Despite making an important move at the position in free agency, when they retained Jarran Reed on a two-year deal, the Seahawks are likely not done addressing defensive tackle and need to look towards the future, as well as for depth in the present. Currently, Seattle’s starting duo is signed through 2020 (Poona Ford) and 2021 (Reed) respectively. Behind them, however, is entirely uncertain; Al Woods, who started in place of Reed to begin 2019 and played 42 percent of the defensive snaps, signed with the Jaguars; Bryan Mone, a UDFA a year ago, has the potential to be a depth 1-tech but little more.
At the top of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Seahawks can find a long-term, three-down defensive tackle; further down, they can find depth and potentially key members of the rotation. Regardless of when Seattle addresses the position, they’ll have a bevy of options.
Day 1: Ross Blacklock
The selection of another Horned Frog would likely be met with cynical responses, but Blacklock is a better prospect than L.J. Collier was a year ago and possesses a ceiling far higher than his former teammate. Of the utmost importance, Blacklock would give the Seahawks a shot in the arm along their defensive line.
A physical specimen, 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, Blacklock projects as a disruptive 3-tech defensive tackle. Though his arm length is a little deficient for the outside (32 3/8”), he is so explosive coming off the ball and proficient using his length that he could even see some snaps as a base defensive end in Seattle (though his run-stopping ability is currently suspect, so they may not be inclined to put him on the edge).
Blacklock has the kind of burst and power that will see him collapse the pocket consistently in the NFL, leading to sacks and tackles for loss, as well as creating opportunities for his teammates. Blacklock creates a lot of pressure by shooting through gaps, as well, and his short-area quickness could be conducive to creating pressure on stunts, should he get snaps as a base end.
Blacklock will make his greatest impact inside and with the way the Seahawks allocated their resources in free agency, signing a pair of speed rushers, Blacklock could be a great fit with immediate production.
Day 2: Jordan Elliott
A similarly built defensive tackle to Blacklock, at 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds, Elliott brings the same type of explosiveness and power to the interior as Blacklock. While Blacklock can be dependent on his ability to shoot gaps to disrupt, however, Elliott is a lot more polished with his hands and is able to get off blocks consistently. They have similar physical traits, but win in different ways; Blacklock is likely to have a higher ceiling, Elliott the higher floor.
Though Elliott wouldn’t offer the versatility to potentially play at 5-tech, he can play at any spot along the interior against the run and pass. As a run defender, Elliott is extremely stout at the point of attack, and would be able to be an immediate three-down defender and would offer a cheap alternative to Reed as early as 2021 (when the team could realistically get out of Reed’s deal).
Day 3: McTelvin Agim
If Seattle is searching for positional flexibility out of a defensive tackle selection, Agim would be a logical fit. Though Agim played his final season at Arkansas at tackle, he began his collegiate career as a defensive end and was a five-star recruit out of high school as a pass rusher. At 6-foot-3, 309 pounds with 33 1/2” arms, Agim could align at 5- and 3-tech, helping to make up for Quinton Jefferson’s departed snaps.
New to the interior, Agim will need to continue to develop in the pros, but his get off and power translated well during his year inside. He uses his hands well, and a considerable amount of his college production came winning one-on-ones. Agim is by no means a flashy pass rusher nor a dominant physical presence, but if the Seahawks are looking to fill out their defensive line with disciplined defenders who can play on all three downs, Agim would be an excellent fit.
Reed’s renewal with Seattle will allow them to attempt to look at the position without having their hand forced—with two solid tackles already in place, an immediate starter isn’t needed. However, departures last month and potential departures in the next two years make the position one that should be addressed.