Seahawks likely calling 2019 a mulligan for L.J. Collier

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 24: L.J. Collier #95 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 24: L.J. Collier #95 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks had high expectations for their first-round pick, L.J. Collier. He hasn’t come close to it, but it doesn’t mean he won’t do it next year.

When the Seahawks drafted defensive tackle L.J. Collier with their top pick in the draft, there were more than a few 12s scratching their heads. I was onboard with the selection, expecting him to be very similar to Michael Bennett – minus the penalties, of course. As it turned out, his production hasn’t been remotely close to Bennett’s. Two tackles on 140 snaps is no one’s definition of solid production.

And yet, there are reasons for this. Collier had a nasty ankle injury in camp and missed virtually all of his most valuable development time. Kind of hard to be a pro when you’re forced to learn on the job. The trenches in the NFL aren’t exactly conducive to OJT, after all. I believe Collier gets a large pass due to those circumstances.

It’s also instructive to take a look at a few other Seahawks who got off to slow starts. Let’s look at Rasheem Green first. He was drafted in the third round of 2018, so the expectations for him weren’t the same as for Collier. Still, he didn’t exactly set the NFL on fire as a rookie. In 10 games he got 201 snaps on defense, none as a starter. He amassed nine tackles, one sack and one quarterback hit. Doesn’t exactly seem a lot to build on.

More from 12th Man Rising

Yet here’s Green in his second year with solid production. He’s played in all 14 games, made six starts, and had 470 snaps. So far, he has 20 tackles, three of those for a loss. What’s really impressive is his four sacks, five quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles. He’s even broken up a pass.

Much like Collier, Green fought an ankle injury as a rookie. Green said that he pressed too hard when he got back into the lineup. As reported by Joe Fann on NBC Sports Northwest this preseason, Green admitted,

"“I was trying to do too much, and I ended up not doing much at all.” [In the same piece, Pete Carroll said], “He’s popping out now, his quickness is there, he’s more powerful than he was (last year), obviously his awareness and his timing is better because he’s more experienced.”"

Andy Patton reported for the Seahawks Wire that Carroll is showing much of the same confidence in Collier now.

"“I thought he was really active,” Carroll said on Monday. “He played a lot of plays. I think he played 40 plays or something like that. It was really a good outing for him. He was physical and played tough. We didn’t get to the quarterback with him, but that’s his best game by far of contributing. He’s just going to stay in the mix now. He’s really part of it.”"

Next. John Ursua, next man up. dark

Carroll’s optimism panned out for Green. Yeah, I know Pete is the patron saint of optimism. I get your skepticism. But let’s back to those comparisons to Michael Bennett. Way back in 2009, the rookie only got into seven games. He recorded three tackles, two quarterback hits, and one sack. 358 tackles and 68.5 sacks later, it seems he was pretty decent after all. Collier can certainly do the same.