The Seahawks have made lots of moves in the last week, especially on their defensive line. Who will start for Seattle on defense in 2021 and will the unit start better than they did in 2020? On paper, the answer should be yes.
There are still some answers that might need to be answered, such as whether the Seahawks will try to sign another cornerback to help replace Shaquill Griffin and if Seattle will try to bring back K.J. Wright. Seattle currently has quite a few cornerbacks and might just decide to go with what they have. And Seattle might decide to play Jordyn Brooks at Wright’s former position.
Jarran Reed was released as well so finding a defensive tackle that can supply some interior quarterback pressure is a must. But the run defense should be better this coming season as Seattle has brought in a couple of good run-stoppers.
Who starts on the Seahawks 2021 defense, pre-NFL draft
Carlos Dunlap – defensive end
Poona Ford – defensive tackle
Al Woods (on run downs) and Kerry Hyder (on passing downs) – defensive tackle
Benson Mayowa – defensive end
OK, I cheated a bit. The reason for this is Woods is likely to get fewer snaps than Hyder and Hyder may be the more important player but if this is first down on the first play of the 2021 season, Woods is probably in but only to be replaced by Hyder and Bryan Mone and others.
I also think that Hyder probably gets more snaps at defensive end than even at tackle but Mayowa was good when healthy last year and can play the run and the pass and will be the starter. The good thing is that Seattle has a ton of depth at end going into 2021 with Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and Darrell Taylor. Collier and Green can also slide into to play tackle.
Linebacker – Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner
I am unsure if K.J. Wright returns. If I were a betting person I would say Wright returns but I could also see the Seahawks simply going with Brooks who has shown he can play all over the field with speed and was a first-round pick in 2020. Bobby Wagner is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, of course.
Cornerbacks – Ahkello Witherspoon, D.J. Reed and Ugo Amadi (nickelback)
Safeties – Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs
Cornerback, of course, is the biggest concern here. Can Witherspoon stay healthy and be as good as he was in 2020? I think he has more potential than Tre Flowers. Reed was very good when given the chance last year and should get the chance to start in 2021. Marquise Blair was going to be the starter at slot corner in 2020 but got hurt early and then Amadi played better as the season wore on and should be the starter at the beginning of 2021.
But does Quinton Dunbar re-sign? Or does Seattle make a huge move and bring Richard Sherman back?
The safeties are great and there are no concerns there. A worry would be if one of them got hurt but with Blair likely moving back to safety they should be OK.
So is the defense better in 2021? Yes if only because the Seahawks will have a much better pass rush at the beginning of the season and Adams has a full year in Seattle. Now 12s just need to hope for health and good coaching from defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.