Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel signs with Seahawks

Posted Apr 3, 2013

The first two players signed by the Seahawks in free agency were defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Wednesday’s addition of tackle Tony McDaniel makes them three-for-three.

The way Dan Quinn views it you can never have enough defensive linemen.

That was apparent during his first stint with the Seahawks, when they carried 11 of them on their 53-man roster heading into the season. That was in 2009, when Quinn was in the first of his two seasons as the defensive line coach. He’s back, as the defensive coordinator after two seasons at the University of Florida, but with the same passion for acquiring linemen.

Quinn added to his pile – again – on Wednesday, when the club announced the signing of Tony McDaniel after the free agent defensive tackle had passed a physical and signed his contract. The team also announced that defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, a restricted free agent, had signed his tender.

McDaniel, 28, spent the past four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, who acquired him in a 2009 trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. McDaniel entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2006 with the Jaguars.

The 6-foot-7, 305-pound McDaniel is the third defensive lineman to sign with the Seahawks since the free-agency period began on March 12, joining defensive end Cliff Avril and versatile lineman Michael Bennett.

A defense that allowed the fewest points in the league and ranked fourth in yards allowed last season already had depth and versatility on the line – led by sack leader Chris Clemons, run-stuffing end Red Bryant, productive nose tackle Brandon Mebane and rush-end Bruce Irvin, who led all NFL rookies with eight sacks last season after being the team’s first-round pick in the NFL Draft. There’s also the versatile McDonald, who had 25 tackles last season while playing in the base and nickel lines; and the duo of Greg Scruggs and Jaye Howard, who were added in the draft last year.

But Clemons is recovery from surgery to repair the knee ligament he damaged in the wild-card playoff victory over the Washington Redskins in January. Jason Jones, the three-technique tackle in the nickel line, signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency; while Alan Branch, the three-technique tackle in the base defense, signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

McDaniel was the first lineman off the bench for the Dolphins last season and had half-a-sack in their Week 12 win over the Seahawks in Miami. But the Dolphins signed former San Diego Chargers defensive lineman Vaughn Martin in free agency last week.

McDaniel possesses the bulk, length and leverage to play that three-technique tackle spot Branch filled for the Seahawks the past two seasons. But he has started only five games during his seven seasons in the league – the best coming in 2010, when he collected 36 of his 119 career tackles, 2.5 of his 8.5 career sacks and four of his 12 career batted passes.

Prior to last season, Scouts Inc. offered this assessment of McDaniel: “He does flash power at the point of attack defending the run and pushing the pocket. McDaniel continues to make progress but is still raw.”

Exactly where McDaniel fits with the Seahawks remains to be seen, but he adds to the depth and competition in a unit where there already were ample amounts of both.

But as Quinn has said, with his actions as well as words: “Really, you can never have enough defensive linemen.”

With the addition of McDaniel, Quinn and first-year line coach Travis Jones now have one more.