Big Seahawks Questions: Who will lead in sacks, secondary concerns

May 26, 2022, 12:07 AM
Seahawks Boye Mafe...
Boye Mafe of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up during the 2020 Outback Bowl against the Auburn Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Seahawks will obviously have a new-look offense with Russell Wilson traded to Denver, but the defense also figures to look different due to a new coaching staff and strategy.

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During Tuesday’s Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, Salk asked former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus some rapid-fire Seahawks questions. Here’s a bit of what Bumpus had to say about Seattle’s defense.

Who will lead the Seahawks in sacks in 2022?

Seattle’s leading sacker from a year ago – Carlos Dunlap (8.5) – is no longer on the roster, nor is Rasheem Green, who had 6.5 in 2021.

So will Darrell Taylor, who also posted 6.5 sacks in 2021, lead the team in that category in 2022?

Not in Bumpus’ opinion.

“Boye Mafe. I’m gonna say just the rookie comes out (and shines),” Bumpus said.

Mafe, one of two second-round picks the Seahawks made last month, compiled 19.5 sacks in his college career at Minnesota, including 10 in 2021.

Mafe then shined in the pre-draft process as one of the top performers at the Senior Bowl and by putting on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I watched the film and he is still so raw. He didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school, I believe. He’s already extremely athletic, he’s an intelligent young man, and he takes to coaching,” Bumpus said. “He was asked, ‘How did you perform so well at the Senior Bowl?’ He goes, ‘I just did with the coaches asked me to do.’ It’s refreshing when you have a guy who just takes all the coaching like a sponge. And because of that, because I think that he’s going to get coached up, I think he’s going to take everything these coaches say to heart. I’m gonna go out there and say Mafe leads this team in sacks.”

Concern with secondary injuries

The Seahawks have some talent in their secondary. Unfortunately, most of the top-end players are recovering from serious injury.

Starting safeties Quandre Diggs (ankle) and Jamal Adams (shoulder), cornerback Tre Brown (knee) and nickel corner/safety Marquise Blair (knee) all suffered season-ending injuries in 2021, and it remains to be seen when any will take the field next. None participated in drills Monday during the first OTA session.

So on a 1-10 scale, what’s the level of concern with so much of that unit recovering from injury?

“I’m concerned. I’d say a six,” Bumpus said. “Not very high because I understand what it takes to get ready for an NFL season. OTAs are important – it’s nice to be around your boys, to get out there on the field, to communicate, to feel this defense and all that good stuff. But at the end of the day, these guys are professionals. It’s not like we’re coaching JV football and we’re trying to get them to understand a simple route combination or coverage. You can speak football to these guys and they are going to get it. Now they need these reps. You can’t just show up Week 1 and get it done. But because there’s so many more opportunities to get out on the football field and fine-tune some things, I’m alright with it. As long as you’re getting these mental reps, I’m not too concerned.”

Adams and Diggs will start when healthy, and Brown likely will, too. But how does Blair fit in given the Seahawks have two starting safeties and signed veteran nickel corner Justin Coleman in free agency?

“I think Marquise Blair is your utility guy. You can put him anywhere, man, and I think he’ll ball out,” Bumpus said.

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast of the second hour of Tuesday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below.

More from Seahawks insider Michael Bumpus

Who will be Seahawks’ No. 3 option in passing game?
Bump answers big Seahawks questions about RB, QB
Which Hawks rookies will have immediate impact?
Headlines for the full 2022 Seahawks schedule

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Big Seahawks Questions: Who will lead in sacks, secondary concerns