The Seahawks defensive tackles will change quite a bit in 2019. That could be a good thing as Seattle’s defensive interior needs to improve.
Jarran Reed was extremely good for the Seahawks in 2018. After a couple of years to begin his career with just being decent, Reed became a straight up beast last season. Reed had 10.5 sacks and was a disruptor. The problem was that he simply didn’t have much help on the inside of Seattle’s defensive front.
Seattle had quite a lot of trouble stopping the run last year. The Seahawks ranked 30th in yards-per-rush allowed in 2018. For a team that wants to go deep in the playoffs, 30th against the run will not get them there. Time and again against good running teams, Seattle was gashed. In fact, it is a bit surprising that teams didn’t try to run more against Seattle as Seattle finished fifth in rushing attempts against.
But there is hope for 2019. Poona Ford was excellent in limited snaps last year and will get the opportunity to play a bunch more this coming season. Seattle also singed Al Woods to simply come and try to slow the run. Woods is a proven veteran and just needs to do the one job he is asked to do.
The fourth defensive tackle in rotation is yet to be determined. It could be Nazair Jones or Quinton Jefferson. Veteran Jamie Meder may get a shot too. But Jones and Jefferson will get looks at defensive end and neither has shown themselves to be great against the run. For Reed, Ford and Woods to not get tired, Seattle needs to find another reliable tackle.
Another concern about the line is that Reed was good in 2018 he has to prove he can replicate his performance this season. Of course, he is also coming up on the final year of his contract so he will be even more motivated to maximize his next contract. One of the biggest questions about next offseason is if Seattle will find the money to keep Reed. If Reed cannot come near his production last year, the Seahawks are going to struggle stopping the run again.
Best case scenario, though, is that Reed plays close to 2018 level, Ford takes a jump in his second season, Woods plugs the holes enough to let the linebackers feast on running backs and a fourth good tackle is found for the rotation.
It is very possible that while defensive tackle might be somewhat in flux for Seattle, the players they have on the roster will stop running backs like Todd Gurley and make opposing offenses more predictable. For Seattle to go deep in the postseason, this is the way it must be.