Heaps: Why Poona Ford can minimize Seahawks’ loss of Jarran Reed

May 26, 2021, 8:15 AM

Seahawks DT Poona Ford...

The Seahawks signed DT Poona Ford to a two-year extension this offseason. (Getty)


In a bit of a surprising move this offseason, the Seahawks released defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who had 6.5 sacks in 2020.

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Reed, a second-round pick of the Seahawks in 2016, was entering the final year of his deal, in which he was due to make over $13 million. But when the Seahawks reportedly wouldn’t give him a contract extension, he asked to be released. The move saved Seattle roughly $8 million, and almost immediately after Reed was cut the Seahawks re-signed defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

Edge rushers are more valuable in today’s NFL than interior defensive linemen, but in terms of impacting opposing quarterbacks, Reed has been one of the best at his position in recent years. In 2018, Reed had 10.5 sacks. He had just two in 10 games in 2019, a season that was shortened for him by suspension, but his 6.5 last year were second on the Seahawks.

With Reed out of the picture in Seattle and now signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, a big question with the Seahawks in 2021 is how the defensive tackle position will perform. Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy pointed to one player in particular when examining the loss of Reed for the Seahawks.

“I think when you look at Poona Ford, you wonder if he can replace that production from Jarran Reed,” he said.

Ford is entering his fourth NFL season and has quietly become one of Seattle’s better defensive players. An undrafted rookie free agent in 2018, Ford has been a starter the last two seasons and earned a two-year contract extension worth over $12 million this offseason. In 42 career games, Ford has 59 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

When discussing why Ford made him comfortable with the Seahawks losing Reed this offseason, Heaps pointed to two lists recently released by Pro Football Focus regarding the top defensive linemen in football.  One of the lists ranked the top 32 defensive tackles in the NFL while the other ranked the top 32 defensive ends.

“The only Seahawks player to make those defensive line lists of defensive and defensive tackles? Poona Ford. He was ranked as the 19th-best defensive tackle,” Heaps said. “And Jarran Reed? Not even on this list. And as they described on this list, Poona Ford over the last three years has been extremely consistent in terms of his overall production, far exceeding expectations as a member of the undrafted free agent club heading into the NFL.”

Ford is a bit of an untraditional size for the defensive tackle position at 5 foot 11 and 310 pounds, but Heaps believes he’s overcome adversity in that regard and has only gotten better since entering the NFL in 2018.

“One thing I think Poona Ford has done really, really well is he’s been an excellent run defender and he continues to get even better with his pass rushing production,” Heaps said. “And it makes me feel a little bit better to see Poona Ford get recognized nationally for his production and his consistent play.”

Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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