The massive ‘man eater’ Baylor nose tackle Seahawks could draft

Mar 29, 2023, 12:48 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 2:21 pm

Seahawks draft Siaki Ika...

Siaki Ika of the Baylor Bears reacts on Oct. 29, 2022. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ biggest needs entering the 2023 NFL Draft are pretty apparent as they finished 31st in football in run defense last year.

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Seattle has moved on from a majority of its defensive line this offseason, and with the NFL Draft coming up next month, the Hawks can address that position group in a meaningful way.

Someone who the Seahawks could draft to address their run defense woes is Baylor nose tackle Siaki Ika, who was the focus of Brock Huard’s latest draft profile during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

Huard, a former NFL quarterback, is a college football analyst for FOX Sports who has seen Ika in person a handful of times.

“He’s a big old man now. He is large and in charge,” Huard said.

Ika measured in at the combine at 6 foot 3 and 335 pounds, so he is indeed a “big” man, and his listed weight at Baylor was nearly 360 pounds.

“I think that’s as svelte as he’s weighed in years. He’s, I think, been up to 375 (pounds) when he got to Baylor, and 335 is what he carried at the combine,” Huard said.

Additionally, Ika was a highly-touted recruit out of high school, initially attending LSU. The Tigers’ head coach? Ed Orgeron, a former colleague of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

“He played in 13 games as a true freshman on that (LSU) national title team. The following year … he, like many, fled Baton Rouge and got out of there and landed in Waco, Texas (at Baylor), where he became the Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2021,” Huard said.

Ika was a two-time All-Big 12 player, but not because of filling up the box score, Huard said.

“Not because of the stats. Stats will never blow you away for nose tackles,” he said. “… But the guy just eats up double teams. And for a team that wants to play this ‘bear’ front, you need to have a grizzly bear that can move a little bit right in the middle of your front, and that’s what this kid does.”

If you hear Huard talk about draft prospects, you’ll notice he values players who are heartbeat-type guys who help dictate the direction of the program.

“One of my first questions for every defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator is, ‘Who is the player that when he walks into your meeting room immediately changes the temperature? Who’s the one that when he walks in, everybody knows he’s arrived?'” Huard said. “And at Baylor for the last two years, there was no hesitation from anyone in the entire building, it’s (Ika). He puts on a show, not afraid to be charismatic, not afraid to have fun, not afraid to dance, not afraid to laugh, not afraid to put himself out there. He’s absolutely the enormous straw that stirs the drink of that defense. In a three-down odd front defense, that nose tackle, he knows how to play that front.”

Ika weighing in at 335 pounds and not heavier means he checked “a pretty big significant box,” Huard said, which should result in him being drafted in the second round. The Seahawks have two picks in each of the first and second rounds.

“I think he’s a second-rounder. I think the athleticism is not dynamic enough that he’s all of a sudden going to bump up into the first round,” Huard said. “And the testing wasn’t terrific, and there are still questions about some of that weight and seeing that fluctuate … He is a large, large man, but he moves and he just loves ball. He loves people, he loves connecting. He was the energizer, he was the juice in that building. I like that. I want guys like that. I don’t want walruses that just sit in the shade and do nothing and flop around. I want a dancing bear, and he’s got a lot of dancing bear to him.”

Listen to Huard’s full thoughts on Ika in the podcast below, and catch a new Seahawks Draft Profile at 9 a.m. every day on Brock and Salk leading up to the first day of the NFL Draft on April 27.

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