Seattle Seahawks Coaching Staff 'Really Excited' About Dre'Mont Jones in New Defense

An underwhelming first season with the Seahawks has Dre'Mont Jones potentially shifting into a new primary role, but its one he's been in before.
Oct 15, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA;  Seattle Seahawks defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (55) celebrates the sack during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium.
Oct 15, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (55) celebrates the sack during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Seattle Seahawks progress further into their offseason program, the many roles of the team’s plug-and-play defensive linemen are beginning to become more clear.

Mandatory minicamp is now underway, and that means veterans like Dre’Mont Jones and Leonard Williams are back on Seattle’s practice field at the VMAC full-time. Jones was not present for any voluntary OTA practices, while Williams made his first appearance in the 7th of 10 practices on June 3.

Seattle signed Jones away from the Broncos on a three-year, $51 million deal last offseason — the largest free agent contract of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era — and he, like all the other interior defensive linemen, was criticized for the Seahawks’ poor run defense in 2023, which allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league to its opponents.

Now that Jones has reported, Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald and defensive coordinator Aden Durde can begin to tinker with all the pieces Seattle has at its disposal in the trenches. However, nothing will be cemented until the pads come on. Macdonald, in a press conference with local media after the team's first minicamp practice on Tuesday, said they are in the early stages of experimentation.

“He’s very much in the mix of that. I think you saw today, you know, and we don’t know the answers yet. We don’t know how it’s going to look come the beginning of the season, how it’s going to progress throughout the whole year.”

Mike Macdonald on Jones' versatility

Like Williams, Jones has a history of playing various techniques on the defensive line. In his first three seasons in Denver, Jones played the vast majority of his snaps inside or over the tackles and even played about 23 percent of his defensive snaps at nose tackle as a rookie in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.

But as his career has progressed, there is clearly intrigue with Jones’ potential on the outside. While he still played about 55 percent of his total snaps inside the tackles last season, the rest of Jones’ snaps came as either a 6-technique or stand-up outside linebacker in Pete Carroll’s 3-4 defense.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Macdonald use him there more, as Jones’ physical build (6-3, 281 pounds) and athleticism have benefitted him as a pass rusher off the edge. With other 300-pound interior defensive linemen on the roster like Williams, Jarran Reed, Johnathan Hankins and rookie first-round pick Byron Murphy II, that may also be where he gets the most opportunity to be on the field. In Seattle’s first minicamp practice, most of Jones’ reps came as a stand-up outside linebacker.

“I think his skillset lends to trying to play a little matchup ball with him or setting another guy up. He can do a lot of things. We’ve talked about it, but we are really excited about Dre’Mont. He was in great shape today. He knew a lot of the stuff we were doing even though he hadn’t been in the building. Credit to him for staying up to speed.”

Mike Macdonald

Even in a season where Jones’ interior presence felt marginal, he amassed a career-high 49 combined tackles, according to Pro Football Reference. His 4.5 sacks and five tackles for loss were the second lowest of his five-year career, however.

Regardless of where things stand by the end of minicamp, Macdonald was just glad to have Jones and Williams back on the field so they could begin to gauge how they fit into the team’s developing defensive scheme.

“It’s a function of reps, conversations,” Macdonald said of developing a relationship with the two players despite limited chances to work with them in OTAs. “There are only so many texts and phone calls. That is only going to take you so long. Now that they’re here, we’ll be rolling. We got a couple more days here and then we’ll go take a breather and go back and attack it and camp.”

Mike Macdonald

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Connor Benintendi