Heaps: New DT Shelby Harris adds something Seahawks were missing

It probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that some of the players the Seahawks acquired in their blockbuster trade of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos have fallen under the radar.

Huard: Why facing Wilson, Broncos in Week 1 helps the Seahawks

The initial shock of the Wilson trade overshadowed the three player additions Seattle made, and quarterback Drew Lock coming in as the potential successor of Wilson has overshadowed the other two players in the deal.

The Seahawks picked up valuable players from the Broncos, though, and along with promising fourth-year tight end Noah Fant, Seattle has a key new figure for their defensive line.

“The most underrated defensive line in addition that (the Seahawks have) made was acquiring Shelby Harris in that trade for Russell Wilson,” Jake Heaps of Seattle Sports Station’s Jake and Stacy said Friday.

The 30-year old Harris is a 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle entering his eighth NFL season, and he’s been a solid contributor for Denver in recent years, making six sacks in each of the 2021 and 2019 seasons. And according to Heaps, he should provide something the Seahawks have been missing.

“Obviously, (Harris’ addition) was overlooked,” Heaps said. “Shelby Harris is not a Pro Bowl player, he’s not somebody that you look at (his) stats and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy, look at the numbers that he’s able to produce.’ But this is the guy for the first time (in a few seasons) you have an interior defensive lineman that can genuinely get after the quarterback. I think that this is an addition that has been a needed upgrade for this defensive line (for) quite some time.”

The Seahawks have put an emphasis on improving their pass rush for 2022, and Harris should play a part teaming up with edge rushers Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu and Boye Mafe.

“We’ve talked about pass rush, we’ve talked about edge rush and you love how it’s shaping up with Darrell Taylor, Nwosu and Boye Mafe, but you need serious help on the interior,” Heaps said. “You can look at Al Woods and Bryan Mone and Poona Ford and the job that they’ve done in the running game, and that’s all great. But you have not had great interior pass rush since 2018 when Jarran Reed provided you 10.5 sacks. Since that point, you have not had an interior pass rush.”


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— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 26, 2021

Heaps said that if Harris can replicate what he did in 2021 for the Broncos, it will go a long way for the Seahawks.

“Shelby Harris is a guy that I feel confident in that he’s going to be able to apply that pass rush for this group. If he can match what he did a season ago – six sacks, seven tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits – that would be a big boost for this defense.”

You can listen to Heaps’ full thoughts in the Four-Down Territory segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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