By Jared Stanger
Four days away from the opening of Seahawks’ training camp and less than three weeks from the first preseason game, as well as a month from the opening of the college season, so it’s time to start digging into the 2019 draft. I’m beginning with one of the positions the Seahawks are most-likely to need to be looking at for an early draftpick: Defensive End.
My early study is telling me that most of the early “top 10 DE” lists are missing something…the right players. I struggle to see whatever the national media is seeing in guys like Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Zach Allen. I’m not going to sit here and dissect how/why I don’t like those. What I’m going to do instead is show you the guys that I do like.
Brian Burns, 6’5″/227lbs, FSU
A 2018 Junior; Burns has a year or two to add some weight to his super long frame. Guys like Vic Beasley have made it work at about 245lbs. Burns will also be challenged as the #1 DE for the Seminoles with Josh Sweat moved on to the NFL. Burns is coming off a 4.5 sack season, but posted 9.5 sacks as a freshman.
Anthony Nelson, 6’7″/260lbs, Iowa
Another Junior; Nelson has a Ryan Kerrigan vibe in his size and hand usage. Posting 13.5 sacks across his first two seasons, I really like what Nelson is showing on tape.
Jaylon Ferguson, 6’5″/269lbs, LaTech
Ferguson has been a hugely productive passrusher in the C-USA for three years with 7.0 sacks in 2017 after a career high of 14.5 sacks in 2016.
Jamal Davis, 6’4″/235lbs, Akron
Davis is a bit of a wildcard after only 2.0 sacks last year. But I like the athleticism.
Jalen Jelks, 6’6″/245lbs, Oregon
Jelks posted 6.5 sacks last year playing out of position at DT, and/or 4-tech. It’s actually impressive when you watch the tape, but then look at his weight. Jelks looks like a guy that could explode if given a shot to rush all the time at a more natural position as DE or rush LB.
Nick Bosa, 6’4″/270lbs, Ohio State
Bosa is the one guy from the preseason DE lists that I can’t argue against. Outside of an injury; it’s tough to see Bosa not becoming a top 5 draftpick if he declares after his Junior year.
Joe Jackson, 6’5″/258lbs, Miami
Probably the strongest DE I looked at. Jackson is coming off a 6.5 sack season.
Add this group of players to the list of potential vet free agent DE’s that are coming; Seattle could potential shore up their shallow passrushing in a single offseason.
Plus Preston Smith and Jadeveon Clowney.