I do not believe that the Seahawks defense collapsed because it lost Red Bryant to a season ending knee injury. I am sure some kind of statistical gerrymandering can be done to show the before and after, and therefore how irreplaceable Bryant was. He was very good in his short stint. Maybe even the best player on the Seahawks defense.
Seattle attempted to replace Bryant with Kentwan Balmer and Junior Siavii. That was the bigger problem. Neither player is standout bad, but neither player profiled like Bryant and neither player could do what Bryant could do. I would argue that rather than Bryant being irreplaceable, Bryant was not replaced adequately. Players of Bryant's ilk are not freely available, Frank Okam be damned.
Players of Bryant's ilk are in fact quite uncommon, and that might present a problem for Seattle in trying to find depth for him. He's huge, has great length, natural power and his combine-certified five flat showing in the forty is still eye popping. But depth must be found, because Seattle created this monster of a position to feature Bryant's talent, and with that talent comes a lengthy and worrisome injury history.
If that depth can not be found through free agency or trade, Seattle might entertain someone like Phil Taylor of Baylor. He's being talked about as a nose tackle, but every jumbo defensive tackle that enters the draft is talked about as a nose tackle. And maybe he is, but I like his quickness, relatively loose hips and ability to disrupt. When I think of a nose tackle, I think of someone that's as wide as he is tall like Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork or Jamal Williams. Taylor seems a little tall and lean in the legs for the life of a pile pusher, but like Bryant, that height and length lends itself to forcing double teams on the strong side, stringing runs wide and setting the edge for blitzers.
Taylor will play in tomorrow's Senior Bowl. It will be a good chance to see if he's destined for life on the interior, or a more hybrid role. Tomorrow I will post some players to watch that I think fit what Seattle wants. Until then, this is an open thread to discuss the draft and specifically the Senior Bowl.