It took longer than expected, but the Seattle Seahawks finally addressed the interior defensive line at No. 123 when they selected defensive tackle Cameron Young from Mississippi State. Despite being Seattle’s sixth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Young will have the chance to immediately contribute with the lack of depth in the middle of the defensive line.
Relative Athletic Score (RAS)
Cameron Young was drafted with pick 123 of round 4 in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 6.33 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 595 out of 1620 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/cm07IbZGt0 pic.twitter.com/mSvUyGcw5Q— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2023
Cameron Young isn’t particularly athletic, but he’s no slouch either with “good” RAS scores for size, speed, and explosion. It’s those agility grades that leave something to be desired. The good news? As a run-stuffing nose tackle – where the Seahawks plan to play Young – agility isn’t quite as important as the ability for the player to hold his ground and muck things up in the middle. Young’s arm length of 34.5” can also be an advantage keeping blockers away from his body so he can shed them and make the tackle.
The Mockdraftable comparisons show Jalen Carter, which sounds exciting until you realize that it’s based solely on the height, weight, arm length, and hand size as Carter didn’t perform any of the athletic testing at the combine or his pro day. Since Young will attempt to take over the role filled by Al Woods, let’s see how they compare according to RAS.
Not too far off really. Both players are similarly sized, but Woods can probably tie his shoes without bending over with those ridiculous 36” arms. Young performed better in the speed tests, but Woods had him beat in agility tests. The broad jumps were pretty even, but I need to call out that 37” vertical from Al Woods at 309lbs. Like…how??
Young has already added weight to get to around 320lbs and will probably take some time to add more strength to hold down the nose tackle position in the NFL – but there were already plenty of instances of him stonewalling the offensive line in college and clogging up the middle of the line.
Cameron Young, NT, #93— Rapinas do Mar (Cortes) (@cortesrapinas) May 5, 2023
Isso que eu quero do meu Nose Tackle. pic.twitter.com/9F7ssUuUI9
I would much rather see a snap like that than some of those from the DTs last season who were blown off the ball immediately and driven into the linebackers’ facemasks.
Gut reaction to the pick
With how thin the Seahawks were at DT going into the draft – and the number of potential fits that went off the board in the second and third round – I was pumped when they drafted Young even if I wasn’t particularly familiar with him specifically. Then, I find out that he played 24 games in the SEC over the last two seasons with 90 tackles and 5.5 TFL. That’s good production and experience in a tough conference much like second-round pick Derick Hall.
Tough is also a great word to describe Young by all accounts.
AFC GM on new Seahawks NOSE TACKLE Cameron Young: "STOUT. TOUGH. OLD SCHOOL. FROM A DIFFERENT ERA."— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) April 29, 2023
Yes, he's listed as a NOSE TACKLE.
I like the sound of that. Young also has a good motor and can chase down ballcarriers on the boundary.
Seahawks take one of the better run stuffing IDLs left on the board in Cameron Young. Can play nose tackle and 1T. Very good power at the point and can absorb space. Works hard to get to the ball too: pic.twitter.com/KhNgguepgk— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) April 29, 2023
This was another pick that I liked since it was a position of dire need, and Young was projected to be selected around this area of the draft.
Rookie season prediction
In all likelihood, Young will be expected to take significant snaps at nose tackle right off the bat. Al Woods and Poona Ford are gone, Bryan Mone is recovering from ACL surgery, and Jarran Reed isn’t a perfect fit at that position. I don’t know if he’ll be considered the starter, but Young will have ample opportunity to win that job.
It might not be smooth sailing his first year since Young probably needs a full season to put on good weight and gain the necessary strength to control NFL offensive linemen and hold the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. He probably won’t offer much as a pass rusher, but that’s not why he was drafted. Young won’t show up often on the stat sheet clogging up the middle, yet I can see him having a similar rookie season to the aforementioned Jarran Reed – who was also thought of as mainly a run-stuffer coming out of Alabama – which would put Young around 30 tackles and 2 TFL.
Huh, would you look at that?