This really is a holistic ideology that connects the pass rush with the coverage in the middle and back end, and involves all 11 players on the field at any given time. If you step back even further, it even really speaks to run defense, because if Quinn carries any of Pete Carroll’s philosophies to Atlanta, he’ll likely bring Carroll’s goal of stopping the run first-and-foremost in order to make a team one-dimensional.
Seattle gave up 3.4 yards per carry last year (second in the NFL) and only 81.5 yards per game (third), so while the Seahawks are more known for their pass defense, they were excellent in run defense first. The idea? Get teams to give up on the run and ride the arm of their quarterback. This puts pressure on said quarterback to produce, particularly when the defense knows you can’t do anything on the ground so you’re going to be passing. This “affects” the quarterback.
So, no small feat, but Quinn must set out to improve a run defense that finished 15th in yards per carry, 21st in rushing yards per game, and then fix a pass defense that finished dead last in passing yards per game last season.
The biggest mover in McShay’s Mock Draft 3.0 was Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who jumped up from No. 13 to being taken third overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The former Gator put on an impressive performance at the Combine, displaying the elite speed and athleticism necessary to be a stud edge rusher in the NFL. Fowler’s rise up the draft board caused McShay to drop defensive ends Randy Gregory and Shane Ray to the No. 5 and No. 8 picks.
Another shakeup came at the wide receiver position, where West Virginia’s Kevin White supplanted Alabama’s Amari Cooper as the first wideout taken, following his eye-opening 40 time (4.35) and strong showing in the positional drills at the Combine. McShay swapped the two receivers and now has the Oakland Raiders selecting White at fourth overall and Cooper going to the St. Louis Rams at No. 10.