Will the most unheralded star of this year’s team be Brandon Mebane?
That may or may not be a fair question. I think plenty of Seahawks fans herald Brandon Mebane quite well. In looking back over the Tim Ruskell drafts, I think he shines as one of the better picks, even if last year felt like a bit of a step back.
In 2007, Mebane played in all the games, but was a rookie so he did little more than take up space when asked. In 2008, Mebane once again played in all the games, and this year saw a spike in his sack totals (from 2.0 to 5.5). In 2009, Mebane missed 1 game and saw his sack total go down by 4.
So, what gives? Is this a man who peaked in his 2nd year and is on the downslope of his career? I highly doubt that. What’s more likely is that 2008 was the last year we ever got consistent pressure on the quarterback, when we had veterans like Rocky Bernard and Patrick Kerney. 2009 was just a sorry state of affairs all around; plus Mebane took it upon himself to lose a considerable amount of girth before the season.
This year, the girth returns, and with it the hope of a new quarterback-mauling day. Among the defensive tackles (some of whom are even playing on the End, Red Bryant), Mebane has the most explosiveness. And with big tubs like Cole and Vickerson lining up alongside him, I’d look for Mebane to take advantage of teams double-teaming the Other Fat Guys on the line.
I don’t think anyone is going to confuse Mebane with Warren Sapp in his heyday, but the potential is there. For a unit that’s getting crushed by the critics this offseason (of which I am among), I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Mebane so much as the under-experienced fellows around him. After all, if you just went by Games Played, I think Mebane leads the pack (assuming, of course, that Terrill gets cut, which I’m still expecting).