Three former Seahawks who failed with their new teams in 2023

These former Seahawks were not good in 2023.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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Apparently there is no correct position for L.J. Collier, other than bust

When site expert Lee Vowel and I discussed this article, I mentioned that I'd like to title it, Former Seahawks now abject failures. That would have been a gross disservice to Rashaad Penny and Poona Ford. In the case of L.J. Collier, I can think of no better term. As if to show that Rashaad Penny wasn't a reach as the 27th pick of the 2018 draft, the Seahawks jumped right back and took Collier with the 29th overall selection of the 2019 draft. As it turned out, that wasn't a great decision.

Now, before the 2022 season began, I still had my rose-tinted perma-lenses installed. I still thought Collier may have been able to turn his career around. Maybe he wouldn't contribute like you'd expect a first-round pick to do. But at least he could flourish under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, right? As Hurtt himself said, "Sometimes for young guys...it takes time for those guys to learn things and figure it out." I then foolishly compared L.J. Collier to Michael Bennett again.

The problem with that comparison was that, as Lee Vowel wrote, Bennett worked hard and Collier - well, Collier had more healthy scratches in his last two seasons in Seattle than a bear leaving its den after a long winter. Except the bear is getting something done. Those years that Poona Ford was kicking you-know-what for the Hawks, Collier was doing nothing. In 2019 when PFF graded Ford 8th on the Hawks, Collier was graded 22nd. That was his rookie season, so, okay, give him a year to get acclimated.

In 2020, Ford was only behind the great Bobby Wagner. Collier, despite finally recording three sacks - the only sacks of his Seattle career - and four of his career-total six tackles for a loss, was graded 16th. Collier started 16 games that year, and that was all he could do. 2021 was stellar, though. Poona Ford was graded third on the Seahawks' defense. Collier is not so great. He was graded 24th among all Hawks defenders with at least 100 snaps. Seattle immortals like Kerry Hyder and Robert Nkemdiche placed ahead of him.

In 2022, L.J. Collier finally made it. He fulfilled the near-limitless potential of a first-round pick, as he was the lowest-graded defender of any Seahawks player that season. In 169 snaps, he managed seven tackles and one quarterback hit. Coming off such a spectacular year - a fitting end to his amazing career in Seattle - Collier's agent tweeted this gem:

Okay, so maybe the criticism of Collier is a bit harsh. I get it. But what is the right scheme for Collier? He underperformed in a 4-3, then underperformed in a 3-4. Yes, there's a lot more to defensive schemes than those two simple labels. As his agent said, maybe he finally got to the right team. But then he tore a bicep and was out for the season. That, of course, is not on Collier. Injuries happen, as we saw repeatedly with Rashaad Penny.

But there's a reason the Seahawks didn't extend Collier's rookie contract. He didn't produce like Poona Ford, an undrafted free agent, or Michael Bennett, another UDFA. He certainly didn't produce like a first-round pick. Collier has re-signed with Arizona for 2024. Hopefully, he'll be completely healthy. But in his 37 snaps last year, he had two tackles, one pressure, and surprise - was graded 30th among all Cards with at least 37 snaps. I don't know about you, 12s, but I see a trend here. Collier was the least successful of any of the Seahawks that moved on to other teams last year.

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