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Seahawks add edge rusher, running back in second round of NFL draft

The Seattle Seahawks added depth to their defensive front by selecting Auburn edge rusher Derick Hall with the 37th pick of the NFL draft

The Columbian
Published: April 28, 2023, 11:42pm

RENTON (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks added depth to their defensive front by selecting Auburn edge rusher Derick Hall with the 37th pick of the NFL draft on Friday night, and then added a running back later in the second round, taking UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet at No. 52 overall.

Hall had 19 1/2 sacks in his final 36 games for the Tigers and will likely be an outside linebacker in Seattle’s defensive alignment. He was a first-team all-Southeastern Conference selection his final season, when he had 60 tackles, seven sacks and an interception.

Hall is confident in his ability to flourish wherever the Seahawks plug him in, having played all over the field in college.

“I did a lot,” Hall said. “These last two years, I was asked to do a lot of different things. I was on the line of scrimmage playing outside, I played (defensive) end, I played outside backer, I dropped, I rushed, I stepped back into (middle linebacker) position. … I was moved around a lot.”

Hall was named a team captain last season.

“That was definitely a lot more significant for me to have that, knowing that my teammates picked me to help be a leader on that team,” Hall said. “I feel like I’m a guy who could be in that role and flourish, and I feel like I’m the guy to help that team get better. Just continue to grow.”

Edge rusher was one area Seattle did not address during free agency. The Seahawks focused on their inside defensive ends by signing Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed. Hall projects to join a pass-rushing rotation that includes Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe and Uchenna Nwosu.

The selection of Charbonnet marked the second straight year Seattle used a second-round pick on a running back. Last year it was Kenneth Walker III, who burst onto the scene when Rashaad Penny was lost to injury and ended up as a finalist for offensive rookie of the year.

Charbonnet gives Seattle a complementary runner to pair with Walker. With Penny and Travis Homer leaving in free agency, the only two running backs on Seattle’s roster were Walker and Deejay Dallas. Charbonnet transferred to UCLA prior to his junior year and rushed for more than 1,100 yards in both of his seasons for the Bruins.

Charbonnet was a first-team all-Pac-12 player in 2022, leading UCLA with 1,359 rushing yards on 195 carries in 10 starts.

“As a runner, just a physical running style. Downhill, one cut, that’s the type of game I play,” Charbonnet said. “I have full ability to make someone miss and then just catch it out of the backfield.”

Seattle traded the No. 83 pick to Denver in exchange for the Broncos’ fourth-round pick at 108th overall and a third-round pick in 2024.

Seattle took Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick in the first round. The Seahawks selected wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall pick.

The No. 37 pick was part of Seattle’s return in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver before last season.