June 22, 2021

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Taking a look at Seahawks positional needs this…

3 min read
Taking a look at Seahawks positional needs this...


After exiting the playoffs far earlier than they had hoped, the Seattle Seahawks will undoubtedly be looking inward to find out just what went wrong this season. The team parted ways with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer last week after a baffling 2020 campaign in which his top-ranked offense noticeably plummeted in efficiency after Week 8. It remains to be seen if this internal change will solve Seattle’s woes, but the willingness to shake things up on the inside looks like a promising start.

They might also need to look outward for some help. The Seahawks were notably quiet in free agency last season, but with just four draft picks this year (barring any trades), they will need to appeal to the pool of free agents on the market in order to fill some of those needs.

NEED NO. 1: EDGE RUSHER

Carlos Dunlap provided a jolt to the Seahawks’ woeful pass rush when he arrived in the middle of the season, instantly becoming the team’s most pressing threat off the edge. He is only under contract through the 2021 season, however, and with the current free-agent status of Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin, the future of the unit looks somewhat unsteady. Darrell Taylor, who was drafted in 2020, was out for the entire season with injury issues, making it difficult to judge whether he can keep up with the rigorous demands of the NFL. L.J. Collier and Alton Robinson flashed on occasion in 2020, but neither was able to make much of an impact pre-Dunlap.

The Seahawks could – and should, if they cannot re-sign Mayowa – take a long, hard, look at addressing this need in both free agency and the draft. Dunlap would be by far the oldest edge rusher on the team at 31 years of age, with Collier (25) being the second-oldest; Seattle would do well to add a solid veteran presence that could potentially take over as the leader on the edge. If Dunlap asks for anything near his current contract (three years, $40.65 million) after the 2021 season, the Seahawks may be best-served looking in a different direction for that older presence on the defensive line.

Undoubtedly, some of the best free agents on the market will have been re-signed by their teams prior to the league new year on Mar. 17, but that will not stop the Seahawks from keeping an eye on certain individuals and hoping that they slip through the cracks. One such player is 30-year-old Kerry Hyder, who exploded onto the scene as an edge rusher with the 49ers while filling in for the injured Nick Bosa. After going undrafted in 2014, Hyder spent time with the Jets, Lions, and Cowboys before landing with the 49ers in 2020 on a one-year, $1.5 million dollar deal. Over the past 16 games (14 of which he started), Hyder accumulated 49 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight and a half sacks, 18 QB hits, and a fumble recovery. His emergence was one of the few bright spots in a dismal 49ers season and likely attracted attention from edge-needy teams around the league.

The upcoming NFL draft 1 boasts a solid class of edge rushers, and one talent that could well be available at the Seahawks’ first pick (no. 55) is Patrick Jones II of Pittsburgh. Standing on the leaner side at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Jones has every chance of slipping farther than he should, but Pete Carroll has shown many times over the past decade that he has a particular nose for underrated defensive studs. Jones, a pure 4-3 defensive end and AP Second Team All-American, found success against both the pass and the run during his time at Pittsburgh with 24 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in his last 22 games. His explosiveness, stamina, and innate intelligence for the position would make him an intriguing prospect for Seattle to target with one of their few precious picks.

Part 1: Taking a look at Seahawks positional needs this offseason