Picture by The Seattle Times
DEFENSIVE LINE- The big boys up front should prove to be one of the strongest parts of the Seahawk's defense. This year I expect them to allow the least rushing yards in the league as they have two huge 300 pounders in Red Bryant and Alan Branch. Red Bryant has proven to be a steal thus far in his career as he was a late round draft pick out of Texas A&M. He signed a new 5 year $35-million deal this offseason and should be around for a long time. Bryant takes up a ton of space and lets no running back by him, especially with Alan Branch and Jason Jones next to him. Speaking of Branch and Jones, they were both great signings. Both were signed off of mediocre seasons for a low amount of money and both have proven thus far in their Seahawks career that they were solid signings. The anchor of the defensive tackles is Brandon Mebane. The third year player out of Cal signed a new contract last year and he will display why he got that contract with his continuing solid play this year. The defensive tackles are huge, but quick as well. That's why they're so good. Next we move to the ends, as well as the Leo spot. Chris Clemons has been the best trade acquisition in the John Schneider era, besides the Lynch trade, and has been the best and most consistent Seahawks player on the defensive side of the ball since he was acquired. He is a sack monster and gets to the quarterback quickly and often. He will provide that much needed pass rush, as well as the 15th pick in the NFL Draft. Bruce Irvin was drafted to sack opposing quarterbacks. Irvin was second in the nation in sacks in 2010 at West Virginia and mostly went unnoticed because of his off the field issues. In the Leo spot, Irvin has looked a little shaky this preseason, but turned it on this past week in the fourth game. He had multiple sacks and caused numerous fumbles. Given, these were against second and third stringers, but he still showed he could perform. Our defensive line will be a huge part of our defense this year, and one the best parts of our defense. The group: Bryant, Branch, Mebane, Jones, Clemons, and Irvin.
LINEBACKERS- The linebacking core this year is weaker than the usual Seahawk's core. In past years the 'Hawks have had excellent linebackers such as Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne, but they are long gone. This year a rookie will be the play caller of the defense. That would be Bobby Wagner out of Utah State. He is a playmaker in his spot and tackles everything he sees. I think he will pan out to be one of the best MLB's in the NFL once he receives more coaching. Around Wagner are OLB's Leroy Hill and K.J. Wright. Leroy Hill is a proven veteran and has proven every year that he is a solid starter, despite his off the field issues. He should have a solid season. K.J. Wright, in his second year, has moved to OLB because of the drafting of Wagner and his ability to play the OLB position. I think he will surprise many this year, kind of like Hawthorne did last year with his play. The linebacking core is the weakest part of our defense, but it's still a strong position with lots of talent. Just shows how good our defense is. The group: Hill, Wagner and Wright.
DEFENSIVE BACKS- The strongest part of the Sea-Fence, is easily the defensive backs. With two pro bowlers from the 2011 season and an emergence of two late round draft picks, this group is the best in the NFL. Earl Thomas leads this group and was the 14th overall pick in the 2010 Draft. The pro-bowler has been a playmaker ever since his debut, and will look to improve his already impressive track record. Once again, another steal by Pete Carroll and John Schneider, Brandon Browner will continue his resurgence and will go to another pro bowl. He was he biggest surprise of the Seahawks last year and I think with his improved confidence he will perform even better than last year. Earl Thomas' partner in the secondary, Kam Chancellor, has lived up to his nickname. Kam-Bam has been destroying all receivers and backs that have come his way since he was drafted along with Thomas in 2010. Chancellor has been a pleasant surprise along with cornerback, Richard Sherman. Sherman was drafted out of Stanford in the 7th round last year and nobody thought much of him except for the Seahawks. Mid-Season he took over the starting job and that's the only reason he didn't make the pro-bowl: he didn't get to display his talent for an entire season. Sherman will display that talent this season and will make the pro-bowl, as well as the rest of the Seahawks secondary. I expect a banner year from the secondary and for all four to come out as pro-bowlers after the season. The Group: Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas and Browner.
The constant theme around the Seahawks' defensive personnel is surprise. Many players have been lowly thought of coming out of free agency or the NFL Draft, but all of them have surprised people with their true talent. That's what makes this defensive group so special. They have an underdog type of mentality that motors them and fuels them to play harder, faster and stronger. The Sea-Fence will be crucial to all of the Seahawks success this year. If the Sea-Fence holds strong and keps the underdog mentality, look for a banner year from the Seattle Seahawks.
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