In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks predictably traded back to get more picks and got somebody in the first round no one was expecting. This year that person was L.J. Collier from Texas Christian University.
Collier is a 6’2”, 280-pound defensive end who can play inside or outside on the defensive line. He has been favorably compared to Michael Bennet for what his size and quickness could bring. This is a very optimistic comparison for Collier, as we all know how productive and disruptive Bennet has been in his career.
His best year at TCU was his senior year. He racked up six sacks and got 11.5 tackles-for-loss, both career highs, and made it onto the All Big-12 team in 2018. He did not manage to crack the starting lineup until his senior year. This could be a concern, but he was productive when given the chance earlier in his career. He got eight sacks in limited action his sophomore and junior years to prove that.
The Munday, Texas native will be tasked with leading the young Seattle pass rushers in 2019. There are not many proven players on the Seahawks roster who have the pedigree to get after the quarterback. Seattle drafted Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin last year and got four sacks along with 18 tackles. So, they have not blown the doors off anyone yet, but they should be improved after a full year in the NFL. I expect them to both step it up in 2019 and help Seattle get back into the postseason.
In passing situations, I would not be surprised to see Jarran Reed alongside Collier, with Green and Martin on the outside. This could change if Seattle signs Ziggy Ansah, like it looks like they will. But Ansah would hopefully help teach the young guys about playing in the NFL.
Pete Carroll is already excited about Collier too, saying, ”He’s been up against it in his career and was always fighting for the recognition. You can tell he’s got the big chip on his shoulder. It’s something we picked up on early and really, really liked.”
In any situation, Seattle will need its young pass rushers to really step up this year and make an impact if it hopes to make it to the playoffs.