Upgrading the defensive line remains a priority for Seattle. Three of the four starters up front are under contract for next season, including defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, and defensive tackle Colin Cole.
Brandon Mebane will be a free agent, but would appear to be one of the leading candidates for Seattle to re-sign this offseason.
Veteran defensive end Raheem Brook proved a nice fit as an edge rusher paired with Clemons in passing situations, and although he's a free agent, he would seem another candidate to re-sign with Seattle. Junior Siavii gave the Seahawks some production at both tackle and defensive end before suffering a neck stinger against Atlanta. Kentwan Balmer provided similar versatility at both positions.
And let’s not forget to mention the impact losing Dan Quinn will have on the defensive line. I thought Quinn commanded a lot of respect from this group and did a nice job at both finding specific roles for players and getting the most out of them.
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It will be interesting to see how new defensive line coach Todd Wash transitions into that position from Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks did a decent job of generating a pass rush this year, finishing with 37 sacks this season, good enough for 13th overall in the league. However, there were times where the secondary was put in a tough position because opposing quarterbacks had too much time to throw.
Seattle’s run defense was good early in the year, but injuries to Bryant, Cole and Mebane led to a steep drop-off in the second half of the season.
So I think adding depth to the defensive line through the draft will be important this year.
And defensive line might be the most talented-rich position in this year's draft, with NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock recently saying as many as nine defensive lineman could go in the first round in April.
Rob Rang and I took a look at a couple prospects that might make sense for the Seahawks to select with the No. 25 overall pick.
Those players include California defensive end Cameron Jordan, who could be a potential 5-tech with the versatility to slide inside and play 3-tech in passing situations, and Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan as a potential Leo defensive end.
Rang: “Just like his former teammate Tyson Alualu, who ended up being the No. 10 overall pick last year, when you put on the film Cameron Jordan just stands out. His physicality, he shows a little bit more burst than people want to give him credit for, so when he went to the Senior Bowl and was really dominant – I mean he was the best defensive lineman there – it wasn’t much of a surprise to anybody who really watched the Cal tape.”
Rang: “He’s a potential Leo guy. He’s got some pass-rush ability. He’s got some burst up field. I’d like to see him use his hands a little bit better, but he plays with his heart on his sleeve. He’s a very intense football player.”
Rang: “As we get close to the draft you'll see more and more of Liuget in first-round mocks from writers who do their homework. Quick, active and instinctive, he could wind up leaping ahead of many of big names.”
Skinny: Clayborn skipped the Senior Bowl and had a somewhat disappointing final season for the Hawkeyes, with only 3.5 sacks. But he still possesses strong pass-rush skills, an ability to play stout against the run and good closing speed that should make him a tempting selection in the first round.