Hurtt’s talk of 3-4 foreshadowed recent moves in front seven

Clint Hurtt was not kidding when he said the Seahawks’ defense would be different in 2022.

After he was promoted to coordinator, he said, “The 3-4 system is something that I’ve really embraced and obviously Vic Fangio is a big influence. … There’s going to be some element of that. I will say we’re going to be multiple. …

“You have to adjust along the way,” he said, “and sometimes that means you have to adjust your scheme. That’s where we’re going into a transition right now.”

That transition has been very clear in the personnel moves the Seahawks have made in the first week of free agency. Gone are Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder and Benson Mayowa – replaced by Uchenna Nwosu and former Seahawk Quinton Jefferson.

The three departed defensive ends simply did not fit the 3-4 scheme Hurtt plans to run. Nwosu, on the other hand, is well-made as a 3-4 OLB – able to play in space and rush the passer.

Nwosu – who got a two-year deal worth $20 million — said scheme was a big reason he came to Seattle. “I feel like the best thing for a player is not always the best amount of money, it’s about the scheme, being able to fit in. And I hear the culture here is really good.”

Nwosu figures to pair with Darrell Taylor as the rush ’backer tandem. Alton Robinson is the only outside pass rusher in reserve, so the Hawks seem certain to take advantage of a strong draft for edge rushers.

Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux (6-4, 254) and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson (6-4, 254) have been mentioned as possibilities at No. 9 overall (or a trade down for Johnson).

After two years away—one in Buffalo and one in Vegas — Jefferson is back in Seattle on a two-year, $9 million deal. At 6-4, 291, he is well-suited as a 3-4 end.

He told Josina Anderson of CBS he was drawn to Hurtt, his D-line coach in Seattle, being promoted to DC: “It just made sense to go back. My house is there; my friends, too. It’ll be good to see some familiar faces.”

Jefferson, Seattle’s fifth-round pick in 2016, seems likely to team with Shelby Harris (6-2, 290) on either side of nose tackle Al Woods (6-4, 330), who is back on a two-year, $9 million deal. Poona Ford (5-11, 310) could play all across the line; he might start ahead of Jefferson at end.

The Seahawks also have L.J. Collier (6-2, 291), who fits as a 3-4 end, and NT Bryan Mone (6-4, 335).

As Hurtt said, “We’re learning and adapting for where we’ve been. … We’re adjusting some things. We’re going to be changing.”

6 thoughts on “Hurtt’s talk of 3-4 foreshadowed recent moves in front seven”

  1. Rob Staton makes a pretty strong case that they would have to trade up to get Johnson. Their moves so far do position them for trading up for a player they really like, even if missing on Trent Brown complicates matters.

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  2. I doubt they would move up. Too many options at 9. Better to move back and add a second-rounder, if possible. They have multiple holes to fill, so four picks in the first two rounds would be great …

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    1. They are much more likely to move down, no doubt.

      Staton describes Johnson and Thibodeaux as among those rare players who are “game wreckers,” and JSPC loves players like that. He has Thibodeaux going as high as #1 and doesn’t think that Johnson will last until #9. It’s not beyond possibility that they would move up to get Johnson–IF they see him in the same light. They did trade up to get Lockett and Metcalf, albeit in later rounds.

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      1. Staton is not someone I would describe as rational. He used to be, but the last few years his ego has gotten out of control, and he is constantly panicking about moves “the Hawks have to make”. He called the Taylor pick a disaster (his rapid fans called it a fireable offense). He was also on Fournette and Barkley train at their drafts also. He seems a bit better after the Russ trade. But I got off his train years ago. I prefer sanity. A lot more to a team than picking at the mistakes, that every team makes. Winning ain`t easy, and the last 10 yrs have been best Hawks 10 yrs ever, and top 3 or 4 in NFL during that time. We got spoiled.

        I am excited about the new season. I doubt they win a lot of games, but I like that things are changing and they want to get back to playing how they won a SB. Was never going to happen with 3 & Out Russ. Let`s see what happens.
        So, Go Hawks – in 2023, or 2024….

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    1. LOL!

      Staton doesn’t like it when people disagree with him; he can be inconsistent on some points; he can get overwrought; and the rapid onset of rabid praise after every post is a little much. But…his mock draft track record is good, his assessments are worth reading, and he has a subtle grasp of the draft process.

      FWIW, whatever Staton said about Taylor down the road, his initial assessment was fair: “He bends-and-straightens as an edge rusher as well as anyone in this class. He’s classically sized for the position with the length and build to play early downs and get after the quarterback. His pass rush win percentage (18.6%) is good. He needs to develop a repertoire and develop his technique vs the run. He might not have a major impact early in his career but he has the upside to develop into a top pass rusher. Going into the 2019 season he was being tipped as a first round possibility.”

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