Seahawks observations: P.J. Johnson may be a diamond in the rough at DT
The Seahawks put some resources into adding to their defensive line over the offseason, but that mainly occurred at the defensive end position. So when training camp began, there were still plenty of questions about the defensive tackle position, where there was a noticeable lack of depth behind Jarran Reed and Poona Ford.
Seattle may have solved that issue with an in-camp signing, as recent addition P.J. Johnson caught the eye of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps in practice Friday.
“One newly-acquired defensive tackle, P.J. Johnson, looks like he’s done excellent out there in terms of his ability to cause disruption in the interior of that line and making it difficult to create running lanes and things of that nature for the running backs,” said Heaps, co-host of Tom, Jake and Stacy and a former Seahawks quarterback, during his Notebook segment Friday afternoon.
Heaps said the Seahawks’ defense has “been doing great in stopping the run” in practice since Johnson, who signed last Tuesday, entered the fold. That’s welcome news for a team that allowed 117.7 rushing yards per game in 2019, which ranked 22nd out of the 32 NFL teams.
The Seahawks are hoping they have found a diamond in the rough in the 24-year-old Johnson, an Arizona Wildcats product who was a 2019 seventh-round draft pick of Detroit but hasn’t yet played in a regular season NFL game despite stints with both the Lions and Rams last year. Without a splashy acquisition this offseason at DT, Seattle can use all the help it can get at the position.
“P.J. Johnson has looked really good, which I think is something that can build confidence in Seahawks fans because as you look at this defensive line group, particularly the defensive tackles, you look at that depth, it’s not something that bodes a ton of confidence,” Heaps said. “So you’re hoping that P.J. Johnson can be a good, solid player. He’s a big guy. You talk about (former Seahawks DT) Al Woods and how big he was and how he took up the whole couch when we were interviewing him for The Huddle last year. P.J. Johnson is a massive human being in the middle, and if he can provide some good, solid depth, that will be a very good thing for this group and Jarran Reed and Poona Ford so that they can have a good rotation and stay fresh.”
You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts on Johnson plus more notes on standout defensive players from Seahawks practice in the podcast at this link or in the player below.