These 2021 Seattle Seahawks are finished as far as the playoffs are concerned. While we expect them to break their losing streak and perform better down the stretch, it’s also time to look ahead to next offseason.
Yesterday we examined a few positions on offense they should prioritize in next year’s NFL draft. Their defense has improved a ton since the start of the year and there aren’t as many leaks on this side of the ball. Still, there are a few spots where they could use help. Here are three defensive positions the front office should be targeting on Days 2-3.
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The Seahawks have a promising pair of young edge defenders in Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. However, the regression from Carlos Dunlap after a superb 2020 season has hit their defensive end depth hard. Sacks are drive-killers and not getting enough of them is part of the reason why this team is last in time of possession. Seattle currently ranks No. 29 in sacks per game and adding more pass rush firepower is probably the best way to upgrade this defense personnel-wise.
Without a first-round pick the Seahawks won’t be able to land top prospects like Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. They should use a mid-round pick on an edge prospect with an athletic profile they like, though. If he can line up inside as well as outside, all the better.
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The back end of Seattle’s defense is on far better footing than it was early this season. Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs have rounded into form and make for one of the top safety duos in the NFL. In D.J. Reed and Tre Brown, the Seahawks also have a couple of quality starting outside corners. The weak link in the chain is in the slot, where there’s no easy answer already on the roster.
Reps at the position have mostly been split between Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair, neither of whom have impressed. Amadi has a 45.7 grade in coverage from Pro Football focus and has made some big mistakes. Meanwhile, Blair’s coverage grade is 57.4 and he’s missed a few key tackles.
The nature of DB play is always up and down, so it’s possible either one could yet develop into a reliable slot defender. It would be wise to give defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. another young option here, though.
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Starting interior linemen Al Woods and Poona Ford have been Seattle’s most-consistent defensive players this year. Both stop the run and pressure the pocket well and PFF has them ranked first and third respectively among Seattle defenders with linebacker Bobby Wagner in the middle. Woods is 34 years old, though and there’s not much depth behind either one of them on the depth chart.
The Seahawks have six picks going into the draft thanks to the Jamal Adams trade, but we can safely assume they’ll be trading down at least once to add another selection. If they do wind up with seven picks, taking a late-round flyer on a tackle prospect with enough upside to be a potential starter some day is a good idea.