Seattle Seahawks' Jaye Howard Faces Make-or-Break Season

By Bob Kaupang
Jaye Howard, Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks used a fourth-round draft pick just over a year ago to select Jaye Howard from the University of Florida. The franchise was optimistic that he would develop for a year and then be ready to contribute at the three-technique position, as that defensive tackle spot was going to be made up of Jason Jones and Alan Branch both of whom were set to become free agents after the season.

Fast forward a year, and Jones and Branch are gone and based on the actions of the Seahawks brain trust, and it doesn’t appear there is an overabundance of optimism for Howard heading into this season.

The Seahawks essentially signed Michael Bennett to replace Jones and for Tony McDaniel to take the place of Branch at that rotating position. Even more embarrassing for Howard is that seventh-round draft pick, Greg Scruggs, saw much more action on the defensive line last season than he did.

To make matters worse, the Seahawks drafted a three-technique defensive tackle in the third round of the draft last week by selecting Jordan Hill from Penn State, which shows there isn’t much confidence in Howard moving forward.

One thing that Howard may have in his favor is that his defensive coordinator in college is his new one for the Seahawks. Dan Quinn replaces Gus Bradley in that role this season and if anyone knows Howard more, Quinn is it. However, if Quinn fully believed in Howard, then why would he have signed off on drafting another three-technique early in the draft?

The Seahawks have been a team that has drafted well, yet they haven’t been afraid to cut a relatively high pick either. In 2010, they drafted E.J. Wilson in the fourth-round and cut him before the season started. In 2011, they drafted Kris Durham in the fourth-round and cut him prior to last season.

Last year, the team drafted Howard in the fourth-round and the precedence is clear that he won’t be keeping his job just because he was a fourth-round pick in recent history. He must earn it on the football field and hope his old college coach can help get the most out of him or he’s going to be looking for employment elsewhere.

Bob writes about the Seattle Seahawks for Follow him on twitter @seahawksbob.

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