The Seattle Seahawks accumulated 36 team sacks last season, 19.5 of which came from the two starters at the defensive end position.
But moving forward, that statistic is not as promising as it first may seem. Every one of those 19.5 sacks belong to the two defensive end starters, Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons. Irvin will be entering his second NFL season and showed plenty of promise in his rookie campaign. The worries rest with Clemons.
Clemons must come back from a torn ACL, which he suffered towards the end of last season. Age is also a factor (Clemons will be 32 years old next season). Given the lack of depth at the defensive end position, the Seahawks could face a major problem if Clemons cannot return at full strength--a problem the 2013 NFL Draft could fix.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports recognizes that weakness as well. In his latest mock draft, Rang has the Seattle Seahawks, with selection No. 25, drafting defensive end Alex Okafor from the University of Texas.
The risky (and ridiculed) selection of undersized pass rusher Bruce Irvin paid off for as the former West Virginia standout led all rookies with 8.5 sacks in 2012. His speed off the edge could be complemented with a more refined pass rusher like Okafor, whose greater length, strength and hand technique could make him a suitable complement as the team adjusts for life with top pass-rusher Chris Clemons recovering with a torn ACL.
Okafor measures in at 6'5, 261-pounds and ran a 4.78 at last year's NFL Combine. He is listed as the sixth best overall defensive end in this draft class. In his senior season at Texas, Okafor compiled 12.5 sacks, with 4.5 of them coming in his final game -- the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon State.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar disagrees with Rang's selection. With phenom quarterback Russell Wilson at the helm, now may be the time to boost an already dynamic offense. So with the No. 25 pick, Kadar mocks West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin to the Seattle Seahawks.
Now that Russell Wilson has emerged as Seattle's long term answer at quarterback, the team needs to be sure to surround him with weapons. Tavon Austin will be tough to pass up at this spot, especially considering the fact that the Seahawks don't have a ton of needs to begin with. This is a bit of a luxury pick, but can you imagine Austin in Seattle's offense? That could be dangerous.