The Seattle Seahawks are built on defense. Sure, the Seahawks also have a potent offense with the likes of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. However, the season is going to won and lost on defensive stops.
This brings us to Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, who are two rookies that may play key roles on the defensive line. At the moment, veteran players like Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane are the starters, at least on the current depth chart.
That could change as the season unfolds.
Why is the defensive line so important? Simple. A defensive stop begins and ends with the push up the middle. Providing pressure and containment in the interior allows the defensive ends to come around the edge. This takes pressure off the secondary and allows them to play to their strengths, rather than compensating for a weak defensive line. More time for the opposing quarterback is almost never a good thing.
Easier said than done, right? Hill and Williams were brought in because a team like the Seahawks can always reload on defense and add depth. McDaniel is not necessarily a long-term solution, and one of the rookies may get substantial playing time in the near future.
The defensive interior will also be important because the defensive end situation has some questions. Certainly, the Seahawks have a number of options. However, no one is sure when Chris Clemons will return and if he will be back to dominant self. Cliff Avril is just getting on the field. Michael Bennett may play a couple of different positions. Bruce Irvin is probably moving to linebacker, and will be suspended the first four games anyway.
Suddenly, the presence of Hill and Williams may be more crucial than originally planned. If these two succeed, it will be another third and fifth-round pick that can be added to the collection of great finds by Pete Carroll and John Schneider.