The Seattle Seahawks have gotten significantly younger on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. Some additional veterans might be needed to help the defense, however, especially when it comes to rushing the passer.
Matty F. Brown with SI.com took a look at three free agent situations for the Seahawks, looking at the team’s needs and which players are still available around the league. When discussing the team’s need for pass rushers, Brown mentioned that bringing back two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap could be a possibility.
“There is a world that Dunlap returns to Seattle, despite his release earlier this year following 8.5 sacks last year,” Brown said. “The 33-year old may well need to transition to a situational rushing role at this point in his career. Last season, Dunlap spoke about the importance of rhythm to him as a rusher and so this switch may prove challenging for the man on 96.0 career sacks.”
Carlos Dunlap Still Has Plenty Left in the Tank
Dunlap only played a couple of seasons for the Seahawks, but judging from his recent production and the rest of his NFL career, it looks like the 33-year-old can still play at a high level in 2022 and possibly beyond.
A second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Dunlap played for a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals. He burst onto the scene as a rookie, racking up 9.5 sacks in only 12 games played.
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Dunlap continued to develop into a star pass rusher, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2015 and 2016. He has been remarkably consistent throughout his career, racking up at least six sacks in all but one season throughout his career.
Things started to sour in Cincinnati in 2020, however, with Dunlap being traded to the Seahawks halfway through the season in exchange for a player and a seventh-round pick. The trade was a big win for the Seahawks, with Dunlap racking up 15 sacks in only 1.5 seasons with the team.
Age is likely a big reason why Dunlap is still a free agent this offseason, but considering he was still able to pick up 8.5 sacks last year, teams could be pushing to sign the veteran pass rusher before the 2022 season begins.
Young Pass Rushers to Watch for Seattle
The Seahawks could certainly add a player like Dunlap before Week 1, but if they roll into the 2022 season without another veteran pass rusher, all eyes will be on some of the team’s younger talent.
Darrell Taylor will be the biggest name for Seahawks fans to watch. A second-round pick in 2020, Taylor missed his entire rookie season due to injury before looking like a legitimate starter in 2021. He finished last season with 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 16 games, and is hoping to build on that heading into this year.
Alton Robinson was also part of Seattle’s 2020 draft class. While he only had a single sack in 2021, his four sacks as a rookie and his 10 tackles for loss over the last two seasons have fans hoping he can have a bigger impact going forward.
The Seahawks also have a rookie fans will want to keep tabs on in former Ohio State pass rusher Tyreke Smith. A fifth-round pick, Smith has good length and an excellent motor that should help him as a rotational edge rusher at the pro level.