The Seattle Seahawks finally got the pass-rusher they needed, selecting UCLA's Cassius Marsh with the 108th overall pick. Seattle filled their last remaining major need with this pick and can now focus entirely on taking the best player available for the rest of the draft.
There have been some questions about Marsh's character in the past. Derek Stephens of CBSsports alludes to them in notes on Seattle's pick:
Marsh is a gifted athlete with ideal length to play end at the next level. The biggest knock on him has been surrounding his character, but Seattle has never shied away from players with challenging pasts. The talent is there for Marsh to be a disruptive force as a pass-rusher at the next level.
Marsh was very productive in college, especially after dropping almost 50 pounds and converting from defensive tackle to defensive end.
Cassius Marsh was a 300-pound DT when he began his career at UCLA, or as he put it, "a really sloppy 300." #Seahawks— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) May 10, 2014
Marsh was willing to do anything for his UCLA team, including playing offense on occasion and putting in extra reps wherever he was needed.
Marsh talking about how he has played some spot duty at TE -- said he works out with receivers and fields punts before every practice— Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) May 10, 2014
Marsh is an incredible athlete, and he posted tremendous workout measurables prior to the draft. His one weakness is upper body strength, but he will have time to work on that before being asked to become an every-down player.
Marsh should not have to start right away. The Seahawks have Cliff Avril, who is likely to start at the LEO defensive end position, and Michael Bennett, who will play at the 5-technique. Marsh will be able to come in on passing situations when Bennett moves inside to defensive tackle. This is the same role that Avril filled last season, and Bruce Irvin filled the year before.
One possible obstacle for Marsh in terms of getting playing time in Seattle might be Irvin. He was pushed out of his role as the team's primary strong-side linebacker at the end of the 2013 season, and may see additional time as a situational pass-rusher this year like he did in 2012. If the Seahawks elect to use Irvin in this manner, Marsh may have a difficult time getting on the field during the 2014 season.
This is a great fit for Marsh and the Seahawks. He fits in very well into Seattle's attacking style on defense and has the potential to become the starter at LEO in 2015 and beyond.