The Seattle Seahawks had some vacancies open up along the defensive line this offseason, providing the perfect path up the depth chart for the likes of second-year defensive tackle Jaye Howard.
However, Howard will also need to worry about just making the 53-man roster after seeing the field sparingly during his rookie year out of Florida. There has been word out of ‘Hawks camp, here by The News Tribune, of Howard getting work along the defensive interior against the Seahawks’ second team, and his goal by the end of training camp is probably to turn that into consistent work with the first teamers.
Ben Harbaugh of SB Nation Seahawks blog “Field Gulls” took a look at Howard’s college tape and opined on Howard’s pro potential this offseason: “From his college tape, we can assume that Howard remains a liability against the run. Poor lower body strength, pad level, and effort against the run undermines any starting 3-tech potential he has. That’s not a deal breaker in my opinion.
“Maybe he can improve in this respect, but if he doesn’t, an explosive conditional pass rusher still holds significant value in the modern age of passing offenses. Either way, one step at a time – Howard must become the dangerous pass rusher he could be.”
Alan Branch, Jason Jones and Red Bryant — the latter who played mostly tackle but can slide inside — all left in free agency to clear the way for fourth-rounder who can penetrate and harass opposing cornerbacks. He’ll draw competition from among others an SEC rival in 2013 fifth-rounder Jesse Williams, and it will be interesting to see the Seahawks’ interior line battle it out in camp.