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Heaps: What Carlos Dunlap brings to the table for Seahawks’ defense

Carlos Dunlap's versatility will come in handy for the Seahawks' struggling pass rush. (Getty)

The Seahawks’ acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap is official. Now it’s time to figure out how he fits in Seattle’s defense.

Seahawks trade reaction: A close look at Carlos Dunlap

Jake Heaps, co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy and a former Seahawks quarterback, shared his read on what Dunlap brings to the table on Wednesday afternoon.

“Oh, he’s definitely bringing more than one thing. This guy’s not a one-trick pony,” Heaps said.

Let’s break down a few of the things Heaps said Dunlap will add to the team or afford the Seahawks to do with his addition.

Pass rush

This one is obvious. Dunlap has registered at least 7 1/2 sacks in each of the past seven seasons, and it’s Seattle’s biggest need at the moment.

“This guy has the ability to get after the quarterback,” Heaps said of the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Dunlap. “He has been a disrupter, he’s been a guy who can get tackles for loss, quarterback hits. This is a very good, overall well-rounded player. … This is a long, lanky guy who can cover ground.”


The Seahawks have two defensive end positions in their defense – the LEO, which is more of a pure pass-rushing spot, and the 5-technique, which typically uses bigger players and is a more traditional spot on the defensive line.

Which one is Dunlap?

“He can play both the 5-technique and the LEO positions so he brings great versatility for you,” Heaps said. “He raises your ability to make plays on the defensive line.”

Which leads us to our last point.


The Seahawks’ pass rush was already a bit thin when the season started. Then Bruce Irvin (typically a LEO) was lost for the season with a torn ACL, and last year’s team leader in sacks, Rasheem Green (a 5-technique), was put on injured reserve after suffering a stinger in Week 1.

As a result, Benson Mayowa (LEO) has been playing more than ever before in his eight-year career. He’s been on the field for 72% of Seattle’s defensive snaps. Last year with the Raiders, he played in just 29% of their snaps, and the 29 year old has never played in more than 49% of his team’s snaps in any other season.

The good news for the Seahawks is not only is Dunlap entering the picture – though likely to debut in Week 9, not this Sunday vs. the 49ers – but Green was taken off IR on Wednesday and has three weeks to be activated.

“He also allows everybody else on the defensive line to get a breather,” Heaps said of Dunlap. “Benson Mayowa’s been playing an insane number of snaps each and every single game – that’s not what he should be doing. So between him and Carlos Dunlap, I think it will be a very good, solid rotation at that LEO position, and also with Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier at 5-technique.

“I think Carlos Dunlap brings a lot to the table. He’s going to be a good player for this group. He definitely makes this defense better.”

You can hear Heaps’ full comments in the Four-Down Territory segment of Tom, Jake and Stacy. Podcasts of the show are available at this link at 4 p.m. daily, an hour after the conclusion of each episode.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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