There are a lot of problem areas for the Seahawks, but defensive end is their biggest weakness. However, pinpointing exactly who should be labeled as a defensive end on this roster is not easy. Seattle looks to be set up well to run a variety of schemes up front on defense. Expect to see some true 3-4, classic 4-3 and varieties of both this season.
The players I am lumping in as defensive ends are Lawrence Jackson, Chris Clemons, Nick Reed and fourth-round pick E.J. Wilson. Although he struggled in his final season, obviously someone with Patrick Kerney’s pedigree in this league is missed from this group.
Wilson is unknown at this point and might develop, but counting on him for serious production as a rookie probably isn’t going to happen. Reed is a very hard worker who didn’t log many snaps in 2009, but overall, he held his own. Clemons has bounced around the league and is very up and down. He is as much linebacker as he is defensive end. As ends go, he is athletic and fast, but he can be run at and can’t handle a large workload.
The uninspiring supporting cast at defensive end puts a lot of stress on Jackson. He has the most ability of the group and Pete Carroll is very familiar with him from their time together at USC, but Jackson has been underwhelming since entering the league as a high draft choice. In the last 14 games of the 2009 season, Jackson registered a meager 1.5 sacks. That isn’t going to cut it.