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Uchenna Nwosu evokes Cliff Avril in his first season with the Seahawks

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New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Uchenna Nwosu has been having a great first season with the Seattle Seahawks. After signing a 2-year, $19M contract as a free agent, he has been leading the charge on a resurgent pass rush. The Seahawks have 14 sacks and 23 QB hits over the last three weeks, according to ESPN; Uchenna accounts for 3 of those sacks and 5 of the hits. In addition to this, he is doing things that evoke a fearsome edge rusher who many of us are likely to remember quite fondly...

Michael-Shawn Dugar of the Athletic digs even deeper in a recent piece, noting that Nwosu had piqued the team’s interest dating back to his college days with USC. Not only this, but he is putting himself in rare company early on, as Dugar goes on to say the following:

At the midway mark of the season, Nwosu has been Seattle’s most consistent defender. He leads the team in sacks (five), quarterback hits (12), pressures (28), passed batted at the line of scrimmage (two) and pressure rate (13.5 percent), according to TruMedia. Among all NFL defenders with at least 100 pass-rush snaps, Nwosu ranks 26th in pressure rate, 17th in sacks and 12th in QB hits.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves here, Nwosu has a ways to go before he is as consistently terrifying as Cliff Avril was during his spectacular Seahawks tenure, but this is as impressive of a start as we could have hoped for from the 2022 free agent addition. While there are still a lot of games left to play, it feels like Seattle may have once again found an impact player who garnered far less fanfare than other “marquee” guys at his position during the offseason. For example, ESPN ranked him as the 9th best pass rusher in Free Agency, and projected a meager 5.3 sacks on the season. Compare this to the other guys on their list:

According to Stathead, the only guys on here who have more sacks than Nwosu so far are Von Miller and Haason Reddick, who have 6 and 5.5 respectively. Justin Houston and Jerry Hughes are tied with Uchenna at 5 a piece, but every other guy on this list either has 1 or fewer sacks on the season. Nwosu is second to Reddick with 2 forced fumbles to Haason’s 3. Not only this, but his contract compares very favorably to these guys, as well.

To be fair, Seattle’s pass rush was uneven to start the year, but things are starting to look up on the heels of Nwosu’s leadership. Following the 2021 season, Darrell Taylor garnered a fair amount of attention as a potential franchise pass rusher. He posted an impressive 7 sacks and 8 QB hits to go along with a forced fumble, according to Pro Football Reference, but he has been a bit slow to get going this year. Still, he has managed to force 3 fumbles and garner a trio of sacks. Rookie Boye Mafe is in the mix too, and has generally looked like an excellent 2nd round pick up to this point. But Nwosu is the one leading the charge right now; he has quickly made an impression on the team, and he is making a similar impression on the league.

The organization has to feel good about the fact that they have him on a 2-year contract, because his value is about to skyrocket if he keeps performing as he has been. That, however, is looking a ways into the future, and for right now, I am just hoping that he plants Kyler Murray on the turf a couple times when the Seattle Seahawks travel to Glendale to take on the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.