Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 25, DL Quinton Jefferson
Each day until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is talking with an NFL analyst and counting down the 25 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. “Two-a-days” began Thursday with ESPN’s Trent Dilfer as the guest and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson as the 25th-most intriguing Seahawk. The segment on Jefferson is embedded above. My thoughts are below.
• Position: DT/DE
• Height/Weight: 6-4, 291
• Experience: Rookie
• Acquired: Fifth-round pick, 2016
Overview: “He’s a man. He’s just a solid individual, very active, plays very hard. We didn’t see a ton of players like him after that.” That’s what general manager John Schneider said after the Seahawks traded up in the fifth round to draft Jefferson. It was a rare move by Seattle, which had only traded up twice in the first six drafts under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. At least it was until this year. The Seahawks did it in the second round for defensive tackle Jarran Reed then again in the fifth for Jefferson. When Schneider called Jefferson “a man,” it was in reference to his maturity as a 23-year-old who is married with three kids. “Everything I do is for them, my wife,” Jefferson said when asked how much motivation he draws from his family. “I want them to have a good life and I want to be a role model for them, show them they can do anything they want to, they can achieve their dreams because their father has.”
The intrigue: It’s with his versatility. Jefferson played both end and tackle at Maryland, where he left after a junior season in which he recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Carroll mentioned Michael Bennett while talking about Jefferson’s ability to play end as well as either of the defensive-tackle spots. “He gives us the flexibility,” Carroll said. “He’s a very unique player. That’s why when John saw it happen, he said, ‘Well, shoot. Let’s go do it. Let’s go get him.’ It was a rare opportunity for us. He can play like Mike plays in the different spots. He’s got the kind of quickness and stuff that gives him that ability to be flexible.”
2016 outlook: The starters along Seattle’s defensive line are pretty much set, with three of them returning from last season and Reed expected to fill the only opening. And this position group is as deep as any on Seattle’s roster. But Jefferson’s versatility will help his bid to crack the rotation, whether it’s spelling a starter or securing a spot in Seattle’s nickel defense. How much he plays will depend to some degree on a few unknowns: Will Chris Clemons and Sealver Siliga make the team? Will Jordan Hill stay healthy? Will one of the lesser-known defensive linemen emerge? The best-case scenario for Jefferson’s rookie season is that he works his way into the rotation and makes an impact as a backup, like Hill in the second half of 2014 and to a lesser extent Frank Clark last year. But with such a deep group, Jefferson may be looking at something of a redshirt season as he waits his turn.