The Seattle Seahawks are hoping to improve their pass rush in 2022, and one player might finally have the opportunity to prove himself as a breakout star this year according to one Bleacher Report analyst.
Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton gave his list of every NFL team’s breakout player for 2022. The name that they gave for the Seattle Seahawks was pass rusher Darrell Taylor, the team’s second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
“Seattle would love to see Taylor get to double-digit sacks,” Wharton said. “His first year was more promising than expected, considering he hadn’t played in 2020, and his physical traits include stellar quickness and hip fluidity through contact.”
If Taylor can take a big jump in 2022 and the rookies like Boye Mafe, Coby Bryant, and Tariq Woolen can become early contributors, the Seahawks defense could look a lot different in 2022.
Darrell Taylor Has Shown Real Promise After Slow Start
The Seahawks traded up in the second round back in 2020 to draft Taylor after a strong college career at Tennessee. He finished his redshirt junior year with 8.5 sacks and 46 total tackles, possessing good size at 6’3″ and 267 pounds with 33-inch arms.
Unfortunately, Taylor wasn’t able to see the field as a rookie. He had previously suffered a leg injury that required surgery during the pre-draft process and was eventually placed on the non-football injury list. Taylor never saw the field as a rookie, staying on the list throughout the entire 2020 season.
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Taylor was finally able to get onto the field in 2021 as a rotational pass rusher. The role suited him well, with the former second-round pick finishing the year with 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble and playing in 16 of 17 games.
With Carlos Dunlap and Rasheem Green no longer on the roster, there will be more opportunities for Taylor to prove himself this season. As long as he can stay healthy, the 25-year-old should see a big uptick in his production this season.
Boye Mafe Gives the Seahawks Another Exciting Pass Rusher
The Seahawks will have a pair of second-round picks trying to get to the quarterback this season with both Taylor and 2022 draft pick Boye Mafe out of Minnesota.
Mafe was a pass-rush specialist for the Golden Gophers, earning third-team All-Big 10 honors in 2021 after racking up ten tackles for loss and seven sacks. Although he wasn’t a full-time starter in college, Mafe showed tremendous explosiveness and pass-rush ability that should translate to the NFL level.
General manager John Schneider got a first-hand look at Mafe during the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He had plenty of positive things to say about the flashy pass rusher after they made the pick.
“Just his effort every practice, you could see him take to the coaching and the teaching, and he’s a really smart individual, highly intelligent, and a great worker,” Schneider said according to SI.com’s Corbin K. Smith. “The Senior Bowl was really impressive for him. He’s another guy that is very similar to [first-round pick Charles] Cross where you could see him improving the whole season and then the Senior Bowl kind of made him.”