Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks make or break players in 2020: DL L.J. Collier

Seattle Seahawks

(This series focuses on the x-factors/wildcards on the Seahawks roster who will make or break Seattle’s 2020 season.)

There will be a contingent of fans who roll their eyes at the mere sight of this headline. That faction has already written off the Seahawks 2019 first-round pick.

While I’ve maintained all offseason that you can’t label anyone a “bust” after just one year, it’s not like Collier offered any reasons for optimism as a rookie. He played in 11 games, recorded just three tackles and was a healthy scratch seven times (including both playoff games) in what ended up being essentially a redshirt year.

“That’s a curious situation for a first-round pick at the team’s most needy position,” Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune said on a recent episode of the Talkin’ Seahawk Podcast. “They have to get more out of him if they’re going to go anywhere.”

To Collier’s credit, he suffered an unusual ankle sprain at the onset of training camp last summer and was never truly able to get back to full speed. But to reiterate Bell’s point, it was a bit bizarre that Collier couldn’t even crack the gameday 46-man roster.

The Seahawks pass rush was notably awful in 2019, and injuries made it a thin group along the defensive line. One would think that even Collier at 70-80%, given his draft stock, could have provided even a small boost.

And yet, it was apparent that Collier wasn’t part of each week’s gameplan when he was seen getting extra work in after practice with the practice squad players.

 

“They couldn’t afford a redshirt year on the defensive line and pass rush, certainly not from their first-round pick,” Bell said.

Both Collier and John Schneider have said the right things this offseason. But the jury remains very much out on whether or not Collier will be able to make an impact in 2020. That said, the Seahawks defensive line is expected to utilize a deep rotation and so there are snaps to be earned if he can bounce back with an impressive training camp.