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2017 NFL Draft Preview: Could The Seahawks Add More Defensive Line Depth?

Where the Seahawks stand at defensive line heading into the draft, as well as a look at some of the top prospects in this year's draft class.

With the NFL Draft coming up, is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks' roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks currently hold seven picks in the 2017 draft, which begins Thursday, April 27 in Philadelphia.

  • Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall
  • Round 2 | Pick 26 | No. 58 overall
  • Round 3 | Pick 26 | No. 90 overall
  • Round 3 | Pick 38 | No. 102 overall*
  • Round 3 | Pick 42 | No. 106 overall*
  • Round 6 | Pick 26 | No. 210 overall
  • Round 7 | Pick 8 | No. 226 overall

*-Compensatory Pick

Our draft preview series began Monday with the offensive line. Today, we shift the focus to the other side of the ball and take a look at the defensive line. 

Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll

  • DE E.J. Wilson (No. 127 overall, 2010)
  • DE Dexter Davis (No. 236, 2010)
  • DE Pep Levingston (No. 205, 2011)
  • DE Bruce Irvin (No. 15, 2012; Irvin later switched to LB)
  • DE Jaye Howard (No. 114, 2012)
  • DE Greg Scruggs (No. 232, 2012)
  • DT Jordan Hill (No. 87, 2013)
  • DT Jesse Williams (No. 137, 2013)
  • DE Cassius Marsh (No. 108, 2014)
  • DT Jimmy Staten (No. 172, 2014)
  • DE Frank Clark (No. 63, 2015)
  • DE Obum Gwacham (No. 209, 2015)
  • DT Jarran Reed (No. 49, 2016)
  • DT Quinton Jefferson (No. 147, 2016)

Where the Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks should feel pretty good about where things stand with a defensive line that was a strength of their defense last season. Starting ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are both coming off of Pro Bowl seasons, Frank Clark had 10.0 sacks in his second season, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, who helped anchor a run defense that allowed a league-low 3.4 yards per carry in 2016, is back for a third season in Seattle, and Jarran Reed is looking to take a Clark-esque leap in year two after a promising rookie campaign. Depth options include Cassius Marsh, who took another step forward in his third season, and Quinton Jefferson, a fifth-round pick last year who missed most of his rookie season with a knee injury.

Yet as much as the Seahawks might like what they already have at defensive line, that won't stop them from looking to upgrade that position group in the draft, perhaps even in the first couple of rounds. As Carroll puts it, teams can never have enough pass rushers, so if the right player were available in the early rounds, it would hardly be a surprise to see the Seahawks add help there, even with Bennett, Avril and Clark already on the roster. And at defensive tackle, Tony McDaniel, a starter for much of last season, is a free agent, meaning another run-stopping defensive tackle could be on Seattle's list of needs.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Interior Defensive Linemen

1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Bottom Line (via leader and athlete with an ability to rush the passer from outside or inside. Has produced against the run and pass thanks to his strength, agility, elite hand usage, and plus footwork. He might not be the cleanest fit inside as a full-time tackle for some teams, but his talent should trump any size concerns. Allen is a likely first-round selection with Pro Bowl potential down the road.

2. Chris Wormley, Michigan

Bottom Line (via starter who brings leadership and high character into the locker room. Wormley's size and athleticism could appeal to teams that favor big, strong base ends who can set a physical edge and then bump inside as pass rushers. Wormley could be coaxed into a more sophisticated pass-rush approach with coaching, but he's not there yet. His size, athleticism and versatility gives him a chance to earn early playing time and to become an eventual starter.

3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State

Bottom Line (via similar physical traits and abilities of Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, but may not share their football character. McDowell lacked production along the interior and could benefit from a move to a defensive end spot in a 4-3 or 3-4 front. McDowell is raw, but when he flashes, it can be blinding. McDowell is an explosive, ascending prospect with All-Pro potential if he grows into his body and takes the necessary coaching.

4. Caleb Brantley, Florida

Bottom Line (via, stout defensive tackle with the quickness to play the three-technique and the power to play the nose. Brantley has the talent and traits that should appeal to both two-gap and one-gap defenses. While we haven't seen Brantley play in even half of Florida's defensive snaps in a single year, the talent is there to become an early starter and a defensive force up front.

T-5. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte

Bottom Line (via Ogunjobi play is like watching a more raw version of Sheldon Rankins and with a little less efficiency of movement. Like Rankins, Ogunjabi uses leverage, quickness, and strong hands to counter his average size. Size and below-average length will work against him for some teams, but others who covet disruptive defensive tackles who can play in the backfield and generate some pressure will be studying him closely. Has starting NFL potential.

T-5. Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama

Bottom Line (via Alabama defensive tackle who wins with leverage, power and technique. Tomlinson's powerful frame and ability to stack the run between the tackles could make him a scheme-flexible target in the draft. While he is likely to be drafted as a run bully, his history of operating in Alabama's stunt-and-twist-oriented defense could help keep him on the field on third downs for teams using a similar concept. Tomlinson has a chance to become an early starter and should work into a defensive line rotation immediately.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Edge Rushers

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Bottom Line (via edge rusher who possesses rare explosiveness and the fluid-movement skills and agility of an NBA shooting guard. Good size, but he's never likely going to be a hold-your-ground run defender, and might be best suited as an outside linebacker. However, his ability to explode into the backfield through a gap or around the edge gives him disruptive potential on every snap. Garrett still needs to fine-tune his pass-rush strategy and could stand to give more consistent effort from the start of the snap until the whistle. But his pass-rush production and athletic traits point toward an all-pro career.

2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Bottom Line (via defender who combines strength, quickness, and a muscle-car motor to drive him around the field making play after play. Has the hands and feet to be a quick-win specialist and the size to fit as a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive end who can reduce inside for pass-rush downs. He has all the athletic traits to become a high-impact player and possesses more than enough skill and talent to believe he will continue to elevate his game as a pro. Thomas has the potential to become the best defender from this draft class and a future all-pro.

3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Bottom Line (via edge presence with NFL-caliber hand usage and play strength. Barnett is one of the most productive defensive linemen to come out of the SEC in quite some time despite lacking the length and twitch that teams usually look for off the edge. His awareness and play traits should keep him near the action and he has the talent to step into a starting base end spot right away. There could be coordinators who view him as an early down, outside backer in a 3-4 with the ability to put his hand in the ground on sub packages.

4. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

Bottom Line (via edge prospect who racked up impressive TFL and sack numbers this year despite a relatively raw approach and skill set. He's a little stiff in his lower body, but flashes good athleticism once the ball is snapped. McKinley's motor is a translatable characteristic, but improved hand usage and pass rush mechanics are what could elevate his game to another level as a starting, 3-4 outside linebacker.

5. Charles Harris, Missouri

Bottom Line (via pass rusher with good athleticism but concerns regarding his ability to drop anchor against the run. Ironically, Harris might be best suited as a penetrator which is something he fought against this season. His hands can be improved as pass rush weapons, but he has agility and footwork that can't be taught. Harris can play on the edge in a 4-3 or 3-4 front and should be the next in a line of early contributing defensive ends coming out of Missouri.


Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's top defensive linemen in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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