Seahawks NFL Draft Profile: Ross Blacklock
Over the course of the next several weeks, the Seahawks and 31 other teams will be evaluating the latest crop of incoming talent in preparation for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Up next in our prospect profiles series, the Seahawks want to add versatile options to the defensive line after losing several role players to free agency. TCU's Ross Blacklock fits that description as an athletic, disruptive interior defensive lineman.
Blacklock is one of the more sleek, athletic interior defensive linemen in this draft. His 4.90 40-yard dash time is better than some of the well-regarded defensive ends in this year's class, much less defensive tackles. He also had one of the best 3-cone drills for defensive tackles with a 7.77 mark.
Despite the fact that he lacks that sheer size and girth of other interior linemen, at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, he uses leverage and strength well to fight off blockers bigger and stronger than himself. Along with playing some base defensive end, he's also capable of reducing down to nose tackle and has prior experience playing the position in Gary Patterson's complex defense.
As a pass rusher, Blacklock often beat slower, less agile guards and centers he faced and accumulated 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in his two full seasons with the Horned Frogs. His pass rush tools, including a filthy arm-over move, reflect that of a defensive end while also still being stout against the run.
The Texas native can change directions and scrape down the line of scrimmage with ease and make tackles in open space, something that is rare for a player of his size. His motor runs hot and he does not give up on plays easily, constantly keeping in pursuit.
At times, Blacklock can get overpowered against double teams on the inside due to his sub-300 pound frame. He sometimes sticks to blocks too much and hand technique can betray him when he's trying to disengage, particularly when playing nose tackle as a two-gap defender.
Despite his exciting pass rushing skills, Blacklock's sack numbers didn't stack up well in comparison to the number of times he made it into opposing backfields. His inability to finish plays after collapsing the pocket leaves something to be desired.
After missing the entire 2018 season with an Achilles tear, Blacklock will enter the league needing to be coached up, as he's not as technically sound as he could be given lack of overall experience at the college level. He often won against inferior college offensive linemen largely using his raw talent and strength.
Fit in Seattle
With the departures of Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson, a host of abilities needs replacing on the Seahawks' defensive line. Despite the re-signing of Jarran Reed and the presence of undrafted standout Poona Ford, there is a big need for depth down in the trenches.
Blacklock offers a little bit of everything as an interior defender. He can rush the passer, which the Seahawks were abysmal at last season, as well as defend the run and maintain gap integrity.
With both players around 290 pounds, Jefferson offered a similar skill set to Blacklock, making the former First-Team All-Big 12 lineman capable of carving out a comparable role with Seattle right away.
The former Horned Frog projects as an early day two pick in this year's draft who could possibly sneak into the first round. As of now, Seattle possesses two picks in the second round and using one of them on Blacklock would add much-needed depth and versatility to the defensive line.