I'm not suggesting the Seattle Seahawks need to add a starting nose tackle to their lineup. I believe Jarran Reed will take care of that just fine. But they certainly need to add some quality depth. One look at their transactions shows they know it too.
The Seahawks completely overhauled their defensive line this offseason and it doesn't look like they're quite finished with the process. Dre'Mont Jones and Jarran Reed are obviously locked in as starters. For now, Mario Edwards is starting even though I expect him to lose that spot to Mike Morris no later than week 6. I'd be thrilled if Edwards balls out, sure. But my focus here is on nose tackle.
As I said at the beginning, I wrote that I'm sold on Jarran Reed at the nose. I haven't changed my mind on that at all; I think he'll be great at the position. I fully expect Reed to be in the top ten rankings at season's end. More importantly, he'll excel at disrupting opposing offensive lines, freeing Bobby Wagner and his merry crew to swallow running backs whole. No, my concern is just who the Seahawks have behind Reed. Clearly, Seattle is concerned too. A quick look at their transactions proves it.
The Seahawks have operated a turnstile at nose tackle this offseason
Take a look at the Hawks' transactions since they released Al Woods in March. They signed Robert Cooper and Jonah Tavai, in addition to their own fourth-round draft pick, Cameron Young on May 12th. In the next seven days, Seattle signed Forrest Merrill and Austin Faoliu and released LaTrell Bumphus and Robert Cooper. Remember, they had just signed Cooper a week earlier. But the carousel was just starting, 12s. In June the Hawks waived Bumphus, then released Merrill and signed Jacob Sykes. Yeh, I know Sykes weighs 280, but the Seahawks' own site listed him as NT, so talk to them about it. For the record, I like what Sykes brings to the team a lot.
Okay, back to the musical chairs at nose tackle. In July, the Seahawks signed Roderick Perry II, waived Tavai, and placed both Faoliu and Bryan Mone on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. We expected that was coming for Mone, which is why the Hawks are going through NTs like a chef picking through salmon at the market.
At the beginning of August, they released Perry and re-signed Cooper - although that was just roster manipulation regarding Perry, as they brought him back the following week. Three days later they signed Anthony Montalvo, only to release Cooper days later. Oh, we're not done; on August 17th Montalvo was released and Matt Gotel was signed. Okay, now we're done, at least for the moment. I don't know about you, 12s, but I'm dizzy.
Permit me to encapsulate the situation. The Seahawks have Jarran Reed starting at nose tackle. and while I expect him to flourish, he isn't a proven talent at the position. Yeah, it's a heck of a lot more important that Pete Carroll and Cliff Hurtt trust him there, and that's why I'm comfortable with Reed. But Mone is out, and wasn't ever pushing for the starting gig anyway. I like Cam Young a lot, but he's a rookie, and a rookie stepping in at nose tackle is a very iffy proposition. After Young, we have had no less than eight players rotate through, with no one showing any sign of sticking on the roster. Again, Jacob Sykes won't be playing nose, and I do hope he makes it through.
This is precisely why I'd like to see the Seahawks add a seasoned veteran at the spot. Yeah, okay, "seasoned" is just another way to say old, but Seattle doesn't need a starter. They just need someone who can reliably step in and do the job. Hence the photo of Akiem Hicks at the top. Yes, he'll be 34 this year, but he's made 35 starts in his last three seasons. At 6'4" and 335 pounds, he perfectly fits the mold of the roadblock nose. Pro Football Focus projects his contract value to be no more than $3.5 million, which easily fits under the Hawks' cap space of $5.2 million.
Two other players of interest are Chris Wormley and Matt Ioannaddis. Wormley has moved around from defensive end to tackle and nose, so would give Seattle a bit of flexibility on the line. We all know how much Pete loves that. Still, Wormley is 6'5" and 300 pounds, and could certainly bulk up even more to fit the role. The 6'3" 310-pound Ioannaddis has played both the nose and traditional tackle. It might take a bit more financial magic to fit Ioannaddis under the cap, but it certainly can be done. No matter who they get, I wish the Hawks would sign someone with a bit more of an established game to fill in.