Cliff Avril: What Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed mean for Seahawks D-line
Mar 15, 2023, 1:40 PM
(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Seahawks have reshaped their defensive line in the early stages of the offseason.
Defensive tackle Poona Ford hit free agency when the new league year started Wednesday afternoon, as did 2019 first-round defensive lineman L.J. Collier. The Hawks also released veterans Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson.
But Seattle made early splashes in free agency to address the defensive line, reportedly signing former Broncos standout defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones on a three-year deal and reuniting with former Seahawks star Jarran Reed on a two-year contract.
Who better to talk defensive linemen than former Seahawks Pro Bowl edge rusher Cliff Avril? He joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Tuesday to share his insight on the Seahawks adding Jones and bringing back Reed.
Avril said he was speaking to his former defensive line teammate Michael Bennett on Tuesday and they joked that “the Seahawks are finally paying defensive linemen.”
“They’re making a push for it,” Avril said.
Why is that important? Well, the Seahawks were the third-worst team in the NFL in terms of stopping the run, and only two returning players recorded more than three sacks in 2022. Last season was also Seattle’s first year in its new 3-4 defensive scheme after running a 4-3 under head coach Pete Carroll since 2010.
“They’re realizing that they need to get a little bit more stout and some guys that can pass rush a little bit,” Avril said. “And going out there (and signing) Dre’Mont and obviously bringing back J-Reed, I think are two good pickups, solid pickups – J-Reed obviously knowing the city and the system and the coaches already.”
Reed was the Seahawks’ second-round pick in 2016, so he and Avril were teammates that season and in 2017, which was Avril’s last in the NFL. Reed remained with the Seahawks through the 2020 season before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 and then Green Bay Packers in 2022. He had 2.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons and 22 overall with Seattle, including 10.5 in 2018.
“I think him leaving, actually, and being able to return, he’s gonna be a different player because he’s learned one, the business out of the NFL, and two, from a lot of great other defensive linemen around him,” Avril said. “So collectively, I think the Seahawks realized that was somewhat of a hole in their defense and they’re trying to figure out how to plug that hole up.”
What can Jones and Reed bring to the Seahawks that Harris, Jefferson and Ford didn’t?
“The three guys you just mentioned are all extremely experienced, but maybe they just didn’t fit the mold of what (the Seahawks) wanted to do, right?” Avril said. “Because if you remember last year, initially going into the 3-4 scheme, the guys up front weren’t necessarily playing that well because the technique that they asked them to do was a lot different. It was stand and catch (blocks) a little bit, and those guys weren’t used to that.”
Jefferson, for instance, is about 280 pounds, Avril noted.
“You won’t last in that scheme at that frame. So I think going after some guys that … have played in a system like that but also can attack when you get in a 4-3 front and passing downs and different things like that (is important),” Avril said. “So I’m assuming that’s more so what they’re going after (signing) two guys that are versatile in both (schemes), because J-Reed left and he went and he ended up playing in a 3-4 scheme in Green Bay, so he understands kind of what’s needed from that perspective, and also still being able to attack and get after the quarterback.”
Listen to the full, wide-ranging interview with Avril at this link or in the audio player below.