Seahawks add much-needed power, versatility in first-round DE L.J. Collier
The Seattle Seahawks surprised many when they selected defensive end L.J. Collier in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft (and fewer when they traded back twice).
Collier is a pass-rusher that some have likened to Michael Bennett, and both head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said he fits the Seahawks’ system well. But what exactly did Seattle see in the TCU standout over other available defensive ends still available late in the first round?
“Power and versatility,” said 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard Friday morning on Brock and Salk. “Montez Sweat was there at 21, they could have taken him. Ultimately, the Seahawks said, ‘Nope, we’re gonna find the guy that fits a whole lot more of our profile.'”
Noted Mike Salk: “(Collier) is a big dude, 6-2, 283 pounds, plays with power, plays with anger, and that’s what everybody seemed to be excited about last night.”
While the Seahawks traded down from their initial No. 21 pick, they took Collier 29th overall with selection they acquired earlier in the week from the Chiefs in the Frank Clark trade. While picking Collier at that spot was viewed as something of a reach, it was a modest one.
“Was he a bit of a reach? Yeah,” said Salk. “Maybe a small one, but certainly not an embarrassment.”
Collier profiles as a large, strong defensive end that the Seahawks see as a complement for speed they already possess in the trenches.
“They need some size on the edge, and they got a guy who sure seems to profile a lot like Michael Bennett, all the while adding picks as they went,” Salk said.
The Seahawks go into the second day of the draft with the 37th and 92nd overall picks, and then close things out on Saturday with a quartet of fourth-round picks and a pair of fifth-rounders. Barring any more trades, they’ll wrap things up with a haul of nine total picks in the 2019 draft.