BROCK AND SALK

Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profile: A power-speed force on the edge

Apr 22, 2024, 6:34 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm

With defensive-minded Mike Macdonald taking over as head coach, the Seattle Seahawks will undoubtedly be looking for impact defensive players in the early rounds of this week’s NFL Draft.

One player who certainly fits that bill is Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse, who some experts believe Seattle could select with its No. 16 overall pick.

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After dominating at FCS-level Albany in his first two college seasons, the 6 foot 4, 254-pound Verse transferred to Florida State and was a game-changing force for the Seminoles. Verse totaled 29.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in his two seasons at Florida State, including a standout campaign this past fall that earned him Associated Press second-team All-American honors. He anchored a defense that allowed just 15.9 points per game during the Seminoles’ 13-0 regular season.

Verse was the subject of FOX college football analyst and former NFL quarterback Brock Huard’s Seahawks draft profile on Monday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“Look at the production,” Huard said. “This is not a one-hit wonder. This was a star at Albany. He was a star at Florida State. … The dude gets home. The dude is powerful. (There was) an anecdote about him last week: He reached out to Florida State and those players before he ever transferred there and said, ‘Listen, you’re not getting a diva. I’m going to be a guy. I’m going to be a team guy.’ And he was the heart and soul of a team that went undefeated and got screwed out of a (College Football Playoff) opportunity. If Jared Verse is on the board at 16, it is gonna be a very, very tempting pick for Seattle.”

Verse has the combination of power and explosiveness that NFL teams covet. The Dayton, Ohio, native completed 31 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine, which was five more than any other defensive end and tied for the fourth-most of any position. He also ran 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which ranked fourth among defensive ends. And he posted a broad jump of 10 feet, 7 inches that was fifth among defensive ends.

With those physical attributes, Verse would benefit a Seattle defense that allowed 4.6 yards per carry last season (28th in the NFL) and recorded just 38 sacks (23rd).

“We will hear about the run wall with Mike Macdonald as he builds his defense,” Huard said. “You want to build a very, very strong edge of that wall? You draft Jared Verse. … That’s a powerful, powerful man. Usually when you see somebody bench press of that nature, they’re a little stiff, and he’s got a tiny bit of stiffness. But you know what they don’t normally do? They don’t normally run 4.5 in the 40 (or post a) 10-foot-7 broad jump. All of that twitch – all of that explosiveness that you want – with all of that power. You’ll hear these scouts all week long talk about speed to power, speed to power. Well, he’s got speed and dude has power. (And) he’s been unbelievably productive.”

Huard compared Verse to Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson, a three-time Pro Bowler who had 17.5 sacks last season. Like Verse, Hendrickson played at a smaller college football program in Florida Atlantic.

“Is he like (fellow projected first-round edge rusher Laiatu Latu) with all of his moves? No,” Huard said. “But is he just a ‘pick up your lunch pail and let me set a physical edge and be an immovable difference-maker?’ Yeah. So there’s a bunch of Trey Hendrickson to his game. He’s just a stout dude.”

Listen to Brock Huard’s full draft profile on Jared Verse at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m.

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