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You’re going to see a good number of defensive linemen on this list, because I’m trying to cast a wide net here. It’s a Numbers Game, bro! God willing, one or two of these guys will hit.
Jacob Martin is interesting to me for a number of reasons. For starters, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the team quite like him; he’s a consummate ‘tweener. At 6’2, 242 pounds, he’s undersized when compared to guys like Collier, Ansah, and Green, but he’s slightly bigger than Shaquem Griffin and Barkevious Mingo, who are being tried out as rush ends from the linebacker position. Martin figures to be this team’s one true LEO end and I’m interested to see how often he’s deployed at that spot.
I think on paper, the starting D-Line in our base defense is supposed to feature Ansah, Reed, Ford, and Collier, with Collier being that Michael Bennett-type end on one side, and Ansah essentially being our Cliff Avril replacement. But, who knows if Collier will be ready for that much responsibility? Maybe someone like Rasheem Green takes that spot. Or, maybe Martin earns the lion’s share of playing time at LEO and that bumps Ansah to the other side of the line.
Martin was the better of the two rookie defensive ends last year, which is promising to me as we head into year two. 3 sacks as a rookie and a number of pressures, in what was essentially a part-time role, is a great foundation to build on. There’s a ton of opportunity here with Frank Clark playing in Kansas City, and aside from Ansah, the team hasn’t done much to replace him. That means the Seahawks are looking to do what they can to promote from within. So, at a minimum, I’d like to see Martin double his number of sacks. Anything approaching double digits will be gravy.
Now, the concern is that he’s a one-dimensional pass rusher. Can he hold his own against the run? And, does he have anything in his arsenal besides speed? Not that that’s a bad thing, but the more he plays, the more he’ll be exposed on tape. So, if he’s just got one or two moves, he’ll be easy to neutralize.
I’ll tell you what, though. With some sort of NASCAR package that features Martin, Reed, Green/Collier, and Ansah on the other side, I like the potential to wreak some havoc. Bottom line, without knowing Ansah’s injury status, there are going to be guys stepping into bigger roles on this team. There will be production coming from unforeseen areas. And I think Martin is as good a candidate as anyone to really pop in 2019.