Bruce Irvin Suspension Puts Added Pressure On Free Agent Defensive Ends

By Devin O'Barr
Bruce Irvin celebrates
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, the Seattle Seahawks miraculously went from having a mediocre defense to maintaining one that strikes fear into every single team in the NFL. Without upstart players like Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons the pass rush would have been non-existent, so what can we expect from a depleted Seahawks squad in 2013?

In case you missed it, Irvin is going to miss the first four games of the upcoming season as he has been suspended for a positive test of performance enhancing drugs. Also, Clemons tore his ACL last postseason, so expecting him to be full-throttle once the season begins is rather optimistic to say the least. Clemons and Irvin combined for 19.5 sacks and were the team’s top-two pass rushers all season with a combined four forced fumbles.

Luckily, the Seahawks addressed their depth issues in free agency by signing Michael Bennett and winning the Cliff Avril sweepstakes as well. Both of these moves were huge at the time, but now they are enormous considering the money they have invested in these two and the void that they will have to collectively fill. Bennett burst onto the scene with nine sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year which is .5 more sacks than the rookie Irvin had.  Avril, on the other hand, was effective as usual with 9.5 sacks and has reeled in 39.5 career sacks in five professional years.

With last year’s defensive coordinator now a head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dan Quinn has the daunting task of replacing the beloved Gus Bradley. Quinn and the Seahawks decided not to draft a single defensive end this April so what once was a stout strength has now turned into a slight question mark.

If the Seahawks are going to rival the San Francisco 49ers this year then the new defensive ends better shine. No one is beating Colin Kaepernick twice a year without a sizable pass rush.

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