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2015 Seahawks Preview: Defensive Line

The second day of our position-by-position look at the Seahawks heading into training camp focuses on a defensive line that should be deeper and more athletic than it was a year ago.

For Day 2 of our position-by-position training camp preview, we stick with the big guys in the trenches, looking at what should be a deep and athletic defensive line. While the 2013 Seahawks relied on a deep rotation of linemen, last year's team, because of both injuries and offseason losses, asked more of some players, in particular defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. While both of those players enjoyed very strong 2014 seasons, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll would still like to see more depth in order to keep everyone healthy and fresh late into the season.

If you missed it, you can find our offensive line preview here.

Returning starters:DE Michael Bennett
DE Cliff Avril
DT Brandon Mebane
DT Tony McDaniel
Additions:DE Frank Clark (second-round pick)
DE Obum Gwacham (sixth-round pick)
DT Ahtyba Rubin (free agent)
DT T.Y. McGill (UDFA)

Key losses:

DE O'Brien Schofield (free agency)
DT Kevin Williams (free agency)

Last year:

Initial 53-man roster included nine defensive linemen: Bennett, Mebane, McDaniel, Avril, Williams, Schofield, Cassius Marsh, Jordan Hill, Greg Scruggs.

What's at stake in training camp:

While anything can happen, it appears the starting roles are pretty set with all four starters coming back. Jordan Hill, who was enjoying a very strong second half of the season before an injury derailed his progress, also figures to have a prominent role in the nickel defense, and Ahtyba Rubin, a somewhat under-the-radar signing at the time, should also be a significant contributor. What should be interesting to watch in camp is how all the other players fit in and define roles in the defensive line rotation. As Seattle's top pick in the draft, Frank Clark figures to have some sort of role as a pass-rusher, but where does he line up and how many snaps will he play? The Seahawks are high on Cassius Marsh's athleticism and versatility—he even played a bit of strongside linebacker in the recent minicamp—but where does he fit best?

Those are just a couple of the questions to be answered next month, but regardless of how things shake out, the Seahawks should be deeper at defensive line than they were a year ago when a number of late-season injuries took their toll on the defense. Brandon Mebane didn't practice in offseason workouts, but should be back for training camp after ending last season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, Hill is back from his injury, and so too is Marsh. And in addition to being deep on the defensive line, this year's group “Is the fastest we’ve been,” according to Carroll thanks to the addition of players like Clark and Gwacham, a former receiver and track-and-field athlete who moved to defensive end for his final year at Oregon State. The Seahawks are also counting on that D-line athleticism to pay off in special teams play as well.

A player-by-player look at the Seahawks defensive line as it stands ahead of the team's 2015 training camp.

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