Heaps: What Carlos Dunlap brings to the table for Seahawks’ defense
Oct 28, 2020, 3:20 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm
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.
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.
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.”
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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.