Is Des Bryant the player for Seattle?
No. Not that Dez Bryant, not the one who got banned from the Dallas Mall scene. The other Desmond Bryant, the one who graduated from Harvard. The undrafted free agent of 4 years ago, not the guy Jerrah moved up to get. The one who isn’t angry when you ask about his mom. It isn’t your fault you haven’t heard of him. He not only plays in Oakland, the NFL equivalent of taping your photo to a milk jug, Oakland has somewhat miscast him as a part time 1 technique/3 technique, having him play all over the line just as Seymour did.
18 starts over the last two seasons, really filling in for an injured Richard Seymour. It isn’t a lot, but he has been active over those two years. 9 sacks from a DT who started just over half the games, to go with 56 tackles. Not bad at all.
Desmond was signed as a project 280 pound Ivy league project. He is plenty tall, 6’6”, and has bulked up to 311 pounds over the last 4 years. Last year he was a RFA, and signed his one year tender. Oakland is cap strapped, but I am pretty sure they don’t want to lose this guy. You are going to hear his name a lot more as free agency comes around.
Why is he a better bet than Jason Jones? Health. Jason Jones knee injuries were a problem even when he was signed, as evidenced by his one year prove it deal. With Jason being a free agent this year, Seattle can roll the dice with re-signing him, or try and upgrade the position.
And Desmond is an upgrade. No, he is not as quick as Jones, but he isn’t slow. In watching Bryant’s starts from this year, what stands out is his power moves when isolated on a single guard.
(Bryant is number 90, shading the inside shoulder of the left guard. His natural position.)
Look how he is shading the inside shoulder of the guard, not the center. It is a set up for a power move.
He shows quick feet, swims past the guard, and gets to the left fast. Notice how his shoulders are turned so that his back is to the right sideline? Classic 3 technique. This guy is not a static 2 gapper. He can do it, there is plenty of footage of him on the nose just doing contain duty, but this is where he is at his best. Not as fast as Jason Jones, but more powerful, as he shows in the next frame.
The guard tries to hold him, but it’s too late. He has a bead on Manning, who knows it, and just falls down before the sack.
I know, this is one play. Cherry picked. I was sceptical at first as well, but the tape doesn't lie, this guy can ball. The best part was his nasty demeanor that does not diminish ans the game wears on. In fact, I noticed a pattern of guards and centers getting more and more pissed off as the game would age, and 90 would draw more and more double teams in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Respect.
This guy is not a replacement for Red Bryant or Alan Branch. He can play straight up on the nose, but he doesn’t shed blocks as often as our two resident two gappers. Here is where he is really way better than Jason Jones: He does shed blocks pretty well. Not all the time, but far better than Jones. Jones has that uber quick first step, but Brant makes up for that slower step with some great power. Nearly 40 pounds will do that.
I watched a lot of snaps from 6 games with Bryant, and he is an immediate upgrade for the Hawks. PFF rates him as the best defensive tackle in free agency, ahead of the much bigger name of Henry Melton. And he did acquired his cumulative PFF rating in just 8 starts. He may command a contract that will surprise people, but he is a 3 down player who can play with some success in three spots on our line and a lot of success as a 3 technique.
What are his drawbacks? On occasion, he gets trapped. Oakland likes their defensive linemen to move around, lining up in a variety of spots. Play the nose guard spot like a penetrating three technique, and your linebackers better be on point.
Here is Bryant lined up as a 1 technique, shading the inside shoulder of the center.
This is what we call a Cluster**** of a defensive call, with the D-end lined up wide 9 on the far right. It was 2nd and 9, so Bryant tried to pass rush. He should have know the guard to his right was going to hammer him. That guard didn't have anyone else to block.
Like before he turned his shoulders, only this time the guard zone blocked him and made a gap you could drive a truck through. Both linebackers got sucked right by the movement of the offensive line, result:45 yard run by Doug Martin. One of the things that has characterized the Raiders is playing players out of position, and this was no exception.
To Desmond's credit, Seymour was still starting at the time, and Seymour would make a few even worse plays that resulted in Doug Martin having 3 runs even bigger than that one. Difficult to turn off that pass rush switch when you are often a pass rushing substitution.
In fact, after Seymour was injured, the Raiders defense improved by 3.5 points per game. Hard to pin that on any one thing, but Desmond was the biggest shining star on that squad. It's like your dog pooped out a diamond. Don't worry, we can clean our fingernails AFTER we rob the Raiders roster.
I have to think Bryant wants out of Oakland. The thought of joining the Seahawks defense would certainly be attractive after 4 years in Oakland, and I don't think Seattle would put him out of position just to suit scheme notions