Heaps: Why DT Geno Atkins would be a great addition to Seahawks’ D-line
The Seahawks are just a few weeks away from their 2021 season opener in Indianapolis against the Colts, and they may be adding a big-name veteran to the defense.
Three-time All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who has spent his entire 11-year NFL career in Cincinnati with the Bengals, visited the Seahawks on Monday, per reports.
The Seahawks have a lot of depth on the defensive line, but most of that depth comes on the edges at defensive end. Currently, Seattle has four defensive tackles on the roster who have prior NFL experience.
“It’s one thing to be cleared, it’s another thing to be actually cleared and being in football shape and ready to contribute starting in Week 1, as we learned with (defensive end) Ziggy Ansah (in 2019),” Heaps said. “He was cleared to play but obviously he was not at full strength with his shoulder and never got to the point where he could actually play the way that we saw Ziggy Ansah (play) for most of his career. And that’s the question that you have with Geno Atkins.”
Overall, Atkins has been remarkably healthy and durable during his career, but he made just one tackle in eight games in 2020 as he dealt with a shoulder injury. It was just the second time in his 11 NFL seasons that Atkins didn’t appear in every regular season game and the first season since 2013 that he missed any games.
If Atkins is in shape to play and contribute right away, Heaps things the Seahawks should “absolutely” sign him to the roster.
“The reason why is you’re not asking him to be the answer or to be the savior of your defensive line; you’re asking him to play a role,” he said. “You’re asking him to rotate with Poona Ford at that 3-technique defensive tackle position that the Seahawks really lack depth at. And Geno Atkins would be a great pair with Poona Ford to rotate in and to really keep that defensive line fresh to really continue to have disruption on that defensive line all game long.”
Still available: An 8x Pro Bowl DT.
— NFL (@NFL) June 21, 2021
Another reason Heaps thinks Atkins could be a nice addition is because of a key player Seattle lost this offseason.
“If (Atkins) comes in and contributes five sacks, that’s a positive for your team. Last year, Jarran Reed had 6.5 sacks. That’s a great number for Geno Atkins to hit and to be able to obtain,” he said.
And if Atkins does sign with the Seahawks, he’d be reuniting with a former teammate of his who’s been very productive since coming to Seattle.
“We’ve seen this with a defensive lineman who comes from Cincinnati and needs a fresh start a la (defensive end) Carlos Dunlap, a former teammate of Geno Atkins here. I could see that pairing working out very, very well for the Seahawks,” Heaps said. “It doesn’t mean he’s going to come in and be the former All-Pro version of himself, but I think he could be a very good added depth piece to this defensive line.”
Listen to the Heaps’ full discussion with Stacy Rost from the second hour of Monday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.