who? David Hawthorne is a 24 year old middle linebacker in his 2nd season who plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Hawthorne, after being moved into the starting lineup early in the season, has registered 108 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions. Hawthorne, according to Profootballfocus.com, is the 2nd best ILB against the run, only behind Patrick Willis of the 49ers. He is more towards the middle of the pack when it comes to coverage. However, I would like to compare Hawthornes numbers to Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele. According to profootballfocus.com, when QB's throw into Hawthornes coverage, their QB rating on average is 83.6. When throwing into Ayodeles coverage, its 125.0!!! Crowders is 98.1!!! Profootballfocus has Ayodele ranked as the 2nd worst coverage inside linebacker in the league, and Crowder as the 4th worst. While Hawthorne is not at the top of the league, he is better than notable inside linebackers Jerod Mayo, Jon Beason, James Lauranitas, and Curtis Lofton. Linebackers are rarely going to be great in coverage. The key is to have guys who are not unathletic and liabilites in coverage, and that is what we have in Ayodele and Crowder. Not only would Hawthorne be a huge upgrade in the running game, but he would be a step up in pass coverage. Also, we would be adding a young player going into his third season who has already shown himself to be a playmaker in his first season as a starter. Seahawks coaches have praised his dedication and fans have raved about his playmaking potential. While fans have also been concerned with mental mistakes, he is a 2nd year player playing for the first time, and he also plays the position that alot of times where the green dot.
I am sure you are asking yourself by now, if this guy is 24, and excelling in his 2nd season as a playmaking inside linebacker, why would the Seahawks be interested in trading him? The answer: the Seahawks have a middle linebacker in Lofa Tatupu who was injured early in the season but has been a ProBowl player in this league and is also a young player. They also already have top 5 pick LB Aaron Curry and LB Leroy Hill who they just signed to a longterm deal at strong and weakside linbacker, respecitvly. Therefore, outside of Seattle switching defensive schemes, they should be looking to possibly move Hawthorne in the offseason.
You also might be asking about whether he can play in a 3-4 defense. I answer that in 2 parts.
A. 6'0 240, ideal size for an inside linebacker
B. He has shown himself to both be excellent against the run and a playmaker in his first season as a starter, and these are the two qualties that are most important in searching for an upgrade at this spot. Also, he should only get better he is only 24.
Suggestion: Release Ayodele, trade for Hawthorne with a second day draft pick (remember 2nd and 3rd round is second day now) and possibly a player (Ginn?), and pair Hawthorne with Crowder for next season.
Just a thought...