Heaps: Despite moves, Seahawks’ defense has not improved from 2019

Apr 10, 2020, 9:26 AM

Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...

Without Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Heaps says the Seahawks' defense is worse than 2019's. (Gettty)


Even though the Seahawks haven’t made a big move for a top-tier pass rusher, the team has been very active this offseason, adding nine new players.

Why 3 2019 defensive rookies need to step up for the Seahawks

The Seahawks desperately need to improve on their 2019 defense, which was among the worst in the NFL last season. While six of the nine moves have actually been on the offensive side of the ball, the three moves on defense have the potential to go a long way in repairing the defense.

Seattle signed defensive ends Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, both of whom played for the Seahawks early in their careers, and also acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins.

Irvin had 8.5 sacks for the Panthers last year and is a former first-round pick, Mayowa compiled 7 sacks for the Raiders in 2019 and Dunbar was Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked cornerback for the entire league.

Even though those three additions will be regular contribute in 2020, the need for a top pass rusher remains. Seattle had one in 2019 in Jadeveon Clowney, but he is a free agent and has yet to sign with the Seahawks or any team for that matter.

Without a true No. 1 pass rusher, Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy can’t say the Seahawks’ current defense has improved since the end of 2019.

“I would say that the secondary is definitely better adding Quinton Dunbar, but this defensive line is definitely not better,” he said. “First off, it’s incomplete because you haven’t made all your potential transactions with your defensive tackles … and also, from a defensive end standpoint, look, Bruce Irvin (is) great to have back. Benson Mayowa, I’m alright with that as a rotational player at one year, $3 million. But they have not upgraded their pass rushing situation whatsoever.”

Along with Mayowa and Irvin, the Seahawks have two young defensive ends in Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier who were drafted early in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, respectively. Heaps doesn’t think either is the answer to solving Seattle’s pass rush issue.

“I hope those guys do (step up) and that they are able to be contributors as rotational players, but they are not front-line guys that will be superstars who leading the charge in terms of generating big-time sacks and pressure rates,” Heaps said. “You need a proven veteran player that can get that done and Clowney is that type of player.”

The Seahawks have also been linked to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is available via trade, and Everson Griffen, a veteran who has played his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings and played for Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll at USC. They both would instantly become the Seahawks’ top edge rusher. Until a move like that is made, Heaps doesn’t see this offseason as an improvement.

“That part of it is incomplete and this defense is far from even coming close to being better than the 2019 version and that was towards the bottom of the league,” he said.

Listen to the full conversation starting at the 14:02 mark at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps on Twitter.

More Seahawks offseason coverage

Bumpus: Hawks are smart to not pay top dollar for a pass rusher
Seahawks need more sacks — would a bigger role for Shaquem Griffin help?
Clayton: Seahawks GM John Schneider has been going for it this offseason
FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt: Draft prospects that would fit Hawks’ D
Seahawks 2020 offseason tracker

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Heaps: Despite moves, Seahawks’ defense has not improved from 2019