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Carroll confident in the D-line depth

6/24/2014

When asked where he thinks his team has improved from last season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had an interesting comment after the last day of minicamp.

“I think the defensive line, depth-wise, is really good,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited about that.”

It’s quite a statement considering the Seahawks lost three veterans on the defensive line in defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.

So let’s look at the possibilities a little closer. Clemons, Bryant and McDonald accounted for 11½ sacks, 97 tackles, six passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, one interception and 1,496 snaps played.

That’s a lot of production to replace. At the end spots, the Seahawks will be replacing them with younger, unproven players.

Vying for those spots are rookie Cassius Marsh and Jackson Jeffcoat, second-year player Benson Mayowa and third-year player Greg Scruggs, who missed all last season with an injury.

The Seahawks did add veteran help at defensive tackle last week in six-time Pro Bowler Kevin Williams, an outstanding replacement for what they lost in McDonald.

Carroll also has high hopes for second-year defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, the Australian who missed his rookie year with a knee injury.

“I thought that maybe Jesse was done,’’ Carroll said. “We didn’t know coming out [of Alabama] last season. But he’s had a tremendous offseason. His rehab work was great. He worked every day. He’s ready to get in the middle of it.

“To bring that guy back to us at full speed could be really a great addition. He’s one of those guys that comes to us, and Jordan Hill, too, that didn’t play for us last year, and Benson Mayowa, who didn’t play at all to speak of. Those guys come back and with their redshirt year behind them. They really add to the roster and the competitiveness of the whole thing.”

Carroll also is optimistic about what’s he’s seeing from Marsh, a fourth-round draft pick from UCLA.

“He’s got great quickness,” Carroll said of Marsh. “And he’s a real savvy pass-rusher for a brand new guy. He looks like we hoped he would look. We moved him around quite a bit. He understands the game and is able to demonstrate the flexibility to play a lot of spots like Mike Bennett plays. He’s made a really good impression.”

When it's all said and done, maybe this group of defensive linemen will be better overall than last season's bunch, but it’s a lot to live up to on the field.