I was excited when we drafted him and horrified upon further inspection.
There was Texas:
I started by watching Bryant and Texas A&M duke it out with Texas. I was aghast. Bryant looked just awful. He was slow, slow off the snap, slow in stunts and slow to the ball carrier, the few times he was anywhere near the ball carrier. I couldn’t believe my eyes. "Why would any team draft Bryant?" I thought, and especially "Why would a team that puts so much stake in production draft Bryant?" He was weak, washed out by single blocks, incapable of splitting double teams and generally outclassed by his linemates, college fodder like Henry Smith and Kellen Heard. Most troubling, though, he was lazy, giving up if losing off the snap, coasting against double teams and eventually off the field entirely.
Onto Miami. Bryant starts strong but fades. By halftime, Miami is up 24-0. Masquerading as an Aggies fan, I must say, what an awful, joyless and discouraging team. Their top talent, presumably Martellus Bennett, has all the pizzazz of Randy McMichael and jumps like he’s attached to the turf by rubber bands. I’m starting to see a story develop. The team captain, the NFL talent on a team full of scrubs, reeled in for his senior season, because of loyalty, duty, a degree and one more shot at the top with the boys. Crushed. By an absent coach and barely mediocre team.
And his debut with the Seahawks:
Bryant subbed in on Oakland's third offensive drive, replacing Craig Terrill. Excepting his occasional looks at the nose on goal-line five man fronts, Bryant played exclusively from the left defensive tackle position. In five of the six plays, Bryant was easily blocked out of the play, mostly by third string center (but playing right guard) Chris Morris. Morris, an organizational player on the bubble, must have thanked his lucky stars he pulled such an easy assignment in such a crucial game. Bryant's lone acceptable play, a read and react where he kept Morris out of his body and coasted left collapsing the hole, was noteworthy only because it broke the monotony of ineffectiveness. Bryant recorded the tackle, but really was but one in a sea of Seahawks defenders.
Followed by two seasons of injuries, limited snaps and poor performance. The big man with fleet feet and exceptional natural power was failing. Red Bryant was playing his way out of the league. Look closer, someone did.
Look at what Red did against Fresno State:
So I thought I’d hop back to the past. Texas A&M’s second contest and first against a team worth a damn, Fresno State. Fresno finished 13th in unadjusted offensive FEI and Scout.com calls the line its strength. The Aggies entered 1-0 after stomping a big 38-7 bootprint into Montana State. "We’re a contender!" spirit soaring, Coach Fran not yet depantsed, huzzah! And huzzah is right, because Bryant looks awesome: Exploding single blocks, cleaving doubles, working the right defensive end on three man fronts and playing like a pro prospect among fodder, scrubs and jobbers. Bryant finished with his lone big statistical showing of the season: 6.5 total tackles, 1 solo tackle for a loss and 1 sack.
Bryant, end. Red Bryant, the 320, 6'5", colossus with sub-5.0 speed, playing end in college and excelling. Someone noticed. Dan Quinn noticed.
And now, in an off-season of reclamation projects, Seattle attempts its very largest. Will Bryant turn his power, quickness and ferocity into performance, or is this the last stand for someone about anyone could see talent in, but someone that has never turned that raw talent into professional caliber play?