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Wednesday Round-Up: Assessing Seahawks' Linebacker Play In 2021

The Seattle Times continued its Seahawks position reviews Tuesday with Bob Condotta looking at how our linebackers performed this season.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Wednesday, February 2 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle Times' Bob Condotta Assesses Seahawks' Linebacker Play In 2021

2021 was the first season in 10 years that the Seahawks' defense didn't feature the stalwart combination of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright at linebacker. With Wright joining the Las Vegas Raiders during the offseason, the Seahawks turned to second-year backer Jordyn Brooks to help fill the gap and determine if the 2020 first round pick could one day carry the torch of the Seahawks defense.

The results this year were overwhelmingly positive: Wagner still played the role of veteran leader, playing the second most defensive snaps on the team with 1,128, and finished the season with a career-high 170 total tackles. But the 24-year-old Brooks showed the potential to be a breakout star at linebacker. He increased his snap count from 367 as a rookie in 2020 to 1,107 in 2021, and with that extra playing time set a Seahawks franchise record with 183 total tackles.

On Tuesday, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote about Wagner, Brooks, and the rest of the Seahawks linebackers in the Times' latest Seahawks position review piece.

"Brooks struggled some in pass coverage, earning a coverage grade of 43.4 from Pro Football Focus, 69th out of 80 linebackers, allowing a passer rating of 129.6," Condotta said. "But he was regarded as one of the best linebackers against the run — 13th of 86 linebackers according to PFF, a key part of a Seattle defense that was one of the best against the run in the NFL."

While the Seahawks had originally planned for 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor to take on a strongside linebacker role this season, those duties more often fell to Benson Mayowa, with Taylor mostly playing the edge rusher position. "[Mayowa's] 115 coverage snaps almost matched the 127 of his previous eight NFL seasons when he was usually mostly used as an edge rusher," Condotta said. "Mayowa handled it well enough, allowing eight receptions on nine targets, via PFF, for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Wagner was on pace with Brooks to have a shot at resetting the franchise record for tackles in a season himself, but a season-ending injury on the first play of the Week 17 game against the Lions ended that chance. "Wagner finished rated 15th by PFF, solid but also his lowest ranking since 2015 — he had been either first or second three of the previous four years," Condotta said.

The Wagner injury opened the door for third-year man Cody Barton to get his first significant playing time of the season and he did not disappoint, racking up 18 total tackles in the final two games against the Lions and Cardinals.

Click here to read Condotta’s full story on the Seahawks linebackers' performance in 2021 and a preview of the group next season.

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