Could Seahawks utilize Aldon Smith at both DE and LB like Bruce Irvin?

Apr 18, 2021, 10:24 AM

Seahawks Aldon Smith...

Aldon Smith is the newest member of the Seattle Seahawks' pass rush. (Getty)


The Seahawks have a new big name on defense, and that would be edge rusher Aldon Smith, who comes to Seattle after a five-sack campaign for the Dallas Cowboys.

Rost: 3 unanswered questions after Hawks’ signing of Smith

The signing was made official on Thursday and Smith, 31, now joins a team he used to terrorize early in his NFL career when he was with the San Francisco 49ers.

Smith is known as a great pass rusher, and before a number of legal issues derailed his career and resulted in him being out of the NFL from 2016 to 2019, he was one of the best edge rushers in football. In 2012, he recorded 19.5 sacks and was an All-Pro.

Now he joins a Seattle pass rush that also features Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder Jr., Benson Mayowa, Alton Robinson, Darrell Taylor and others.

But is rushing the passer all that Smith will do for the Seahawks in 2021?

When the Seahawks entered the 2020 season, they had Bruce Irvin set to play strongside (SAM) linebacker on early downs before rushing the quarterback from the defensive end spot on third down. It was a role he had done early in his career as well. Unfortunately, Irvin tore his ACL in Week 2, which resulted in K.J. Wright moving from weakside (WILL) linebacker to SAM, with rookie Jordyn Brooks assuming the starting job at WILL.

Now that SAM spot is vacant as Wright is currently a free agent, and while Smith has rushed the passer more times than not during his playing career, he has played some outside linebacker in the past.

So could Smith do in 2021 what the Seahawks planned for Irvin to do in 2020? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts on Friday’s visit with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

“I think he could, especially if you don’t get K.J. back,” Bumpus said. “We know K.J. (blitzed from the linebacker spot) rather than off the edge a couple of times during the season. The thing about Aldon Smith is that he is versatile and he can do both.”

Bumpus admitted that Smith is better suited to rush the passer than play the SAM spot, but he thinks the Seahawks will give him a shot to play some linebacker.

“One thing we know about the Hawks is they’re going to try everything out,” he said. “They’re going to (try him at SAM) and I even think they’ll try and put him inside (at defensive tackle because) we all know they’ll play with (fellow defensive end) Kerry Hyder and his positioning. So yes, it is a possibility. We’ll see what they do in camp.”

And with there being no clear-cut SAM linebacker on the current roster, that helps Smith’s chances of getting playing time there, Bumpus said.

“It’s all about who’s available and who do they have to fit that role,” he said. “I look at this roster right now and you have to experiment with (Smith at linebacker).”

Listen to Bumpus’ full interview with Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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Could Seahawks utilize Aldon Smith at both DE and LB like Bruce Irvin?