Evaluation: Seahawks’ draft picks work properly into new look defensive position

The Seahawks not solely continued to deal with their move rush within the NFL draft however did so in a approach that reiterated they may look a bit of completely different up entrance in 2022.

In reality, by drafting Boye Mafe of Minnesota and Tyreke Smith of Ohio State, coupled with the information Monday that Rasheem Green has signed a one-year cope with the Houston Texans, means the crew’s transition on the defensive position would possibly for now be full.

In Mafe, taken within the second spherical at fortieth total, and Smith (fifth, 158), Seattle drafted two athletic and speedy gamers to hurry off the sting, becoming a member of free agent signee Uchenna Nwosu, who inked a two-year deal price as much as $19.05 million in March.

Those three will substitute departed veterans Green, Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa and Kerry Hyder. Dunlap, Mayowa and Hyder have been all launched in March whereas Seattle determined to not re-sign Green, a third-round choose in 2018 who had 13.5 sacks in his Seahawks profession, the crew feeling every was now not actually a match for what they wish to do defensively.

Green, Dunlap and Hyder weighed 275 kilos or extra and are referred to as a lot for the facility of their rush as pace.

Nwosu, Mafe and Smith all weigh 261 kilos or much less and arrive accompanied with scouting reviews corresponding to this on Mafe from that he has “rare explosive measurables.”

Seattle nonetheless has some huge ends on its roster in Shelby Harris, L.J. Collier and Quinton Jefferson. But they appear ticketed to play finish within the base 3-4 or 4-3, sliding inside to deal with in pass-rush conditions.

But the remainder of the gamers listed as ends or exterior linebackers for the Seahawks appear to suit a template of being a bit of leaner and faster, a mildew Seattle desires because it plans to go together with extra 3-4 seems to be this yr beneath new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.

Mafe, listed at 6-4, 261, ran a 4.53 40 on the NFL scouting mix, the third-fastest of any participant listed as an edge rusher. He additionally had a 38-inch vertical leap, second-best of any edge rusher.

“He’s a fantastic athlete with the speed and the size that he brings,” coach Pete Carroll mentioned.

Smith, listed at 6-3, 255, had measurables on the mix that weren’t as notable (4.86 and 34). But he was an elite sufficient high-school basketball participant at Cleveland Heights High in Cleveland to attract consideration from faculty scouts earlier than deciding to focus on soccer.

“He jumps off the ball,” common supervisor John Schneider mentioned. “Really good hands.”

Both impressed on the Senior Bowl as two of the six gamers Seattle finally drafted who performed in that sport. Smith had simply three sacks as a senior at Ohio State. But his efficiency on the Senior Bowl appeared to promote the Seahawks that he might have extra potential than his stats at OSU indicated.

“You can see him playing against some of the best prospects in the country and he’s a unique talent with the way he jumps off the ball and his hand use,” Schneider mentioned.

Seattle listed each as linebackers, however Carroll famous that Mafe has extra true linebacker expertise whereas Smith performed extra on the road at Ohio State, the place his official place was defensive finish.

“Boye’s got a little bit more linebacker in him, from his style of play and his upbringing, and Tyreke was more of an edge rusher,” Carroll mentioned. “In our system, they have to do both and those guys will get a chance to, and we can maximize and minimize whatever to fit their strengths. But they’re a little bit different and both played same conference a lot, great level of play, really good comparisons we can make. But I think there’s a little bit more of a lean toward linebacker (Mafe), a little bit more lean toward the rusher background (Smith) for the two guys.”

In that twin exterior linebacker/rush finish function, the 2 be part of not solely Nwosu but additionally third-year gamers Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, every 2020 draft picks who match the sleeker, sooner mildew – Taylor is listed at 6-4, 267 and Robinson at 6-3, 259.

But in Mafe, Smith, Taylor, Nwosu and Robinson, the Seahawks really feel they now have the makings of a stable corps of gamers who can fill the skin linebacker function within the 3-4 and strongside linebacker and/or edge rusher within the 4-3.

Carroll specifically talked about Mafe as a participant who is usually a strongside linebacker within the 4-3, a spot stuffed principally by Mayowa final season.

“I think it gives us a logical opportunity to create a rotation that we would like to create,” Carroll mentioned. “And we want a lot of guys playing at those spots so they can play with really high intensity.”

The makeover comes as Seattle tries to revive a protection that was twenty eighth final season in yards allowed and simply twenty second in sacks with 34 and twenty fifth in turnovers pressured with 18.

Dunlap led Seattle with 8.5 sacks final yr, and Green was tied with Taylor with 6.5. No one else on the roster had greater than two with the Seahawks final yr, however Nwosu had 5 with the Chargers whereas Harris had six with Denver and Jefferson 4.5 with the Raiders.

The makeover doesn’t come with out some price. Mayowa has a lifeless cap hit this yr of $2.25 million, Hyder $1.7 million and Dunlap $1.4 million, which means Seattle will primarily pay these three a mixed $5.35 million this yr to not play.

Schneider mentioned final month that the crew might nonetheless carry again Dunlap, whose launch from the crew was listed as a June 1 designation, which means his contract – and $5.1 million in cap financial savings – doesn’t come off the books till June 2.

But that was earlier than Seattle drafted Mafe and Smith, strikes that may, for now, solidify the move rush group the Seahawks will take into coaching camp.

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