Following the team’s decision to trade Frank Clark to the Chiefs in April, the Seahawks entered the 2019 season with major question marks revolving around their pass rush.
Signed as a free agent in May, former Pro Bowl defensive end Ezekial Ansah was coming off shoulder surgery and didn't return to practice until late August. First-round selection L.J. Collier suffered a sprained ankle early in training camp. Then, Jarran Reed received a six-game suspension, leaving Seattle without over half of their sack production from a year ago to start the year.
To address the franchise’s greatest deficiency, general manager John Schneider pulled off a stunner by trading a 2020 third round pick along with reserve linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin for former No. 1 overall pick and three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney, quickly turning a weakness into a potential strength.
Clowney, who has recorded 24.5 sacks over the past three seasons, should immediately add bite to Seattle's pass rush off the edge. But as noted by Pete Carroll, he's also an accomplished run defender who recorded 53.5 tackles for loss during that same span.
“He’s really disruptive because he’s a very instinctive player. He penetrates and forces issues for you," Carroll said, comparing Clowney to former starter Michael Bennett. "Hopefully we can see some of that element from JD in our style of stuff. It’s this tremendous length of ability to reach and get in the back field and make things happen that other guys, it isn’t available to them."
What does Clowney bring to the Seahawks defensively? And does he have what it takes to really move the needle when it comes to Seattle challenging for an NFC West title and potentially contend for a Super Bowl?
Check out my latest film study as I break down many of Clowney's greatest strengths as a player and how the Seahawks can use him within the confines of their defensive scheme in 2019.