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Breaking down all of Uchenna Nwosu’s sacks from the 2022 season

Nwosu made an immediate impact in his first season with the Seahawks.

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

Last offseason’s free agent addition Uchenna Nwosu was arguably the Seattle Seahawks’ best defender last season. He totaled 9.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 26 QB hits. It was far and away the best season of his career as his sack total was as many as he had in 2020 and 2021 combined. However, as shown in the Darrell Taylor article from last week, sometimes a player sack number is not actually indicative of future performance. Down below we are going to break down if his 9.5 sack season could lead to a 10+ sack season in 2023 or if he could regress to his Los Angeles Chargers numbers.

Sack 1

There are effort sacks and then there’s this effort sack by Nwosu. He originally drops back into what looks like a straight QB spy as he at first moves with Russell Wilson’s eyes and then tails him once he leaves the pocket. He takes a fantastic angle to the former Seahawk, running him down for the rare open field sack.

Sack 2

Nwosu has a plan on this one, but it gets shut down once he beats left tackle Taylor Decker to the spot. Shelby Harris, who is lined up next to Nwosu, also decided to attack the left B gap, and both Nwosu and Harris got to the gap at the same time. This caused the duo’s feet to tangle as Harris was going down, which almost always would lead to both players being taken out of the play. Somehow Nwosu still got Goff on the ground for the sack. Now obviously it is impossible to say for certain, but if Harris does not knock over Nwosu, I still believe he gets the sack. The main reason for that being he had a relatively clear lane to Goff as he had beaten Decker to the inside.

Sack 3

There is not a whole lot to this sack for Nwosu. Lined up as a wide nine on the defense’s right, he comes inside on a big loop. Harris, who is once again lined up to the left of him is rushing up field with the intention of occupying the Cardinals left guard and tackle. Cardinals center, Sean Harlow, recognizes the move and slides over to take Nwosu. The edge defender impacts Harlow and then hits him with a quick rip move allowing him to get up field just enough to get the sack as he was going to ground.

Sack 4

Nwosu, who is lined up on the defense’s left in a two-point stance beats New York Giants backup right tackle Tyre Phillips with a straight speed move to the outside. There is nothing complex to the move as he simply times the snap count well and beats Phillips to the spot on the edge. He maintains his balance as the tackle tries to force him up field and Nwosu shoots right for the ball, picking up the strip sack on Daniel Jones.

Sack 5

(Skip to 13:39 for the sack)

The design of this play was the same that Nwosu picked up his third sack of the season against the Cardinals. Harris once again rushes up field with Nwosu looping to the inside and trying to shoot the left A gap. The main difference with this one though is the Giants offensive line handles it poorly. The center, Jon Feliciano, slides to the offense’s right side and the right guard, Mark Glowinski stays attached to Harris for a hair too long. This allows for Nwosu to shoot the gap and pick up one of his easier sacks on the season.

Sack 6

Another sack, another designed blitz. This time, Nwosu is lined up on the defense’s left side next to now former Seahawks DT Al Woods. Big Al rushes up field, occupying the right guard and center. Nwosu makes contact with right tackle Kelvin Beachum, gets his arms extended, guides him just enough inside to bump into Al Woods which then triggers Nwosu inside. Because of the contact with Woods, Beachum is unable to follow him inside which gives the Seahawks edge an easy path to Kyler Murray. On the surface this does seem like a simple and lucky sack, but it is an intelligent play by Nwosu with the tempo and direction of his rush early in the play.

Sack 7

(Skip to 11:53 for the sack)

Once again, Nwosu picks up a sack on a designed twist where he loops to the inside. This has a similar design to his first sack in the game, however, rather than making contact with Beachum he stays a bit more back waiting for Al Woods to contact the right tackle. Once that happens, he cuts inside and brings down Kyler Murray for the easy sack.

Sack 8

Whilst this does go down into the book as a sack, this is poor edge contain by Nwosu on the play action. He shoots up field and to the outside after the snap which exposes the entire right C gap for the defense. Had it been handed off Cam Akers would have had a gaping cut back lane which could have resulted in a chunk play. But, going back to the sack, Nwosu is able to beat Ben Skowronek and Tyler Higbee relatively easily. He rushes up field and powers through the receiver and is able to get right into John Wolford’s lap for the strip sack.

Sack 9

This is a combination of a good pass rush move and an effort sack for Nwosu. The former Charger is lined up in a four point stance on the defense’s left, and is able to gain leverage pretty quickly on right tackle Rob Havenstein. Once he gains leverage on him he converts speed into power, gets into his lower half and drives the Ram right into the pocket which forces John Wolford to leave his drop point. Nwosu then disengages with Havenstein by powering through his outside arm and picks up the sack on Wolford.

Sack 9.5

Nwosu, who is lined up on the defense’s left side in a wide nine, beats Havenstein to the inside with a combination of a speed and rip move. It is on a designed roll out where quarterback Baker Mayfield which takes the odds out of Nwosu’s favor. However, Nwosu possesses the athleticism to chase him down from the backside and pick up half a sack.

Overall thoughts - Like Taylor last week, there are a lot of sacks here from designed blitzes as well as a couple of effort sacks. Which, as discussed last week, traditionally does not indicate year-to-year consistency. However, the one thing in Nwosu’s favor that makes me think he will not regress in 2023 is the fact he had multiple games that he was able to take over with his pressures and ability to move the quarterback. He does not have an overly deep pass rushing arsenal, but I think he has enough there to at least pick up nine sacks in 2023 and potentially set another career-high with double-digit sacks.