Seahawks Add Ultra-Athletic Defender To Practice Squad

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has a new defensive lineman to work with.

The Seattle Seahawks brought back multiple players from their training camp roster to keep on their practice squad. However, general manager John Schneider also found an incredibly athletic defender from outside of the team to stash away.

Speaking with reporters just a couple of days after roster cuts on Thursday, September 1, the Seahawks GM announced that the team had added pass rusher Jabari Zuniga to the practice squad, per Gregg Bell with The Seattle Times.

Zuniga was just one of several players who were added to Seattle’s practice squad. The Seahawks also added several other players who were previously on their 80-man roster, including wide receivers J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Bo Melton, running back Darwin Thompson, along with linebackers Vi Jones and Tanner Muse.

Who is Jabari Zuniga?

He may not be a well-known name around the NFL, but coming out of college he was one of the most athletic defensive ends in the 2020 draft class.

Coming out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia, Zuniga was a 4-star recruit and a top-30 player out of Georgia in the class of 2015. Despite offers from Clemson, Iowa State, and Arkansas, Zuniga opted to play down south for the Florida Gators.

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Zuniga redshirted his first season with the Gators, but burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, racking up five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Zuniga went on to play through 2019, and by the end of his college career he had racked up 116 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 18.5 sacks.

Although undersized for a defensive end at 6’3″ and 264 pounds, Zuniga attracted the attention of NFL scouts with his impressive athletic scores. According to MockDraftable, Zuniga’s 40-yard dash time of 4.64 seconds put him in the 92nd percentile among defensive linemen, while also finishing in the 96th percentile for broad jump and 76th percentile for bench press.

The New York Jets ended up taking Zuniga in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the defensive end has rarely seen the field. He’s only played in 11 games over two seasons, but he did have a highlight play last season with a strip-sack on Joe Burrow.

Zuniga has an opportunity to be a practice squad elevation for some games this season for the Seahawks, but he has an uphill battle to climb if he’s going to work his way onto the 53-man roster.

Who Are Seattle’s Top Pass Rushers in 2022?

Zuniga might make it onto the field sparingly in 2022, but the Seahawks have some intriguing pass rushers to watch out for this season.

Rookie and second-round pick Boye Mafe will be a key player to keep an eye out for on Seattle’s defense. The 6’4″, 261-pound edge rusher showed flashes of dominance with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and his explosiveness off of the snap could help him develop into one of the premiere pass rushers in the league.

Uchenna Nwosu was one of the team’s more notable free-agent acquisitions. The 25-year-old had 9.5 sacks for the Los Angeles Chargers over the last two seasons, and he’s developed into a solid pass rusher over the first four seasons of his pro career. Shelby Harris is another solid pickup after acquiring him in the Russell Wilson trade. The defensive end is coming off a career year with six sacks.

Don’t sleep on former second-round pick Darrell Taylor either. After missing his entire rookie season in 2020, Taylor had 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble this past season.

The Seahawks picked up Zuniga in case one of their pass rushers go down, but the team has some solid depth at the position heading into 2022.

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