Per Albert Breer of MMQB, the Seattle Seahawks are sending a third-round pick, Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo to the Houston Texans in exchange for Clowney.
Martin, a second-year Temple product drafted in the sixth round in 2018, earned a 62.6 overall grade across 261 defensive snaps last season. Mingo earned just a 56.0 overall grade across 544 defensive snaps in 2018 and has earned just a 68.1 overall grade across his 2,101 career defensive snaps since going sixth overall to the Cleveland Browns in 2013.
It’s also important to note Clowney enters a contract year and is on the books for $15.9M in 2019, per Over the Cap. Though Seattle gave up a third-round pick to secure Clowney’s services, the team will likely receive a third-round compensatory pick if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal with the Seahawks after this season and walks via free agency.
What Clowney brings to Seattle is outstanding run defense and good, not great pass-rushing ability off the edge.
Not only is Clowney is coming off the best single-season run-defense grade of his career (91.2), but he also ranks fourth in run-defense grade (91.7) among the 102 NFL edge defenders with 500 run-defense snaps played over the past five seasons (2014-18). He’s a constant disruptor at the line of scrimmage capable of beating blocks and creating havoc in the backfield quickly, as you’d expect considering the highlight-reel hit that made him famous at the collegiate level.
Of course, we at PFF hammered all last season and deep into this offseason that running the football and run defense aren’t nearly as valuable as coverage and rushing the passer. And Clowney has yet to establish himself as an elite, consistent pass-rusher in this league.
Among the 78 NFL edge defenders with 1,000-plus pass-rush snaps in the past five seasons (2014-18), Clowney ranks 25th in pass-rush grade (79.2), 33rd in pass-rush win percentage (14.3%) and 29th in total pressures (215).
Clowney has improved his pass-rush grade by at least 3.0 points every year of his NFL career and earned a career-high 79.4 pass-rush grade with Houston this past season. Yet, his still ranked 13th in pass-rush grade (79.4), 25th in pass-rush win percentage (15.3%) and 17th in total pressures (63) among the 93 NFL edge defenders with 200 or more pass-rush snaps played this past season.
Trading away a third-round pick (they could easily get back next offseason) and depth pieces in Martin and Mingo for Clowney is a steal for Seattle no matter how you slice it. The Seahawks’ run defense improves significantly with the addition of Clowney, and the team’s pass-rush should see at least an uptick in production with him added to the mix.