Last season, Patrick Kerney was the Seahawks primary starter at right defensive end. Kerney retired a wealthy man this spring. Despite solid skills and a still-sudden first step, he was a shell of his former greatness.
Early favorite: Chris Clemons
If not for spotty health, Clemons might have this position sewed up. He isn't far and away the best among a crappy bunch, but he is the player Seattle has invested the most into and his place as a starter has never been disputed by Coach Carroll. Clemons flashed potential in ultra-situational use with the Eagles. Modest potential, but modest beats nothing.
The Incumbent: Nick Reed
Apart from Herculean feats of strength and Hannibal-like savagery, Reed is also a family man, having fathered most of the Founding Fathers.
The Rookie: Dexter Davis
Davis has the best long term potential of this group. Since signing with Seattle, he has seen some snaps at Leo end and some snaps at strongside linebacker. He was a capable edge rusher at Arizona State University, but played from a three-point stance. Davis probably starts the season on the practice squad.
The Dark Horse: Ricky Foley
Foley has one number working against him, but it's a big one: 29. That is Foley's age. For plenty of common sense reasons, players do not typically break into the league at 29. He led the CFL in sacks last season, but last season was also his first season starting. Up until 2009, Foley was strictly a situational pass rusher for the BC Lions. Foley has aspirations of being the next Cameron Wake. Seattle is desperate for that kind of production.