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ESPN: Seahawks have improved most along their defensive line

As we have seen play out several times over the last two seasons, Seattle is lacking at the line of scrimmage compared to true NFL heavyweights. New Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald seems aware of that and is determined to turn around the team’s culture to one that’s more physically dominant in the trenches.

It will take a while before they’re ready to compete with the 49ers at the line of scrimmage, but so far the work has been productive. According to Brady Henderson at ESPN, the team has improved most along its defensive line. The boost is thanks mostly to the selection of Byron Murphy in Round 1 and the addition of Johnathan Hankings in free agency.

“The Seahawks used the 16th pick to draft Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II, whom they considered the best defender in this year’s draft. They previously signed veteran nose tackle Johnathan Hankins on a one-year deal to be an early-down run-stuffer. Murphy is a three-down player, but between his addition and that of Hankins, as well as a full season of Leonard Williams and new coach Mike Macdonald’s scheme, Seattle should be better against the run after allowing the most rushing yards (4,906) of any team over the past two seasons.”

Seattle also retained Leonard Williams and re-signing him to a three-year deal was the most important move the franchise made this offseason, aside from firing Pete Carroll and replacing him with Mike Macdonald.

If Macdonald can carry over the pass-rush whisperer dynamic he brought to Baltimore’s defense, then we should see a dramatic improvement in this unit over the next couple of years. By the time he left the Ravens they had the best defense in the NFL by a wide margin. It will be very interesting to see if he can engineer a similar surge in Seattle. If he can, this team may be a contender again as soon as 2025.

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Story originally appeared on Seahawks Wire