Position: Defensive End
School: UCLA Bruins
Measurables: 6’4″, 256 lbs
How Acquired: Selected in 4th round of NFL Draft
How can the Seahawks use him?
The loss of Chris Clemons put a pass-rushing, physical defensive end on the high-priority category going into the NFL Draft, the Seahawks responded by selecting Cassius Marsh. This kid’s motor is high, though he has gained a bit of a rap for taking plays off throughout the course of a game. For example, Mike Mayock voiced some character concerns about Marsh after his selection:
“Pete Carroll has never been afraid of an off-field challenge. He is gifted. I think he’s an outside linebacker-defensive end ‘tweener. But there are some questions about him off the field.” — Mike Mayock
If you listen to Pete Carroll talk about him though, you won’t get that sense. In his final rookie camp press conference, Carroll spoke glowingly of how in-shape and impressive Marsh has been already, saying he was “by far the most active player all three days” and “a great competitor.”
Carroll also outlined the UCLA product as a kid who could fill the role that Michael Bennett filled last season, which would free up Bennett to be more of an early-down type player. As a result it’s tough to see Bennett’s production staying as high because the opportunities for him in passing situations will be less, but if Marsh can replace that production from Bennett on late downs, the Hawks will ultimately benefit.
I think the most impressive thing about Cassius was the way he came in ready and then handled his first pro press conference. After hearing some of the things that we did about his off-field concerns, I was impressed by Marsh’s demeanor and humble attitude, not to mention how excited all of the coaches were about his camp production. This isn’t one of the kids the Seahawks like because of the chip on his shoulder, but he definitely fits the mold of a kid that wants to be great beyond expectations and seems legitimately concerned with being a great teammate and coachable player.
In fact while talking about how he embraced his namesake (named after “the greatest ever”, also known as Cassius Clay and later Muhammad Ali), he said “ah man, if you can’t live up to the expectations, why are you here?” Not only was he interested in living those up, he was very excited about getting to work and making the Seahawks’ organization proud that they drafted him. He’s exactly the type of kid that 12′s can get behind, and maybe he’ll work on some Ali-footwork for a sack celebration. If he does, he’s gotta call it the “float like a butterfly.”