Continuing our positional season preview, we look at the Seattle Seahawks defensive line. In 2018, a new cast needs to make an impact.
Today Emerald City Swagger starts the back half of our positional previews. We look at a revamped defensive line that’s under the gun to fill some big shoes. To catch up on the other offense positional previews, click the link.
The defensive line of the Seattle Seahawks is probably the section of this 2018 squad with the most changes in personnel from 2017. While the Seahawks still have some top-notch players at other positions on defense, there is not a single defensive lineman on the Seahawks 53-man roster that is ranked, in any skill set, in the top 20 by Athlon Sports.
When the Seahawks traded defensive end Michael Bennett to Philadelphia in March 2018, they lost arguably their best defensive lineman. Bennett had 39 sacks in his five seasons with the Seahawks. There are players ready to replace Bennett at his former defensive end position. However, having the same impact on the field as Bennett will be a source of debate. Cliff Avril will also be missed after being released due to a failed physical.
More from Seattle Seahawks
- Seattle Seahawks: To rest or not to rest, that is the question
- Seattle Seahawks: 12s still waiting to exhale
- Seattle Seahawks: 4 Takeaways from 26-23 Loss to the 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks: Four Takeaways from Week 14 21-7 victory
- Seattle Seahawks: Three Takeaways from the Week 13 43-16 victory
Mike Vorel of the Seattle Times believes the defensive line position with the most uncertainty is at defensive end. Trying to replace the departed Michael Bennett will be Seattle’s second-round pick from 2015, Frank Clark. In regards to raw talent and ability, Clark seems to be the player most likely to pick up the slack in Bennett’s absence; based on his 19 sacks over the past two seasons.
Surely, the Seahawks are hoping Clark is fully recovered from off-season hand surgery and a hyper-extended elbow in the preseason. According to Derek Lewis of 247sports. com, backing up Clark on the right side of the defensive line would be former 2013 Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick, Dion Jordan; who was on the Physically Unable to Play (PUP) list during the preseason. He has been activated in time for the first game against the Denver Broncos. There are strong indications that Jordan is capable of increasing his four sacks from 2017.
Lewis also reported that Quinton Jefferson, a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, is scheduled to be the starter at the left defensive end spot to begin the regular season. It appeared that rookie third-round pick, Rasheem Green, had performed well enough in preseason to earn the starting job. Apparently, the coaches thought otherwise.
The defensive tackles on this team are quite capable in their run-stopping skills. Left defensive tackle Jarran Reed, a second-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, seems solidly in place as a starter. Free agent signee, Shamar Stephen, who was with the Minnesota Vikings last year, will be Reed’s substitute with rookie free agent Kaylon (Poona) Ford hoping to move up the depth chart if an opportunity presents itself.
On the right side as starting defensive tackle will be Tom Johnson, another free agent from the Vikings. Nazair Jones, a third-round Seattle draftee in 2017, will be close to the starting position based on his talent level. His main problem has been staying healthy since entering the NFL.
Each of the players on the defensive line will need to step up their game if the Seahawks want to have a respectable defensive unit this year.