Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda came out with a list Wednesday of the “Guys You Don’t Think About Who You Maybe Should Think About” on every pro football team. The Seattle Seahawks used to be a roster brimming with stars that was, especially on defense, also full of less-well known contributors who were also superb. But with the exodus of talent from injuries (Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril), free agency (Sheldon Richardson) and other offseason transit (Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett), the top of that talent has been skimmed somewhat placing the spotlight on some of the under-exposed athletes. Shaquill Griffin and Frank Clark, for example, move into the roles of former Pro Bowlers Sherman and Bennett.
But that still leaves some of the other emerging players climbing up the proverbial totem pole without necessarily reaching the full spotlight, including Mosqueda’s choice for the Seahawks, third year defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Writes Mosqueda:
After jumping from six starts as a rookie in 2016 to 15 in 2017, Reed will join Frank Clark—a third pass-rusher until last season—as the anchors to the Seahawks defensive line.
The departures of Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson left holes up front. Add in the loss of cornerback Richard Sherman and the questions about strong safety Kam Chancellor’s future, and only more of the load will fall on Reed’s shoulders.
Among returning Seattle defensive linemen, only Clark (34 tackles) has recorded more tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage than Reed (17.5) over the last two years. Reed has already established himself as one of the top players on the defensive depth chart, no matter if he can fully replace the likes of Avril or Bennett.
To my view Reed doesn’t really have to replace the production of Bennett or Avril, both of whom were lauded for their ability to get to the quarterback rushing from the end of the line, where Dion Jordan, Marcus Smith and maybe Rasheem Green will get a chance to fill those roles. Bennett of course also modulated to the interior on certain downs, but Reed has been exclusively an inside rusher and run stuffer since joining the Seahawks. Last year he mostly occupied the former spot of Ahtyba Rubin as an anchor in the middle while Richardson supplied the more dynamic penetration. Reed was still active, as Mosqueda’s tackle figures tell but also getting his hands in the air to influence passes, and with Richardson gone to the Minnesota Vikings and hopeful further development by the stouter Nazair Jones following his own path, perhaps Reed can get even more involved in the backfield than he did as a 24 year old.
Reading the remainder of the list I was praying Mosqueda didn’t name Cassius Marsh, who Mosqueda lauded when the San Francisco 49ers signed him to a new contract in March, calling the former Seattle defensive end “the best DE4 in football”, but Justis gave the Seahawks’ suddenly-thin front four a reprieve by granting that honor this time to 49ers tight end George Kittle. However Seattle’s other division rivals the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, each of whom have done damage to the Seahawks’ hopes in recent years with relentless defensive penetration, both got members of their front units credited to the list with Mosqueda expecting Cardinals tackle Pierre Olsen and Rams outside linebacker Matt Longacre to be among those harassing Russell Wilson in the future.
In any case it’s good to see the young Seattle tackle Reed getting some recognition as the new crop of players look to fill the large footprint of their heralded predecessors.