L.J. Collier, the first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, is set to see a much larger role with the team this season after a disappointing rookie campaign.
Collier has dropped weight this season and was listed as a starter at defensive end on the team’s unofficial depth chart this week after playing just 152 total defensive snaps in 11 games last year for Seattle.
“Really good growth,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said of Collier on Wednesday. “He’s come a long way. He understands the way we practice, he understands the scheme. Understands what his role is in the defense and what his responsibilities are. So I think he’s really going to take a lot of steps.”
Collier suffered a bad high-ankle sprain in the first week of training camp last year that served as a major setback. It forced him to miss the season opener and he was inactive for three of the first five games of the season. He ended up with just three tackles on the year as he saw double-digit snaps in just five of 11 games played.
“I’m one hell of a football player and I’m going to show that this year,” Collier vowed back in the spring.
Collier is down from the 291 pounds he was listed at last season and is now in the 270’s, which is closer to his college playing weight at TCU.
“He’s been quick. He’s moved really well. He’s been on top of his assignments,” defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said. “There’s still a youthfulness to him because he didn’t play a lot of ball last year. … He’s taken a lot of good steps.
Collier will likely rotate at the spot with former second-round pick and last year’s team sack leader Rasheem Green. Both players are also capable of moving inside to rush from the tackle spots in sub-packages as well.
“The competition continues,” Norton said. “Obviously you will see them both on game day. But at the same time, we are strong there because we have two really good football players. … There’s no question we are going to be pretty good there because both of those guys are pretty good.”