With their second selection of the 2018 NFL Draft - not before another short trade down - the Seattle Seahawks addressed their biggest need, selecting USC EDGE Rasheem Green 79th overall. Green surprised some by declaring for the draft at just 20 years old, but it was completely understandable as to why. At just 275 pounds, the Trojans consistently played him inside at defensive tackle and he was easily overwhelmed as a miscast defensive tackle. Now in Seattle and in a four-man front, Green will have a chance to fill the position that he truly belongs in.
Why Green will succeed
With the Seahawks, Green will have the opportunity to play at defensive end in base and on early downs, before reducing inside on passing downs in a NASCAR package. Green has the short area quickness and lateral agility to win by shooting through gaps or running stunts to the outside or in, depending where he is aligned.
Green has great lateral agility pic.twitter.com/pjcgiAnivA— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 19, 2018
Additionally, as an interior rusher, Green can cross a guard’s face with outstanding burst and has the technical ability to shed lunging blockers.
Michael Bennett’s departure left Seattle without an EDGE capable of creating pressure from both the inside and out; with the addition of Green, that hole has been filled.
i am a big fan of Rasheem Green. super fun player, should be an every down defender playing on the edge before sliding inside on passing downs in the NFL pic.twitter.com/gjNrFdxKIG— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 19, 2018
Why Green will fail
Playing on the interior so often at USC, it was difficult to make an evaluation on Green’s functional strength at the point of attack. Against guards inside, Green was blown off the ball and completely overwhelmed against the run.
Have seen people say Green should've stayed at 'SC another season, but they did him no favors playing him inside as much as they did. He got overwhelmed inside vs the run pic.twitter.com/4j5EdnXueg— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 19, 2018
There’s a chance that, as an edge defender on early downs, Green will still lack the functional strength to be an every-down defensive lineman. In that case, he’ll be reduced to a role player in a rotation. Still a valuable position, but one that wouldn’t live up to Green’s potential.
Fit with the Seahawks
Both defensive tackle and EDGE were two of the Seahawks’ biggest needs heading into the draft. With the selection of Green, they’ve helped to fill both. Long-term, Green will inherit the role Bennett played so well during his time in Seattle. A base EDGE before sliding inside on passing downs, flanked by speed rushers. With Malik McDowell’s future with the team unclear or over, there was a need to fill this role both in the long-term and in the short-term. Green could be just a rotational player to begin, but moving forward he will be a staple of the defensive line and one of their most valuable defenders, just like Bennett was.
Should've made the tackle but whew not too many guys can move like that inside. Rasheem Green has the athletic profile and versatile skill set (ability to play outside-in) of a Seahawks d-lineman pic.twitter.com/r6NHnEKbY5— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 19, 2018
Year one role
While Cliff Avril’s status for 2018 remains unclear, Frank Clark and Dion Jordan provide Seattle the luxury of not rushing Green into the starting line-up as a 20-year-old rookie. More likely, Green will see the majority of his snaps as a rotational player on the outside, and on passing downs on the inside. In a part-time role, Green’s production will absolutely be maximized as a rookie and he can provide the team with the five sacks they desperately need from a rotational player, having been missing it since Clinton McDonald and Jordan Hill’s departures.