Bumpus: 3 linebackers Seahawks should target in NFL Draft

Mar 2, 2023, 10:42 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
Daiyan Henley WSU Seahawks draft...
WSU LB Daiyan Henley runs drills during practice for the Senior Bowl on Feb. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

For the second offseason in a row, there are a lot of question marks at linebacker for the Seahawks.

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Last offseason, that was because Bobby Wagner was released after 10 years in Seattle. This year, it’s because Cody Barton is a pending free agent while Jordyn Brooks tore his ACL very late in the season, and it’s unclear whether Brookes will be ready come Week 1.

So with the Seahawks needing help at inside linebacker, how should they approach the position this offseason? Former Hawks wide receiver Michael Bumpus broke it down during Wednesday’s edition of Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

“I think that you have to get a linebacker during the offseason, a veteran,” Bumpus said.

But even if that happens, Bumpus thinks the Seahawks should still invest in the position in the draft, in particular by selecting an inside linebacker with one of the team’s two second-round picks (which are No. 38 and No. 53 overall, per Tankathon).

If that’s the case, there are three linebacker prospects Bumpus is keeping a close eye on.

Henry To’oTo’o out of Alabama. This guy is projected (to be drafted in) rounds one through two,” he said.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound To’oTo’o was a first-team All-SEC member in 2022 and a key part of Alabama’s defense the last two years, making 94 tackles in 2021 and 111 in 2022.

“This dude has great instincts. He sniffs out screens … He’s a natural tackler,” Bumpus said. “He’s got these long arms, he plays fast.”

The next linebacker Bumpus brought up plays for another college football powerhouse.

“I like Trenton Simpson out of Clemson,” Bumpus said.

The 6-3, 240 pound Simpson had nine sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 137 total tackles the last two years while breaking up five passes and forcing two fumbles.

When looking at Simpson, Bump sees a guy who is a linebacker/safety hybrid type of defender.

“I picture him walking into the box and still allowing these dudes to play fast when they want to go with those two-high safeties,” he said. ” … You keep him in the box or you bring down (Seahawks strong safeties) Jamal Adams or Ryan Neal and boom, you’ve still got your two-high look with a safety/linebacker look. This guy, again, he’s fast, he’s very responsible out there.”

Bump’s last linebacker crush is someone who starred at his alma mater last year.

“The last one I like is Daiyan Henley, my guy from WSU,” Bumpus said.

Henley, who is listed as 6-2 and 232 pounds, was named a second-team All-American by College Football News and an All-Pac-12 first teamer for his redshirt senior season in 2022, making 54 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception in 12 games for the Cougars.

“He’s a bit undersized, but again, I look at this Seahawks defense and they want to play fast. If you want to play fast, you need a MIKE linebacker who’s physical and can make all the tackles and stuff, but you need guys around him who are fast and get to the ball.”

Listen to the full conversation from Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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