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The Top 2022 Seahawks Breakout Candidate: Defense

The 2022 Seahawks have a more youthful roster which features various breakout candidates. In this two-part miniseries, Matty F. Brown highlights the most likely breakout star on Seattle's offense and defense.

There were two standout players in the Seahawks’ 2021 preseason games who will be pushing hard for a roster spot and real playing time in 2022. This couplet may not match the typical “breakout” descriptor and it’s also worth acknowledging that development is not linear. However, if these two Seattle players continue their trajectory, they will break out in 2022. The duo is right on the cusp.

Here’s the 2022 defense’s top breakout candidate:

DT Myles Adams

Adams signed for the Panthers in 2020 as an undrafted free agent, before being released from their practice squad on September 18, 2020. The former Rice standout landed on the Seahawks’ practice squad the following December.

Adams has shown continued improvement throughout his time in the Pacific Northwest. He was the standout player of the Seahawks’ 2021 preseason, bullying the lower strings of offensive linemen, rising up Seattle’s depth chart, and capitalizing on the lack of starters who received exhibition playing time. 

Adams made his real debut in Week 15 of the 2021 season versus the Rams and also suited up for the Week 16 clash against the Bears. He looked like he belonged, finishing with two quarterback hits and two pressures (per Sports Info Solutions) plus five tackles for loss on the 33 total defensive snaps he played (per Pro Football Refence). It was unfortunate that the lineman then landed on the COVID-19 list, seeing him miss out on opportunities the last two games of the campaign would surely have brought.

“I’m glad you brought him up because from game one to game two, his confidence, you could see the difference,” coach Pete Carroll said of Adams’ first NFL action. “You could see him play faster, he took some shots at some plays, he disengaged some blocks with confidence, and he just looked better. He made a big jump from game one to game two.”

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It’s easy to forget that Adams only turned 24 years old in March. The 6-foot-2, 290 pounder majored in kinesiology and is improving body, confidence, and technique-wise. His best reps are exactly what Seattle’s 2022 defense is looking for from an interior defensive linemen. As the overall scheme continues to further build upon, and embrace, the 3-4 fronts and personnel usage, Adams’ blend of big end, nose, and 3-technique traits fits.

Adams plays low in his pads with a squat, sunk, controlled base with punchy, explosive hands. These traits suggest he has unseen potential as a pass rusher. Adams can mirror step (the technique used by 4i-techniques aligned on the inside shoulder of the tackle or 0-technique noses aligned head up on the center) and power step (the technique used by 3-techniques aligned on the outside shoulder of the guard).

Seattle will be playing three interior defensive line types at a time in their base defensive fronts via 3-4 personnel. The Seahawks have therefore added a number of players to compete in this area and, based off the names, Seattle could end up rostering six of these players.

Al Woods, Poona Ford, Shelby Harris, and Bryan Mone are locks to make the Week 1 final edition. Quinton Jefferson brings an established pass rush activity that separates him. It is the sixth man, L.J. Collier, who Adams should be able to beat out. Collier has struggled throughout his career in Seattle, with his Week 2 run reps versus the Titans particularly haunting.

If Adams keeps balling, he may well receive the 2022 early down run snaps to keep Quinton Jefferson and the like (Poona Ford looking to get paid by stringing together more pass rush consistency) fresh for the pass rush 3-technique reps in nickel, even-spaced rush opportunities.

Most importantly, Adams received an offseason glow-up, switching from the number 67 (now worn by first round draft pick left tackle Charles Cross) to the number 95 (vacated by the release of Benson Mayowa). Look good, play good!