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Tony McDaniel is an 8-year veteran free agent signee, playing in the Jason Jones role. 6’7, 305 pound 3-technique defensive tackle brought in to try to provide some more pass rush in the interior line. McDaniel played his first three years in Jacksonville and his last four in Miami. In that time, he has amassed a grand total of 8.5 sacks. His two best-ever seasons only saw him net 2.5 sacks apiece. He’s only played a full 16-game slate once.
In other words, let’s not get our hopes up too high.
What he is is a stop-gap. The Seahawks let both Jones & Alan Branch go, and they drafted a couple guys in Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams to hopefully be the future of our interior line. While those two get their seasoning in part-time duty, the Seahawks saw a need for a veteran starter to bridge the gap. Tony McDaniel was available, they liked his size, and here we are.
This revamped defensive line, with McDaniel, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett joining the likes of Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane, should prove to be an imposing force. What I like best about the group of guys we’ve got (provided, of course, that they stay healthy) is that it’s not any one guy who’s going to be the focal point. All of them (or, I guess, a combination of 4) bring a different thing to the table that – when put together – will hopefully make the lives of opposing linemen a living Hell.
Tony McDaniel has the potential to be a big piece of that. I’m hearing a lot of good things in various Training Camp reports about McDaniel being a monster to deal with. He’s disrupting the offense, forcing double teams, and generally being a terror. With that kind of production, sandwiched between Mebane and a healthy Bryant, we’re looking at the potential for some serious damage done out of that Leo spot on the line. Avril and Bennett are somewhat unknown entities in this particular defensive set-up, but Chris Clemons isn’t. If/when he comes back, he should be licking his chops.
McDaniel isn’t any long-term solution. McDaniel (or guys of his ilk) are available on the free agent market seemingly every year. If he can stay healthy, we could be looking at a real nice piece on this defense. But, either way it’s going to be short lived. So, you know, don’t get too attached or anything. Let’s just hope he can bring this city a championship and wish him safe travels on his future endeavors.