, with other picks including Bruce Irvin (first, 2012), Jordan Hill (third, 2013), Jarran Reed (second, 2016), Green (third, 2018) and Taylor (second, 2020).
The only Seattle to sign a second contract is Reed, who got a two-year contract when his rookie contract expired. Irvin left and later returned while Clark was traded after being slapped with a franchise tag.
Project need (on a scale of 1 to 10): Ends/edge rushers 8.5, tackles 5.
The Seahawks don’t seem to have any pressing needs at tackle. But you can never get enough rush inside, and depending on how things are going and the value the Seahawks see in it, that can’t be ruled out.
Edge rushers are more pressing on paper and many fictional drafts have yielded Seattle players such as Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, who doesn’t look likely to be available yet at nine, Georgia’s Travon Walker, who probably won’t be available either. with its stock rising sharply in recent weeks, and Purdue’s George Karlaftis.
But the good thing for Seattle is that it’s considered a really good year for point players, and even at 40 and 41, the Seahawks could probably get a qualified prospect like Arnold Ebiketie from Penn State, Nik Bonitto from Oklahoma or Drake Jackson from USC. And if Seattle negotiates for a pick somewhere in their late teens or twenties, maybe Seattle could nab Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II, who seems destined to be a first-round pick between the middle and the end.
The Seahawks would have had two ends for the top 30 private tours – Micheal Clemons of Texas A&M and Boye Mafe of Minnesota.
Mafe is another who could be a candidate at 40 or 41 if Seattle keeps those picks. Clemons is considered a third-day pick.
Next : Linebacker.