The Seahawks defensive edge room needed a revamping this off-season. The team’s leader in sacks from last season, Carlos Dunlap, is no longer with the team, as is Rasheem Green, who was tied for second in sacks in the 2021 season. Benson Mayowa was also released and he hasn’t even been signed by anyone (and neither has Dunlap). Kerry Hyder Jr was also released in the offseason.
The only returning player on the roster who had more than 2 sacks last season is Darrell Taylor. Jamal Adams, the team’s sack leader from 2020 with 9.5 sacks, registered 0 last season. They’ve added Uchenna Nwosu through free agency, as well as drafted Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith. As a result of this turnover as well as Adams’ sudden regression, it is difficult to tell who exactly the alpha dog in the room that will lead the unit in sacks and come up with the big play when needed. In this article we are going to look at a few candidates who can be team leader in sacks.
Most likely - Uchenna Nwosu
If you’ve read any of my previous articles discussing him, you know I am a really big fan of what Nwosu brings to the table as an edge. Last season he ranked 31st in pressures, 17th in QB hits and 15th in QB knockdowns. His five sacks in 2021 set a new career high after getting a considerable jump in playing time. Now the obvious knock people are going to say in regard to Nwosu is how he does when offenses don’t have to worry about Joey Bosa on the other side, and that is certainly fair to wonder. I think Nwosu is a good enough pass rusher on his own to be a defense’s main edge rusher.
He is not the type of player who is going to post 15 or more sacks a season like T.J. Watt or Myles Garrett. However, there is certainly an argument to be made that he can rival the likes of Markus Golden and Harold Landry lll in getting around 10-12 sacks a season as a team's primary edge.
Runner up - Darrell Taylor
Taylor flashed in what was effectively his rookie season with the Seahawks, totaling 6.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss and 13 QB hits. His 22 pressures last season tied him for 62nd in the league, which on the surface might not look overly impressive. However, when you factor in that he only played 46% of Seattle’s defensive snaps in his 16 games as well as the fact last season was his first year of playing time it is a number that has to get you excited.
The path to him leading the team in sacks is rather simple, if opposing offenses decide to keyhole on Nwosu as the player they are not going to let beat them he is going to see a lot of 1v1 opportunities. Additionally, defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt has said he will not have his pass rushers drop back into coverage as much as last season, which should result in more snaps where Taylor can pin his ears back and go after the quarterback.
Longshot - Tyreke Smith
A lot needs to happen for Tyreke Smith to lead the Seahawks in sacks, but it is not completely out of the question. Smith is one to two injuries away from being a starter or a third down pass rushing specialist on this defense which on its own puts him in a position to lead the team in sacks. Smith is a talented rookie with quick hands, good bend and quick feet. He is not the prototypical project defensive edge that teams find in the fifth round that need to sit for one to two years before they can be used in bigger situations. Smith’s ceiling this season for sacks this season is likely six with starter snaps, which if a few players were to miss significant time is certainly a number that could lead the team. Again, it’s unlikely (especially when Boye Mafe also figured to be more likely to get playing time over him) but not impossible.
Honorable mention- Jamal Adams
Adams’ stay in Seattle has been turbulent thus far. In 12 games during the 2020 season, he recorded 9.5 sacks, 14 QB hits and 26 pressures. He looked like a dominant force showing off an ability to take over the game as a pass rusher even at the safety spot. The 2021 season was the complete opposite for the three-time All Pro. He registered 0 sacks, 2 QB hits and 6 pressures in 12 games before a season-ending shoulder injury in December. Clint Hurtt has said he intends to put Adams in the best position to succeed, which will likely result in more blitzes from the slot and edge for the former Jet. Adams certainly isn’t a long shot to lead the team in sacks if he can return to his 2020 form, but he is not ahead of the likes of Nwosu and Taylor in terms of Seahawks who are best poised to lead the team in sacks.
Who will lead the Seahawks in sacks this year?
This poll is closed