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Film breakdown: Is Boye Mafe ready to lead the Seahawks pass rush?

Mafe will be tasked to do more after the season-ending injury to Uchenna Nwosu.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

On Tuesday, it was announced that Seattle Seahawks star defender Uchenna Nwosu would be undergoing season-ending surgery on a torn pectoral muscle. At this time last year it is something that likely would’ve caused some panic around Seahawks fans. This is due to the fact that the 2022 Seahawks lacked a true sidekick to Nwosu and overall pass rushing depth. However, this year, it's a different story as Seattle has multiple weapons across the defensive front. Dre’Mont Jones, an extremely talented interior lineman has yet to flash consistently, but is going to be an integral part of replacing Nwosu.

The lion’s share of that is going to fall onto Boye Mafe, who was becoming a true second pass rusher for Clint Hurtt’s defense. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher already has four sacks this season and looks like a completely different player compared to his rookie campaign.

This is a beautiful combo move by Boye Mafe. He reduces the space between him and 2023 first-round pick Paris Johnson Jr. and once the Ohio State alum flashes his hands, Mafe swipes them down. This allows him to gain the edge, but Johnson Jr. is strong enough to stay engaged. As a result, Mafe then utilizes a powerful rip move that allows him to fight through the contact and pick up the sack on Joshua Dobbs.

Mafe sets up this speed/dip move perfectly. Off of the snap he stutters multiple times to get the rookie right tackle to become indecisive and choppy with his footwork. Because of that indecision, Johnson Jr. is late to get his hands on Mafe which allows him to dip right around him and pick up the pressure. A pass rush like this is so exciting for the development of Mafe as he did not display this type of pass rushing maturity last season.

This is not a highlight of Mafe’s, however, it is a further look as to how he is going to replace Uchenna Nwosu. Nwosu was fantastic at getting to the quarterback on tackle/end stunts because of his patience and athleticism. Luckily, both of those things are in Mafe’s game which are on display here. Off of the snap he takes two steps down to the line of scrimmage to sell the rush to the outside of Johnson Jr. Then, once the defensive tackle engages with the right tackle, Mafe explodes to the inside and moves Joshua Dobbs off of his spot. The end product of the play was not a positive for the Seahawks, but Mafe being a weapon on stunts will help lessen the loss of Nwosu.