Jim Nagy: Seahawks got away from formula of letting young players play
The Seahawks once again need some help when it comes to the pass rush after tying for 22nd in the NFL in sacks a year after a big improvement to seventh in the league.
Somewhere you can add talent at pass rush or any position is the NFL Draft, and according to Jim Nagy, a former Seahawks scout who now runs the Senior Bowl, there’s a lot of talent to be had when it comes to rushing the passer.
“If you need pass rush help, this is a good year to need it, because there’s a lot out there,” Nagy told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Thursday. ” … There are good players that could come in and play a role at minimum into the third round. You can always find a gem in the fourth or fifth round that can come in and play a role, but I think those first three rounds are stocked with defensive line talent, and it really won’t matter where the run starts, because there’s good depth.”
But the Seahawks instead of looking to the draft could look internally to solve their pass rush woes, Nagy said.
“Can we just get Alton Robinson on the field a little bit out there and let him do his thing?” Nagy asked.
Robinson was the Seahawks’ fifth round pick in 2020 out of Syracuse.
In 14 games (34% of Seattle’s defensive snaps) in 2020, Robinson ranked second among all rookies in sacks with four, and he also had five tackles for loss, four QB hits and forced a fumble.
— Chase Shannon (@chase_shannon) September 27, 2020
Because of that production in a limited role in 2020, expectations were high for the young edge rusher in 2021.
But Robinson played just 31% of the snaps in 16 games and had two sacks, forced a fumble, deflected a pass with five tackles for loss and three QB hits.
“I think Alton Robinson is a guy who, when he’s been out there, has been disruptive,” Nagy said. “I think they just need to find a way to get him more reps.”
Nagy isn’t a fan of how the Seahawks have utilized their younger players and rookies in recent years, including Robinson.
“The way Seattle, the way (head coach Pete Carroll) and (general manager John Schneider) built that thing in the early days was playing young guys. And that’s honestly been a frustration watching them from afar now is they’re not getting the young guys on the field,” he said. “They’re obviously going to go through some growing pains, just like (Richard Sherman) and (Kam Chancellor) and Doug Baldwin. All those guys did. But they played them and they lived through the growing pains.”
Nagy said playing younger players is a good thing, as evidenced by the Seahawks playing 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks all year long at linebacker.
Nagy thinks the Seahawks have drafted well in recent years, but it’s hard to tell at times because guys aren’t given chances during games.
“There’s a number of guys I think they will hit on, and they will become hits once they start playing them and giving them more reps,” he said.
So the big question then is why have the Seahawks drifted away from playing rookies and younger players?
“I have no idea. It’s a formula that worked and then it got difficult because those guys they did give chances to early on like the guys I mentioned … they established themselves as superstars, so you weren’t going to push those guys,” Nagy said. ” … That became a problem just with the whole ‘Always Compete’ mantra. You’re bringing guys in and are they really competing with those guys? So I think they’re back to a place where they can do that. That whole crew of guys has basically moved on other than Bobby (Wagner), and to me, they’ve got to get back to that. They’ve just got to bring in a bunch of hungry guys and let them compete.”
You can hear the full conversation with Nagy from Thursday’s Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.