With the 2012-2013 campaign concluded, the 12th Man turns their attention to the upcoming NFL Draft on April 25th. Debate will rage over which positions the Seahawks should focus on in the early rounds. The consensus appears to be either a Defensive End or a Defensive Tackle. This draft appear to have nice depth on the defensive line even if lacking star power.
I think we can all agree that despite the great defensive performance this year is that this team could use a more consistent pass rush. Clemons had a fine season at the LEO and Irvin flashed his potential as a pass rusher. The Seahawks dont get much rush from their strong side DE (Red Bryant) when in our base 4-3 Under defense, but that is not required of that position in this defense. Our edge rushing was at least adequate in my opinion.
However the Seahawks failed to generate much push from the interior of the defensive line, especially once Jason Jones was lost for the season due to injury. Many fans, me included, feel like for this defense to take the next step, finding a penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle is paramount.
This led me to take a look at the Top 10 performing defensive tackles and 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL this season in two passing and two running metrics to see where they were drafted.
As we can see here, 40% of the leaders in sacks from defensive tackles were drafted in the 1st round. However that same amount were drafted in the 4th round or later. Guys like Geno Atkins and Henry Melton were absolute steals in the 4th round.
For the defensive ends, in most cases we are seeing a full round drop or more for the top 10 in their position for each of these metrics compared to defensive tackles. Because of the small sample size the avg round is greatly impacted by the two UDFA’s (Cameron Wake and Chis Clemons) that were top 10 in sacks.
Not sure much can be drawn from this as it is only a one year look. Based on where we draft in the 1st round it seems like a good opportunity to address the DT position however Pete Carroll and John Schneider are anything but predictable when it comes to their evaluations. They have done a fantastic job the past few season with the draft and I have no doubt they will pull another mid round gem from their hat.
For reference, here are the total DT’s and DE’s drafted by round in the last 10 drafts.
* Sack, Pressures, Tackles, and Run Stop % metrics from Pro Football Focus