Previous posts in the position battle series:
The Seattle Seahawks have upgraded at the five-tech this off-season by selecting Frank Clark with the 63rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. This is not good news for Demarcus Dobbs and Greg Scruggs, who are now left to scrap and claw for a spot on the roster.
It is safe to assume that at least one of these guys will make the roster as a third 5-tech because the team doesn’t need much depth at LEO, with linebackers Bruce Irvin and Mike Morgan capable of filling in at that role. So the Seahawks are more likely to keep a third 5-tech than they are to keep an extra LEO.
Seahawks Defensive End Battle: The Case For Dobbs
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Dobbs was signed by the Seahawks in the beginning of last November, when they had more DT’s on IR than they did on the active roster. He played more, and better, than one would have expected. Being cut from the Niners is usually a sign that you suck…
In all seriousness, Dobbs can play. He is a DE/DT tweener who can play either depending on the situation. His best attribute is his first step. He comes off the snap hard and low, often getting leverage immediately and putting the blocker on his heels. However, he doesn’t have much in the way of a counter-move, and thus won’t be putting much pressure on the quarterback. He can really only be lined up in the 5 or 7-tech in running situations.
Dobbs is also a solid special teams contributor. His athleticism is a great addition to just about any kick return or kick cover group.
Seahawks Defensive End Battle: The Case For Scruggs
May 27, 2014; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Greg Scruggs (98) is greeted by defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (99, left) following an interception by Scruggs during organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
He doesn’t have Dobbs’ athleticism, but Scruggs is a hard-worker with a constant motor. Injuries haven’t allowed him to see much of the field since his rookie season, only playing in three games total in 2013 and 2014. But like I said, he’s a hard-worker. Don’t expect him to be handicapped by the recovery process.
He won’t pop out at you on tape with his speed or strength, but he will often find a way to impact the play by tracking someone down from behind or sniffing out a screen. He has good instincts and is a reliable rotational lineman who, much like Dobbs, can play just about anything on the D-line depending on the formation.
Seahawks Defensive End Battle: Prediction
This will be one of the most difficult cuts to make on the entire roster. It’s unlikely that they would keep two third-stringers who fill very similar roles, unless they see significant special teams value in both of them. However, with the age and injury history of Seattle’s defensive line, it is as likely a group as any to take on a few extra guys.
If there is only room for one of them, I would side with Dobbs. Scruggs’ injuries are starting to pile up and have no doubt taken a toll on his abilities. Dobbs is also a special teams contributor, something that the Seattle Seahawks need to emphasize after terrible special teams play in 2014. The Seahawks would get more value from Dobbs as their third option than they would from Scruggs.