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Originally published February 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM | Page modified February 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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Seahawks eager to address pass rush

Impact rookie pass rushers usually don't last past the first round and Seahawks could use their first pick, No. 12 overall, on key need

Seattle Times staff reporter

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hurry up.

If the Seahawks, who draft No. 12, want to pick a pass rusher to provide an immediate boost, they better do it quickly in the draft because players capable of registering double-digit sacks as rookies don't tend to last.

In the past 10 seasons, there have been 12 rookies who had 10 or more sacks. Eleven of those 12 players were drafted in the first round, which tells you that pass rushers capable of making an immediate impact are like snowmen in Seattle: They don't tend to last more than a day.

"They're rare birds," said Ruston Webster, Tennessee's general manager.

According to Webster, it's a good year for defensive ends specifically and defensive linemen in general. Quinton Coples of North Carolina is considered the most talented pass rusher available, Melvin Ingram of South Carolina is among the most versatile having played everywhere from tackle to linebacker and USC junior Nick Perry was recruited by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks also can improve the pass rush through free agency, where the class might include Houston's Mario Williams. He might become the highest-paid defensive player in league history if he reaches the open market.

Don't be so shocked. Proven pass rushers break the bank in free agency or did you forget when Seattle backed up the Brinks truck to Patrick Kerney's door in Atlanta and unloaded big bags of cash to sign him in 2007?

No NFL team intends to overpay for a player, but as Webster pointed out, "the one position probably that can happen with the most is pass-rushing defensive linemen."

Given its salary-cap space, could Seattle consider pursuing a top-flight pass rusher like Williams or perhaps Indianapolis' Robert Mathis in free agency?

"We're going to entertain every opportunity because that's just the way we do it," Carroll said, declining to comment on specific players.

Finding a long-term answer at quarterback is the biggest uncertainty facing Seattle's offense, but getting someone to throw at the opponent's quarterback might be Seattle's most immediate need.

"We need to address the issue about our pass rush," Carroll said. "It's a big factor for us. We'd love to see if we can make some movement there."

Chris Clemons recorded 11 sacks for the second consecutive season and remains under contract. He was the only Seahawk to finish with more than four sacks last season. Raheem Brock had three, down from nine in 2010.

K.J. Wright is going to get pass-rushing opportunities at outside linebacker, but Seattle needs to add speed on the outside of a defensive line that has proved it is solid against the run.

The Seahawks can't wait too long though, especially if they are looking to do it in the draft.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

Rush to judgment
Looking for an immediate impact pass rusher? Well don't look too long. Over the past 10 seasons, there have been 12 rookies who totaled 10 or more sacks. Ten of those 12 players were chosen with one of the first 13 picks in their respective draft:
Player Rookie sacks Year Team Drafted
Aldon Smith 14 2011 San Francisco First round, No. 7 overall
Dwight Freeney 13 2002 Indianapolis First round, No. 11 overall
Mark Anderson 12 2006 Chicago Fifth round, No. 159 overall
Terrell Suggs 12 2003 Baltimore First round, No. 10 overall
Julius Peppers 12 2002 Carolina First round, No. 2 overall
Von Miller 11.5 2011 Denver First round, No. 2 overall
Brian Orakpo 11 2009 Washington First round, No. 13 overall
Kamerion Wimbley 11 2006 Cleveland First round, No. 13 overall
Kevin Williams 10.5 2003 Minnesota First round, No. 9 overall
Ndamukong Suh 10 2010 Detroit First round, No. 1 overall
Clay Matthews 10 2009 Green Bay First round, No. 26 overall
Shawne Merriman 10 2005 San Diego First round, No. 12 overall

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