Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Michael Bennett: The team needs a new face
By RON JOHNSONAP NFL Network senior writer Ron Jaworski breaks down the Seahawks defensive line depth chart for the second consecutive week.
The team has been in an offseason of roster shuffling.
Bennett was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, but the Seahawks cut him in January of that year after he missed 10 games with a broken foot.
The Seahawks were also interested in acquiring a tackle from the Rams last year.
With Bennett gone, the Seahawks signed veteran Brandon Mebane as the team’s starting left tackle.
Mebanese played eight games as a rookie and was one of the team.
The new faces in the Seahawks’ defensive line include former Seahawks standout Chris Clemons, who has been on injured reserve the past four weeks with a knee injury.
Rookie linebacker Brandon Browner is one of a handful of former Seahawk players who are signed to rookie contracts to replace Bennett.
He is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season.
He has been a reliable pass-rusher for the Seahawks since joining the team in 2015.
He had 13 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in his first season with Seattle.
Clemons had just two sacks in his rookie season.
Browner had just three sacks as a sophomore.
“I’m not surprised at all that we’ve gotten a lot of good players out of the defensive line and I’m excited for this group to continue to get better and hopefully get to where we want to be,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
“If we can keep all the guys who have been here for two or three years, I’m confident in what we’re going to be able to accomplish.”
Clemons is one veteran that the Seahawks will need to keep.
Browners absence has also left them without a starter at inside linebacker.
“The thing that we need to do is look at the other positions,” Seahawks defensive tackle Chris Clemens said.
“(Defensive line) is a really good position, but you also have to make sure that we have a good pass rush and that we can get guys to the quarterback as well.”
Browner will likely see more playing time this season.
The third-year player from Florida State has been the Seahawks best outside linebacker for the past two seasons.
He was a starter as a junior and sophomore, and he has started at inside defensive end in each of his two seasons with the Seahawks.
Brown’s rookie season was his best, as he had seven tackles for a loss, four quarterback hurries and five quarterback hits.
Brown is a solid pass-rushing pass-rush prospect.
He also has experience as a run-stuffer.
“You’ve got to be patient,” Brown said.
“[Defensive end] is a position where you’ve got a lot more room to grow.
You’ve got more flexibility in terms of the amount of snaps that you can get.”
Brown is not the only player that is signed this week to a rookie contract.
“We signed a lot.
We signed a couple guys we thought were going to play,” Carroll said when asked about his roster shake-up.
“A couple guys that we thought we could go out and try to fill that spot.”
The Seahawks have been a popular destination for undrafted free agents.
Brown, Clemons and Browner have all been part of the Seahawks success in recent seasons.
They combined for 53 sacks in their two seasons together, and the Seahawks were third in the league in sacks with 10.3 per game.
The roster moves have also given Carroll more flexibility this offseason.
He will have plenty of options on the roster in 2018.
The biggest question mark at the position is the future of former Seahawks defensive back Josh Jones.
He tore his ACL in Week 8 of the 2017 season and missed the next two seasons, before being released by the Seahawks in May.
“It’s tough to say right now,” Carroll acknowledged.
“But at this point, I think that we’re just going to have to wait and see.
If I have to put another guy in, then I’ll do that.”