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The Seahawks defensive line this year compared to last year

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Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The big story for the Seattle Seahawks over the entire offseason so far has been whether the team would be able to retain defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, or if he would depart in free agency. With free agency now in its third week and no end to the will he or won’t he be back Clowney saga, it appears the Hawks have begun to address the pass rush through less expensive players.

After adding former first round pick of the team Bruce Irvin earlier in free agency, on Wednesday it was reported the team had agreed to terms with Benson Mayowa. Mayowa was a member of the 2013 Seattle defense, but saw little playing time on a line stacked with talent. In any case, looking at the production of the 2019 defensive line, here is how the group performed when it comes to rushing the passer.

2019 Seahawks defensive line production rushing the passer

Player 2019 Snaps 2019 Sacks 2019 QB Hits 2019 Pressures
Player 2019 Snaps 2019 Sacks 2019 QB Hits 2019 Pressures
Jadeveon Clowney 605 3.0 13 30
Ziggy Ansah 338 2.5 8 10
Rasheem Green 546 4.0 5 15
Branden Jackson 418 2.0 3 7
L.J. Collier 152 0.0 0 0
Poona Ford 506 0.5 3 4
Quinton Jefferson 589 3.5 10 16
Bryan Mone 89 0.0 1 1
Jarran Reed 479 2.0 8 13
Al Woods 450 1.0 1 5
Totals 4172 18.5 52 101

That production includes several members of the defensive line who have either signed elsewhere or who are currently free agents, so the following four names are removed:

Getting rid of the production of those four and adding in the 2019 production of Mayowa and Irvin, here is what the total production of the players currently under contract for 2020 looked like in 2019.

2019 production of Seahawks defensive linemen under contract for 2020

Player 2019 Snaps 2019 Sacks 2019 QB Hits 2019 Pressures
Player 2019 Snaps 2019 Sacks 2019 QB Hits 2019 Pressures
Bruce Irvin 608 8.5 16 23
Rasheem Green 546 4.0 5 15
Branden Jackson 418 2.0 3 7
L.J. Collier 152 0.0 0 0
Poona Ford 506 0.5 3 4
Benson Mayowa 302 7.0 10 15
Bryan Mone 89 0.0 1 1
Jarran Reed 479 2.0 8 13
Totals 3100 24.0 46 78

Obviously there will be situational and usage differences between what Irvin and Mayowa did in Carolina and Oakland and how they will be used in Seattle in the future. However, simply comparing the totals of the players who were with the team and those who are under contract, what the team is attempting to do seems to come through.

2019 group: 4,172 snaps, 18.5 sacks, 52 QB hits and 101 pressures

2020 group: 3,100 snaps, 24.0 sacks, 46 QB hits and 78 pressures

In short, the Hawks will need to find somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 snaps for the defensive line. Some of those are likely to come from Jarran Reed hopefully playing a full 16 games, while many of the rest probably come from youngsters like Poona Ford, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and Bryan Mone earning increased snap counts. It’s also possible Naz Jones, who spent 2019 on injured reserve, could help make up some of the difference, along with whoever the team drafts or signs in free agency going forward.

However, even with the limited moves the team has made in free agency thus far, the Hawks have addressed some of their pass rush issues. So, while it certainly seems likely that the team will add more to the defensive line in free agency and the draft, the team probably feels better about its pass rush at this point than many fans.