Since the arrivals of John Schneider and Pete Carroll in 2010, the Seahawks have found constant success unearthing quality undrafted free agents.
Several undrafted rookies have made their presence felt during training camp and performed well in their first official NFL action last Thursday night. Leading the way, receiver Jazz Ferguson reeled in four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in a 22-14 win over the Broncos.
However, Ferguson wasn’t the lone undrafted standout who took advantage of his first opportunity to impress Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff.
As Seattle braces for starting defensive tackle Jarran Reed’s six-game suspension to open the season, finding depth along the interior defensive line remains a priority in exhibition play. With projected starter (and 2018 undrafted darling) Poona Ford held out, multiple players had a chance to shine against Denver.
Seeing significant play time with the Seahawks first-team defense, rookie Bryan Mone’s production may not have jumped off the box score, but he served as a one-man wrecking ball against the run. Whether holding his own at the point of attack against double teams or penetrating the backfield, the ex-Michigan standout played a key role in limiting the Broncos to just six first half points.
Starting on the game’s opening drive, Mone subbed in after running back Royce Freeman gashed the Seahawks for a 50-yard run to get to Seattle’s six-yard line and immediately made an impact. On first down and goal, he fired out of his stance from one-tech alignment and split the “A” gap to corral Freeman for a one-yard loss, helping eventually force the Broncos to settle for a short field goal.
Playing 29 total defensive snaps, Mone finished with three tackles and effectively used his gigantic 366-pound frame to create stalemates at the line of scrimmage. As a result, the Broncos rushed for only 41 yards on 19 carries aside from Freeman’s explosive run on that first drive.
“Big, tough, takes a lot of space, strong, really good knock back." Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said when asked for his thoughts on Mone thus far. "He’s another guy competing, he has a really good chance to make this team. We’re excited about what to see in the near future.”
Seattle struggled to consistently stop the run a year ago, including surrendering 149 rushing yards or more in three games during the month of November. Carroll referenced the issue as one that needed to be addressed on numerous occasions in the offseason, which led to the team signing veterans Al Woods and Earl Mitchell.
While Mone only produced 38 total tackles in four years playing for the Wolverines, his value on one of the nation’s best defense went beyond the stat sheet. When healthy, he clogged up running lanes and created opportunities for other players to rack up tackles in bunches.
Now in Seattle, Mone could have a similar influence as a rotational defender with the Seahawks and presents an intriguing younger alternative to Woods and Mitchell. Look for him to receive plenty of snaps throughout the rest of the preseason as he tries to sneak his way onto the 53-man roster.