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Seahawks 30 under 30: Jarran Reed could soon be the best run-stopping defensive tackle in the NFL

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NFL: 2016 NFL Draft Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have a very good roster, but what's especially nice and hopeful about their team is that the vast majority of current Seahawks are young and signed through 2017, at least. This series leading up to the regular season opener on September 11 will take a closer look at 30 such players, all of whom won't be turning 30 this year.

Player: Jarran Reed, DT

Age: 23

How acquired: Second round pick (49th overall) in 2016 NFL Draft

Free agent: 2020

I’m writing this article highlighting Reed as a defensive tackle to watch now, but as more time passes, the more curious I am if in a year we’ll be talking more about Quentin Jefferson or Brandin Bryant. (Neither of whom made the 30 under 30 list, but will get honorable mentions.) That may not be the most enthusiastic way to start off an article previewing a young player you should be really excited about but I felt like it was something that could be on all of our minds.

Taken one pick after tackle Jason Spriggs and one before guard Nick Martin (both of whom were offensive lineman constantly mocked to the Seahawks in the first or second round), Reed was seen by some as the most shocking fall in the 2016 draft. Some had him as high as a top-15 pick and he was the last player left in the green room this year. Why did he fall? Here’s what Brad Briggs of The Chicago Tribune had to say:

Why do you think A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed dropped to the second round of the draft? -- Patrick S., Fort Wayne, Ind.

No doubt that was a bit of surprise for most, Robinson and Reed included. Robinson wound up going 45th overall as the 15th pick of the second round to the Lions. Reed was drafted four picks later by the Seahawks and he was the final player remaining in the green room at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre. I called a national scout for one club and asked for his take on their draft fall as most projected them as first-round picks. “Yeah, I was a little surprised,” he said. “But that’s the way the league is going. You’ve got teams in sub packages almost 70 percent of the time, some of them anyway, and there are push the pocket guys, they’re not pass rushers. Now if Bill Parcells was still around, these could be top half of the first round picks. But the game is changing and you don’t see offenses with two backs and a tight end very often. Big bodies to stop the run aren’t in demand like they were a decade ago. If you can’t rush the passer, they’re not going to put you on the field. I think both of these kids are pretty good players.”

So it’s really just a matter of style and not necessarily anything negative about Reed. It’s just the run-stuffing defensive tackles are no longer seen to be as valuable as pass-rushing defensive tackles. That’s the same theme of every NFL position right now: Do you help us pass the ball or do you help us stop the pass? Those are the first two questions that almost any NFL coach or personnel executive will ask first about a player.

But Pete Carroll really isn’t playing that game despite record-breaking passing numbers literally every single season. He still believes in smash-mouth football and he’s taking full advantage of the fact that great players are being made available for far less value based not on what they can do but what they supposedly can’t. He could think something like “Jarran Reed can help us lead the NFL in rushing defense? Great. We’ll figure out something else as far as helping us stop the pass, because we have versatile guys who can play multiple positions, which means I can carry an extra defensive tackle like Jordan Hill or Bryant.”

Over the next four years, it sure seems like Reed could elevate himself to being the top run-stopping defensive tackle in the NFL. No, he doesn’t seem to be the same type of defensive tackle like Ndamukong Suh, Geno Atkins, Gerald McCoy, Marcell Dareus, or someone like that. And if you compared him to the rest of the 2016 draft class of defensive tackles, he’s probably not going to have as much name recognition as someone like Sheldon Rankins will in a few years because he’ll get more sacks, but when you combine his abilities with those of the defensive lineman in Seattle around him, you start to see how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Reed may not be in for many passing downs, but because of that, the Seahawks potentially got an elite run-stuffing defensive tackle who very well may have been a top-15 pick in so many drafts before this one.

Here’s Move the Sticks on Reed’s game: