Breaking down the Seahawks' "current" defensive line

Now that Jared Allen has signed with the Bears, let's take a look at the Seahawks current defensive line rotation.

Thanks for nothing Jared Allen!

Now that the Jared Allen situation has been settled and the veteran pass-rusher has signed with the Chicago Bears, the defensive line rotation for the Seattle Seahawks is just as muddled as it was at the beginning of free agency.

Now that Seattle must move on from Allen, they must address how to replace Chris Clemons at the LEO position. The three most qualified candidates currently on the Seahawk's roster would be Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa.

Cliff Avril seems the most likely candidate, though has mostly been rushing from the strong-side during his time in Detroit and almost exclusively during the 2013 season. Bruce Irvin spelled Clemons at LEO during his rookie season and started in Clemons' place during the divisional round loss in Atlanta. However, Irvin spent 2013 being converted to the SAM linebacker role; it's unclear if that will still be Irvin's role moving forward (though it does seem a bit of a waste to change back to an old position after switching that player to a brand new one last season).

Benson Mayowa is the unknown of this group: he flashed excellent technique during the 2013 preseason but rarely played once the regular season got going. There may be something there with Mayowa, as his DL colleague Cliff Avril seems to be pretty high on him. Of course, his snap counts from 2013 almost speak for themselves: if he was better he probably would have played more. That's why it's an unknown, folks!

With that in mind, and the draft still to come, here's the current state of the Seahawks defensive line, with players listed as defensive ends charted first.

Player

Age

Height

Weight

2013 Snaps




Cliff Avril

27

6’3"

260

554

Michael Bennett

28

6’4"

274

598

Kenneth Boatright

24

6’4"

254

-

Benson Mayowa

22

6’3"

252

24

Greg Scruggs

23

6’3"

284*

-

Brandon Mebane

29

6'1"

311

532

Michael Brooks

22

6’3"

276

15

Dewayne Cherrington

23

6’3"

335

-

Jordan Hill

23

6’1"

303

64

Tony McDaniel

29

6’7"

305

527

D’Anthony Smith

25

6’2"

300

46

Jesse Williams

23

6’3"

325

-

For reference, here are the snap counts of the three departed members of Seattle's 2013 defensive line:

Player

Age

Height

Weight

2013 Snaps

Red Bryant

29

6’4"

323

481

Chris Clemons

32

6’3"

255

568

Clinton McDonald

27

6’1"

289

531


1,580 snaps. That is a lot of snaps that need replacing along the defensive line. Some of those snaps might come from players already on the roster: Scruggs, Mayowa, Hill and Williams are examples.

A quick word on Scruggs: in a recent radio interview, Scruggs mentioned that he is now up to 311 pounds. Wow. That is closing in on Red-Bryant-Five-Technique territory. Go check out the interview if you haven't; if you aren't a fan of Scruggs now, you will be after.

Since Seattle lost out on Henry Melton to Dallas and Clinton McDonald signed with Tampa Bay, the Seahawks are in need of an inside pass rusher to supplement the DL rotation. That role could be filled with a healthy Jordan Hill, a free agent or a draft pick (like Ra'Shede Hageman). With Allen no longer an option, Seattle probably needs at least one more pass rusher as well; Shaun Phillips is still out there on market and could fill that need. Seattle could also be targeting a once-and-future LEO with a high draft pick like Kony Ealy.

Since Seattle addressed it's biggest need along the defensive line by re-signing Michael Bennett to a long-term deal the remaining needs along the DL are more thoughtful questions rather than glaring holes; they are not absolutely critical (as opposed to say, the holes at LG and RT) but Seattle still needs to replace the considerable production lost in the offseason by any means necessary.
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