Heaps: How additions Artie Burns, Uchenna Nwosu fit Seahawks D
The Seahawks focused early this week on retaining their own free agents, but they reportedly made two outside additions to the roster in the secondary and in the pass rush Wednesday.
Seattle reportedly signed cornerback Artie Burns, who played last year in Chicago, to a one-year deal as well as outside linebacker/edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu to a two-year deal worth as much as $20 million.
So what should we know about the two newest members of the Seahawks’ defense? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps, who co-hosts Jake and Stacy every weekday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Seattle Sports 710 AM, shared his thoughts Wednesday morning.
CB Artie Burns
Heaps started his look at Burns, 27, by noting that he’s a former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers who struggled early in his career. He improved after leaving Pittsburgh, though, and fits the mold of a typical Seahawks outside cornerback.
“He’s 6 feet tall, around 200 pounds and I think he fits more of the size and the model of what the Seahawks are looking for,” Heaps said. “He was with Pittsburgh for four years, it did not go exceptionally well, but in Chicago when he got his opportunity to play under Sean Desai, he played a lot better, especially at the end of the year. I think that this is a guy that is signing here in Seattle because of that relationship with Sean Desai. He knows the scheme, knows what he wants to do, how he wants his cornerbacks to be playing.”
Desai was a longtime Chicago defensive assistant who was Bears defensive coordinator in 2021. He’s now an associate head coach for the Seahawks.
Heaps noted that Burns graded very well in coverage by Pro Football Focus in his 11 games (six starts) in 2021 and is a good buy-low signing for the Seahawks as he’s reportedly owed as much as $2 million for 2022.
“This is a very reasonable contract for a player like Artie Burns where you’re just adding more competition to the group and you’re getting a chance to see who’s going to win the job between Sidney Jones and Artie Burns,” he said. “Who’s gonna win the job amongst that group? And knowing that you have Tre Brown, who the Seattle Seahawks have very, very high expectations for. So I still believe it gives them a chance to be young, gives competition there and adds somebody to the group that has background in Sean Desai’s defense.”
Nwosu, a 2018 second-round pick, may not be a household name, but he’s been a productive player for the Los Angeles Chargers. Per ESPN’s Brady Henderson, Nwosu is receiving the most money of any Seahawks free-agent edge rusher signing under Pete Carroll and John Schneider at $10 million annually. Nwosu is 25 and has 9.5 sacks over the last two years.
So what stands out to Heaps about the newest member of the Seahawks’ pass rush?
“Uchenna Nwosu, I believe, is a guy that has the ability to rush the passer. Natural ability, good explosion off of the edge, and has that feel and bend to be able to get to the quarterback, which I believe is incredibly important,” Heaps said. ” … This is a guy that can be disruptive on the edge in both the run and the passing game.”
So how does he fit with the Seahawks? Heaps said to look to a former first-round pick.
“How I see him fitting is if you could just picture that old school Bruce Irvin-type of role where he is playing on the line of scrimmage, he’s an outside linebacker who can drop into coverage if it so dictates, but his primary responsibility is going to be to rush the passer, is going to be play the edge,” Heaps said.
Heaps is a big fan of the addition of Nwosu, saying it has “Seahawks written all over it.”
“(He’s) 25 years old, going to be 26 this year, explosive, instinctual, and somebody that I believe has the ability to really progress and still has some good football ahead of him,” Heaps said. “So you pair him with Darrell Taylor and Carlos Dunlap and who knows what they do in the draft. I think that you’re getting younger, you’re getting more explosive and you give yourself a chance to really continue to progress an area that has been an emphasis for this team since Clint Hurtt took over as defensive coordinator, which is the edge position.”
Jake and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Seattle Sports 710 AM Monday through Friday, as well as streaming at SeattleSports.com or on the Seattle Sports app. Find podcasts of the entire show each day at 3 p.m. at this link.