The reigning NFC West champions are upping the ante when it comes to their pass rush via a former first round draft choice.
In 2019, the team in the Pacific Northwest reached the postseason for the eighth time in the last nine years. Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks started 2020 with five consecutive wins and allowed 23-plus points in each victory. The club’s defensive unit was under constant fire and couldn’t stop opposing quarterbacks from rolling up big numbers.
In late July, Carroll and general manager John Schneider sent safety Bradley McDougald, first-round picks in 2021 and ’22 and a third-round selection later this month for star safety Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round choice. He finished the year with zero interceptions but led the club with 9.5 quarterback traps. Near the trade deadline last year, the club acquired defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Cincinnati Bengals. He wound up racking up five sacks for the eventual NFC West champions, fourth on the team behind Adams and Jarran Reed (6.5) – no longer with the club – and Benson Mayowa (6).
Dunlap is back after being released briefly this offseason. The Seahawks added pass-rusher Kerry Hyder in free agency. He led the rival San Francisco 49ers with 8.5 sacks this past season. Ideally, the Seahawks don’t want their strong safety to lead the team in sacks. So the organization now adds one-time Niners’ terror Aldon Smith to the roster.
Will Aldon Smith bolster the Seahawks defense?
No doubt Carroll and the team have less than fond memories for the player who rolled up 44 sacks in 50 regular-season outings for their divisional rivals from 2011-14. Of course, he wound up with the Raiders, was out of the league for four years and then re-emerged in Dallas in 2020 after being reinstated by the NFL.
Smith was a 16-game starter for the Cowboys this past year, finishing with 48 tackles, five sacks (3 in Week 3 at Seattle) and two fumble recoveries – one returned for a score. But he also had just one sack in the club’s final 13 contests. The Seahawks finished with a respectable 46 QB traps a year ago – 34 in their final nine regular-season outings when Dunlap first took the field vs. the Bills in Week 9. They could be even better this year, especially if Ken Norton’s unit picks up where it left off in 2020 and Smith recaptures his early form of a year ago.