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Can a D-lineman lead Seahawks in sacks instead of Jamal Adams in 2021?

Jamal Adams and Carlos Dunlap are Seattle's top returning sack-getters. (Getty)

The Seahawks improved their pass rush during the 2020 season, though it wasn’t all about the defensive line.

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Strong safety Jamal Adams led Seattle in sacks with 9.5, which was also an NFL record for a defensive back in a season – a record made all the more incredible by the fact that injuries limited him to playing only 12 games.

While Adams was plenty valuable to the team for his ability to get after the quarterback, don’t be surprised if his sacks numbers actually light a fire when it comes to some of his teammates.

“I promise you, every single defensive lineman on this team is thinking, ‘All respect to Jamal Adams, great dude – it better be a defensive lineman leading the team in sacks this year,'” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost said during Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy.

So if a defensive lineman ends up making more sacks than Adams to lead Seattle in 2021, who would it be?

Rost’s co-host Jake Heaps likes Carlos Dunlap in that conversation. Perhaps Dunlap would have made a run at the team lead last season, but he didn’t join the Seahawks until a midseason trade from Cincinnati. Even so, his six sacks in eight games ranked third for Seattle.

Dunlap is back with Seattle for 2021, re-signing after testing free agency, and Heaps expects big things with the two-time Pro Bowler starting a full season with the Seahawks.

“When you put him in consistent one-on-one situations for a full season, which I think he’s going to find himself in more often than not, I think that he’s going to be your leading sack-getter,” Heaps said. “Here’s the reason why: he’s consistently got eight-plus sacks every year. He hasn’t had one of those years where he’s had monster numbers where he’s gotten up to like 15 sacks, but you can almost put it in the bank with his body of work, his consistency year in and year out that he is an eight-plus sack guy. I think Carlos Dunlap is going to do that yet again with a full season as your leading pass rusher.”

The Seahawks have made adjustments to their pass rush this offseason, with Kerry Hyder Jr. signed away from the 49ers and 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier expected to play inside more following the release of defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Those moves could help clear the way for Dunlap to get plenty of opportunities to get after opposing quarterbacks.

“Especially with Kerry Hyder being at like a 5-tech spot and L.J. Collier spending some time inside, I could definitely see it being Dunlap (who leads Seattle in sacks),” Rost said.

You can hear the full discussion in this podcast of Jake and Stacy.

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Jake & Stacy