A familiar story line seems to be recurring in the Seahawks camp, trades involving 2008 first-round draft picks for late-round 2011 draft picks.
Kentwan Balmer came to the Seahawks from San Francisco for a sixth-round pick over the weekend. Today, the man selected just before him, Lawrence Jackson, was sent packing to the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed (likely late-round) draft pick.
There was speculation that Jackson was feeling a bit lost amongst the new defensive scheme, which has emphasis on size to stop the run, and speed rushers to attack opposing quarterbacks. With Red Bryant firmly entrenched on one end as a bulky, gap-filling defensive end, and Chris Clemons showing promise rushing from the opposite side, Jackson's role diminished drastically.
Kentwan Balmer, although to date has shown little, fits the physical characteristics Carroll is looking for in his defensive line. The two trades really work out to swapping one player for another, as the Seahawks will likely replace the pick given up for Balmer with the Jackson trade.
When looking at the roster, it is clear how Jackson didn't size up, literally, to Carroll's ideals for the position. Balmer, listed on the roster as a defensive end and weighing in at 315 pounds, will compete to be the main backup to 323 pound Red Bryant.
On the other end, starter Chris Clemons, weighing in at 254 pounds, has a host of players competing to back him up, all playing near the same weight. Jackson lacked what Carroll wanted in his "Leo" defensive end position, speed and quick release, nor did he have the girth to fill the running lanes on the opposite side.
The defensive scheme up front has shifted so drastically that a player drafted just two years ago finds himself in new surroundings trying to reclaim a career in the NFL.
All the speculation that Carroll might have unfair bias toward players he once coached at USC is a notion that is all but dead at this point. In a series of bold moves, the defensive unit has taken on an all new identity whose success or failures on the field awaits them come the regular season.