he Seattle Seahawks will not be selecting a player in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. But with such a deep pool of pass rushers in this year’s draft class, the Seahawks could still land an impactful edge defender in April.
That’s exactly what Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News predicted will happen in his new mock draft.
In his “NFL Mock Draft 2022, 2-round edition,” Iyer has the Seahawks selecting South Carolina edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare at No. 41 overall in the second round.
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Kingsley Enagbare Compared to Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril
Iyer explained that he slotted Enagbare to the Seahawks because he has the potential to fit into Seattle’s defense just like former Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril did from 2013-17.
“The Seahawks did get some good production from Rasheem Green, but he’s a free agent and other than his sacks, he didn’t provide much outside,” Iyer wrote. “Enagbare is a good fit to go old school with their front four with some qualities of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.”
Bennett made three Pro Bowls with the Seahawks from 2015-17. Avril made his only Pro Bowl team in 2016. Bennett and Avril combined for 73.5 sacks over five seasons in Seattle.
However, other scouting reports don’t regard Enagbare as highly. Lance Zierlein and the scouts at NFL.com gave him a prospect grades of 6.24, which placed him in the tier “will eventually be an average starter.”
Zierlein doesn’t suggest Enagbare has the ceiling of a Pro Bowl player.
“Enagbare is long and strong but lacks explosiveness, which could create diverging opinions regarding his position and how best to play him,” Zierlein wrote. “He’s heavy-handed and physical but will never be confused for a playmaker on the edge.
“He’s best suited as a cubicle defender where his power and length can benefit him in smaller spaces.”
The 2022 NFL Draft Big Board from Bleacher Reporter ranks Enagbare as the No. 82 overall player in the upcoming draft class. ESPN’s big board rankings like Enagbare a little more and placed him 48th among all players in the class.
Enagbare posted 15.0 sacks and 24.0 tackles for loss in 72 games at South Carolina.
Pass Rusher a Need for Seahawks
After posting its first losing record in a decade, Seattle possesses quite a few needs. But pass rusher should probably be close to the top of the list of things to address.
The Seahawks have finished better than 20th in sacks just once in the last three seasons. In 2021, Seattle was tied for 22nd in sacks with 34. The Seahawks were also 24th in net yards allowed per pass attempt and 29th in sack percentage.
Veteran pass rusher Carlos Dunlap led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks. As Iyer wrote, defensive lineman Rasheem Green had a nice season, ending 2021 tied for second on the Seahawks with 6.5 sacks, but he is a free agent.
Fellow defensive lineman Darrell Taylor, who also had 6.5 sacks, was the only other Seahawks defender with more than 2.0 sacks.
While the Seahawks have other needs perhaps even bigger than the pass rush, putting more pressure on the quarterback could be Seattle’s path back to the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals were last in sacks in 2020 then jumped to 12th in sacks on their way to a conference championship in 2021.