The Seattle Seahawks 2022 season is officially in full swing with training camp underway. While players are trying to prove themselves worthy of a spot on the final 53-man roster, general manager John Schneider is still looking to bring players in to compete at their respective positions.
Aaron Wilson with Pro Football Network reported on Friday, August 5 that the Seahawks had signed former Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Joel Delbanko to the 90-man roster. Dublanko had been brought in earlier in the week for a workout, and apparently did enough to impress the Seahawks coaching staff.
The signing comes shortly after the Seahawks released Ben Burr-Kiven with a failed physical designation. The Seahawks had worked out a handful of linebackers to replace Burr-Kiven, including former first-round pick Rueben Foster, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2018.
Joel Dublanko’s Football Career
He might not have been the most recognizable name on a stacked Cincinnati Bearcats roster, but Dublanko has had a successful football career up to this point.
Coming out of the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, Dublanko was a 3-star recruit at linebacker, weighing in a 6’3″ and 235 pounds. He received offers from programs including Washington State, Tennessee, and Mississippi State, but ultimately decided to join Luke Fickell’s program.
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After redshirting his first year at Cincinnati, Dublanko spent his next three seasons as a key member of the special teams unit and a backup linebacker. By 2020, he had secured his spot as the Bearcats starting middle linebacker, then burst onto the scene in his final season.
As a graduate student with an extra year of eligibility due to COVID, Dublanko was named a team captain in 2021 and took a huge step forward in terms of production. He finished the year with 113 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception to help him earn first-team All-AAC honors.
Dublanko went undrafted during the 2022 NFL Draft, but was picked up by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent. He was then waived by the team in May, but stayed patient before the Seahawks gave him another opportunity.
It will be an uphill battle for Dublanko to make the 53-man roster coming in this late into training camp, but his size and experience on special teams could make him a dark horse candidate to survive the final roster cuts.
Who Will Start at Linebacker for the Seahawks?
The Seahawks have lost two of their best linebackers in franchise history the past couple of seasons, parting ways with both K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. Those are big shoes to fill for any linebackers, but the Seahawks could have another star at the position ready to have a breakout year.
Third-year linebacker Jordyn Brooks will be the team’s signal caller in 2022 after an impressive 2021 season. Brooks led the NFL with 109 solo tackles last year, also having 184 combined tackles with 10 of those going for a loss. The Seahawks will need another big year from Brooks in the middle of the defense, especially with Wagner no longer in Seattle to mentor him.
Although it’s not guaranteed, the other starting inside linebacker spot is likely to go to Cody Barton. A third-round pick back in 2019, Barton sat patiently behind Wagner, Brooks, and Wright waiting for his opportunity. He may not be a star player, but the 2022 season will give Seahawks fans a good look at what he can bring to the table.
Other linebackers on the roster could compete with Barton, but he is likely the other starter alongside Brooks heading into Week 1 given his experience with the team.