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A strict threshold for the Seahawks at EDGE could be put to the test in the 2019 NFL Draft

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NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Florida vs Michigan Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

One of the clearest indicators of whether the Seattle Seahawks will be interested in an EDGE prospect or not is their short shuttle time. Though their threshold for that test, 4.3 seconds, isn’t overly exceptional, they often target those who do test exceptionally in the drill.

Frank Clark (97th percentile), Cassius Marsh (84th percentile) and Bruce Irvin (96th percentile*) all had the quickest short shuttle among EDGEs in their draft class, and all three had their names called by the Seahawks on draft day.

*Irvin’s 96th percentile short shuttle is compared to outside linebackers, not defensive ends. His measurables versus defensive ends are not available on the great MockDraftable.com

However, for as much stock as Seattle gives to short shuttle times and the agility that drill tests in prospects, arm length is valued even greater. Of the 10 EDGEs the Seahawks have drafted since 2010, every single one of them have had arms 33” or longer. Even players like Rasheem Green or Greg Scruggs, who projected as edge defenders who would reduce inside—where the arm length requirement drops to 32”—had 33-plus inch arms.

The 2019 NFL Draft’s EDGE group has tremendous talent at the top, however Seattle may be too far down the board—presumably after a trade down—to land a Montez Sweat or Brian Burns, two blue chip rushers who check all the Seahawks’ boxes. As a result, Seattle may be put in a tough spot choosing from a second wave of edge rushers, all of whom have short comings, if it remains their top priority.

Michigan’s Chase Winovich, the Scouting Combine’s top performer in the short shuttle among EDGEs (4.11 seconds), could be that pass rusher. He performed terrifically in the agility tests and plays relentless, physical football. His first step and burst off the line is impressive—another trait the Seahawks value highly in their pass rushers. Seattle was in attendance for his recent pro day and will surely be impressed with the traits and the player. However, Winovich would also be a test of the Seahawks’ arm length threshold. With 32 3/4” arms, Winovich falls just short of what has so far proven to be a requirement.

Winovich’s length deficiency could be a non-starter for Seattle. Conversely, he could be the one to buck the trend as a result of a pressing need. Over the course of nine drafts, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have displayed a particular love of agility and change of direction, tested by the short shuttle, and length, in their edge rushers. In Winovich, those two measurements would be put up against one another.