The Seattle Seahawks have had a rash of injuries during the offseason and training camp, and with a big pair of games in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, the team is looking to get its first glimpses of several players. Free agent defensive end Ziggy Ansah has yet to set foot on the field, as has first round pick L.J. Collier. Thus, with the early start in Week 2, Seattle fans could wake up to an early game present of two shiny new toys on the defensive line.
Or maybe not. With the Friday injury report released after practice, Collier was a full participant in practice, and is not listed in one of the categories where his play would be in doubt. Thus, one would seem to expect to get to see Collier play. However, there’s an extremely interesting footnote to Collier’s status from head coach Pete Carroll.
Interesting comment from Carroll on L.J. Collier that if he doesn't play Sunday it won't be due to health but if he fits into their rotations: 'If we want to put him up he can go.. In our minds he can play just got to wait and see what the rotations would be if we put him up.'— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 13, 2019
I could be wrong, but when I read that quote from Carroll, it sounds like he’s saying that Collier might not play, and it might be because he wouldn’t give the team the best rotation. In short, the team’s first round pick might be on the bench behind players like Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson. Obviously, Carroll is famous for being perhaps a tad overly optimistic, as well as somewhat cagey in providing answers to the media and opponents regarding specifics, but just the idea that the team’s top pick could start the season on the bench certainly piques my attention.
Thus, while the Hawks have certainly been patient with draft picks in the past, you have to go all the way back to the selection of Germain Ifedi in 2016 to find a player who started as a rookie after being the first player selected by the team. In fact, of the last four players taken first by the Seahawks, Ifedi is the only one who has started a game out of Ifedi, Malik McDowell, Rashaad Penny and L.J. Collier. If Chris Carson stays healthy and with Quinton Jefferson, Jadeveon Clowney and Ansah potentially ahead of Collier on the depth chart, it’s possible this trend stays true through the entire 2019 season.
Which is scary.