The 2019 Seattle Seahawks exceeded so many of the expectations of the national media, and even of a lot of us. The Hawks were 2 wins away from the Super Bowl in a year that we were supposed to be still ‘rebuilding’! Let’s get greedy and say that we can make some moves to compete for the Lombardi Trophy this year.
Seattle Seahawks order of needs (as it stands):
- Defensive End
- Corner (competition)
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive Tackle (rotational)
- Running Back
- Outside Linebacker
Free Agent Targets:
Ndamukong Suh, Michael Pierce, Timmy Jernigan, Alex Collins, P.J. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Ronald Darby, Daryl Worley, De’Vondre Campbell
So, if defensive end is our most pressing need by far, then why don’t I have Jadeveon Clowney listed in my Free Agent Targets section? As much as I loved the move to get Jadeveon Clowney in a trade, I think that it may be a good idea to consider a different option at this point. While it may sound crazy at first, I think that the Seahawks should let Clowney join another team in free agency and make a blockbuster trade for Yannick Nicolas Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m in the minority here but let me explain.
The first stat that I’ll throw out there is that Yannick Ngakoue has 37.5 sacks over the last 4 years for the Jaguars, without any season total lower than 8. I want to let you know that this means he has been very good at dropping QB’s. For comparison’s sake, Von Miller has 46 sacks the last 4 years. Jadeveon Clowney (who had 3 sacks this past year) has 27.5 sacks in the last 4 years, and 29 sacks in his 4 final years with the Houston Texans. Believe it or not, Clowney has never registered double digit sacks in a season in the NFL. Clowney is a former #1 overall pick in the first round with name recognition. Ngakoue is a former 3rd-round pick. While we can begin to try to justify with points about there being differences from team to scheme, Yannick has taken advantage of opportunities at every point.
But… but! What about everything we’ve invested in Clowney??
Jadeveon Clowney was a nice roll of the dice that didn’t quite land as the Seahawks had hoped. Luckily, we took advantage of the GM-less Texans to not have to give up much to get him (sound familiar?) The real beauty of the Clowney trade is that if he walks in free agency, we can quite possibly recoup the 3rd round pick that we traded for him in the compensatory draft! Seahawks GM, John Schneider doesn’t just do this for praise: he is a shrewd businessman with eyes always to the future who takes calculated shots. He’s also rolled the dice on Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, and Sheldon Richardson.
Ultimately, it’s been speculated that Jadeveon may be better suited standing up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Yannick Ngakoue is a designated pass rusher (DPR) who has the chance to be great in the right scheme! Ngakoue was a part of that great ‘Sacksonville”, “Teal Curtain” defense from a couple years ago. He’s already been a consistent producer who outproduced a former 1st round pick (Dante Fowler). He’s made it known that he doesn’t want to continue to play in Jacksonville. He’s just entering his prime and eerily reminds me of a Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril type of addition.
You know the names, but they are not superstars. They are young, ascending pass rushers with time to develop. That’s Yannick. BUT, in his 4 years with the Jags, Yannick has more than double the count of sacks that Bennett had in his 4 years with the Bucs prior to signing in Seattle. Now, Ngakoue was drafted in the 3rd round while Bennett was undrafted… but with Yannick, there is added security since he’s been ballin’ since day 1. I don’t care if it takes a 1st and a 2nd (what we got for Frank Clark) … go get this young bull!! See if I care… We have two 2nds, so there! 😝
It would be nice if, like Dee Ford, this trade would only cost a 2nd. The good/bad news is that Ngakoue has been WAY more consistent than Ford was prior to his trade. Imagine if the compensation is a 1st and a 3rd: We’d most likely get a 3rd back for Clowney walking, and we basically will have only had to give up a 1st round pick (and look better than the Chiefs)! First round picks generally have about a 50% success rate. I’d rather have a young, proven option than take the next confusing Seahawks pick behind door #3 and hoping he doesn’t redshirt like L.J. Collier. A lethal pass rush would take our defense (and, quite possibly the play of our secondary) to the next level. Pete Carroll knows this well.
I’ve heard talk of targeting Everson Griffen, formerly of the Vikings. Pete coached him in college, and could convince him to throw his purple in the sky like a toxic ex. He may be nearing the end of his career and has had some personal issues to work through in the recent past. That may not be the best fit for what this team is currently building. Targeting Jadeveon Clowney has the potential to initiate this whole dance again next year. There are rumors that his lack of a mega contract offer this year makes him want to take a 1-year deal so that he can raise his value and hit the market again in 2021. Yannick may be more amenable to starting over and signing a long-term deal. We want someone who is trying to invest in what we are building. Ask Sherman and Bennett.
We are, of course, not the only team that would be interested in Ngakoue’s services. If we get involved in a bidding war with say, the Bills, Dolphins and Giants, John Schneider may bow out. Even in that scenario, let’s remember that proven pass rushers who are just hitting their prime don’t usually come available. It may be time to follow Lil Jon’s advice and take another shot. Adding a player that could be the catalyst to a lasting defensive revitalization in Seattle should be a priority. Yannick Ngakoue feels like the kind of consistent, driven and prototypical defensive end who the Seahawks would love to deploy. He feels like a guy that belongs in blue and action green.