Seahawks Insider

A closer look at Pep Levingston

Post by Eric Williams on July 7, 2011 at 9:50 am with 31 Comments »
July 7, 2011 9:50 am
Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Pep Levingston runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Defensive line was one of the Seattle Seahawks most pressing needs heading into this year’s draft.

And with plenty of talented defensive linemen available in the first round, the smart money was on the Seahawks grabbing one of those prospects on the first day.

Yet the Seahawks waited to the final day of the draft to select LSU defensive lineman Pep Levingston 205th overall in the seventh round.

With Brandon Mebane likely a free agent once a new CBA is agreed to, Seattle will have to look to free agency to shore up holes on the defensive front. However, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll like Levingston’s versatility.

“He’s a real strong guy – a point of attack guy, good length to him,” Schneider said about Levingston. “He was a guy we felt could come in and compete at the 5 technique spot and be a stop guy.”

“He’s a defensive end primarily, but we think he can play both (defensive end and defensive tackle),” added Carroll said.

The skinny: Levingston started at defensive end his junior year, replacing Tyson Jackson, selected No. 3 overall by Kansas City in the 2009 draft.

He then moved inside to defensive tackle for his senior season.

The Seahawks see Levingston competing for time at defensive end with Red Bryant as a player who can hold the point at 5 technique. It’s an interesting development, because Seattle drafted E.J. Wilson for that very same purpose last year out of North Carolina in the fourth round, but cut him midway through the season – one of the few draft picks they missed on last year.

At 6-4 and 292 pounds, the 21-year-old Levingston is basically the same size as Wilson (6-3, 289 pounds).

Now Seattle hopes Levingston provides the depth up front they were looking for in Wilson. Wilson caught on with Tampa Bay last year.

What’s in a name? Levingston’s first name given to him at birth is Lazarius, but he earned the nickname Pep from his uncle as a little kid.

“My uncle, he gave me that name when I was a little kid. I was always hyperactive, so he said that I had a lot of pep in m step, so the name just stuck with me,’ Levingston said about the nickname.

2011 expectations
: Seattle is looking for Levingston to develop into a rotational guy along the defensive front, joining Colin Cole, Red Bryant, Kentwan Balmer and whomever they add in free agency.

Levingston gives Seattle some insurance if Bryant does not fully recover from season-ending knee surgery last year, and he also has the ability to give the Seahawks some snaps at 3 technique on run downs.

“You have a lot of guys who can only play on the left side of the line, or the right side of the line,” Levingston said. “For me, it doesn’t really matter. I can play all across, with my left or right hand down. Wherever a team sees me there, I’m all for it. I’m all just for making a team better any way I can.”

Draft Nasty interviews Levingston and offers a few highlights here.

Check out Pep’s combine workout here.

And Schneider talks about Levingston in this video link.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. HawkfaninMT says:

    Calling me a Debbie Downer but I dont see him sticking. I feel like he is too close to Wilson from last year, which didn’t work as Eric points out. He doesn’t have the size or strength that Red does to step into his shoes and fill that 5 Tech role in my opinion.

    In my best case scenario I would like to see him on the PS with Alan Branch brought in to compete with Red for snaps and to provide excellent depth. He has the size and skill to fill Red’s spot. I only question his heart a little as it seems he has under performed since coming into the league.

  2. This was a curious choice to me. I believe EJ Wilson was cut because they did not feel he had the size to play the 5 technique in Pete Carroll’s scheme. And now they draft a guy the same size to play the same position? He seems like a training camp tackling dummy to me that doesn’t make the 53 man roster.

  3. Dukeshire says:

    Joining Bryant, Cole and Balmer? Is that the LDE / NT rotation you envision? The presuption is that Balmer will move inside, because he’s a liability at end, IMO.

  4. Soggybuc says:

    At 21 YO he still has plenty of room to get stronger and bulk up. maybe he can land a spot as a ST guy and 3rd option rotation.
    I think EJ was more of a victim of all the roster moves they made last year as opposed to being a lousy player. they just didnt feel the could afford spot on a kid who needed work when they where trying to fix the dam.
    they have already stated there will not be as much churn on the squad this year so maybe they can start to get some younger guys stocked up.

  5. I don’t see anything from him this year except for being on the practice squad or, if he makes the final roster, inactive on Sundays. Man, if we don’t resign Mebane, or at least replace him with a “real” player, it could get ugly up front. Balmer possibly starting? Brutal. This unit is going to look real ugly if Mebane isn’t resigned.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Pep is plenty big enough to play 5 Tech. (and as Soggy mentions, he’s young and will continue to fill out) Remember, Bryant primarily plays a 2 gap position at LDE which is unique. Few players have the size, strength and quickness to play 2 gap end, above the tackle, in a 4-3 the way he’s able to. Pep would almost certainly play a more traditional 5 Tech; 1 gap, outside shoulder of the tackle. Size is not an issue, hopefully he has the talent necessary to develop tools to play there.

  7. Like to see them sign NYG DT Cofield. However, when FA begins there will be a feeding frenzy. Should Cofield not wish to sign at any price as SD LG Dielman shunned Seattle there would be little time to sign another. I’ve heard there is a contract on the table for Mebane as soon as FA opens. The smart move. But for me, I would still likely pursue Cofield who never misses games and has a SB victory under his belt. And as incentive would also try to sign NYG DE Mathias Kiwanuka. These fella’s come from a proven defense that eliminates guess work.

    Schneider shores up the O/D lines and signed Sydney Rice maybe Bret Favre would be interested in coming to Seattle.

  8. snoopy123 says:

    Brett Favre!!?! Seattle!?!? Good god I hope not. I am still shocked the Seahawks are even considering letting Mebane walk. Mebane is the type of player we will regret losing. Pay the man. Cut Locklear, Hill, and Kelly Jennings.

    This guy (Pep) looks like a camp body to me..

    For a full third of the season last year, our D-line was BEASTLY. When Red went down, it was all over. Lets go get Cullen Jenkins from GB to rotate with Red. I’ll take Kiwnuka if we can get him. Get Jonathon Joseph from CIN. We’ll be winning the west again!!!

  9. I’ll take Rice w/out the Favre, but hey, maybe with this lockout, he regrets retiring, wouldn’t even have to worry about training camp. I like that combo snoopy, but we got to get the Hass resigned too, in a serious way. What about some other CB’s for a little cheaper if we need to spend more on other areas of need; Chris Carr, Chris Houston, or Ike Taylor. Also, I’m kinda questioning all this Gallery speculation. A dude I work with says watch out for him, he said he never lived up to his potential and is a liabilty due to injuries. What about Logan Mankins, Harvey Dahl, Davin Joseph, Deuce Lutui, Justin Blalock, or Alan Faneca.

  10. Put your personal bias aside for a moment. We’re not talking about the running back position that takes a beating, gets run down and loses a step. This is the QB position and like a fine wine gets better with age. Vintage Favre is just one year removed from a 107 rating. Given time in the pocket and there is no better. He can launch 80 yard bombs without effort. Hasselbeck on his best day could only muster 65 as witnessed in the QB challenge which he won a few years back.

  11. I know this regime didn’t draft Mebane, but it seems common sense that when you draft a player, develop him, and he’s actually good… those are the type of guys you resign. Mebane has said that he’d like to remain in Seattle so there’s no reason a deal shouldn’t get done. I know he’s not the pass rusher that we want/need, but there aren’t many DTs who are. But we do know that he’s an elite run stuffer who constantly gets great penetration in the run game and, therefore, makes everyone else around him better. Teams simply cannot run consistently against Big Red, Mebane, and Cole. I’d sure hate to lose one of those three.

  12. TruBlu

    Mankins is franchised, unless you want to give a couple of 1st round picks for him (although with the new CBA, you never know).

    Faneca retired.

  13. That guy I work with is an Oakland nut, kinda ridiculous having to work with his goofy ass hearin’ about Oakland then gettin’ off and kickin’ it with my best friend who happens to be a Niner fan (At least he’s from the Bay Area). Oh well, got keep it real with my boys in blue.

  14. Thanks for keepin’ me updated BK.

  15. No problem.

  16. Dukeshire says:

    Favre put those numbers on a complete football team, something Seattle is not. There in no opportunity to grow as the rebuilding continues with a QB who has retired 3 or the past 4 seasons and has taken a severe beating in the last. Personal bias aside, Favre does nothing to get Seattle closer to a championship, IMO.

  17. MattandCindy says:

    Kerry Collins announced his retirement this morning. So, I wonder what that does to free agency amongst the QB’s? Jake Locker = Starter???

  18. Mr Williams had an entry about TEN possibly wanting Hasselbeck to start and to mentor Jake. Collin’s retirement (thanks MattandCindy) isn’t gonna diminish that. Sadly, I think I’m gonna really miss Hasselbeck in SEA next season.

  19. K. Collins retiring just pushed up the contract value for Hasselbeck. One of those things that we have no control over – just impacted us a bit. I wonder how this one will play out.

  20. If I’m not mistaken the draft has already taken place. The Seahawk roster consists of CW. Not aware of anyone claiming confidence in him becoming the starter moving forward. There are FA options but few seem to be long term answers. Kolb will be extremely expensive and require high compensation. Palmer may not be dealt. The others would set behind Brett.

    Bringing Farve in wouldn’t be new to Seattle. How old was Warren Moon? And he started 2 years for Erikson before Holmgren arrived. But it is highly unlikely Favre would be willing to unretire to play in Seattle. Even if this tattered team, as bad as they are, who knocked off the previous SB winner in the playoffs, roll out the red carpet to him.

  21. chuck_easton says:


    My biggest issue with Favre is not his age. It’s not his ‘gunslinger’ mentality. It has everything to do with the fact that there is strong evidence that he isn’t exactly the mentoring type. He has a reputation from his days in GB of not wanting to do anything to help the young guy (Hasselbeck, Rogers, and a few that were before Hasselbeck) improve. Brett is all about Brett.

    If the goal is to go for it and win the SB in the next year you take a flyer on him. If the goal is to bring in an established vet with the understanding that said vet may start this year but their primary objective is to mentor the future franchise QB maybe he’s not the best guy.

  22. Holmgren didn’t bring in a vet to mentor Favre. He had QB coaches Steve Mariucci, Marty Mornhinweg, Andy Reid. The latter were there for Hasselbeck. And in Seattle Holmgren brought Jim Zorn in as QB coach for Hass.

    Charlie Whitehurst is being paid 4M. Starter money. He’s been in the league 5 years and to be frank doesn’t need a Vet Mentor but a QB coach. Besides, no-one would pay those M’s for Favre to hold a clip board giving the occasional ata boy.

    For someone so self centered he sure has a large turn out of youth when he fires up the come backs at the local school ball fields.

  23. Dukeshire says:

    What would be the goal, should they bring in Favre? Minn brought him in for a one year run. He was the last piece of the puzzle, or so they believed. That was two years age. (They players famously went to Hattisburgh and brought him back again.) But I am curious, what could he do for Seattle at this stage?

  24. Farve retired. He has no desire to be a Seahawk. Bevel would look a fool to suggest seeking his services. If Schneider should that would be a different story.

    At this stage?
    They have CW. Thats it. They chose not to draft a QB. Maybe they’ll give up high compensation for Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer is dealt. Hasselbeck is still a possibility. But again, why was Moon brought in? My guess… to play QB at a level that kept the stadium seats full.

    I asume the goal of winning games will remain the same no matter who lines up under center. They didn’t draft QB so playing time for a youngster won’t be an issue.

  25. Palerydr says:

    I fully expect them to resign MH. I think they will cave and give him the 2 year deal he is seeking. He has lived in this area for quite some time now his family from all reports(Clayton) loves the area here and does not want to move. I think his family not wanting to leave and give up friendships here is going to factor into a decision almost as much as amount and length of contract.

    Another and I believe the first of Favre’s QB coaches was Jon Gruden I have seen some NFL films from his days with Holmgren and he used to take the heat for Favre’s gunslinger moves on a regular basis too funny.

  26. BobbyAyala says:

    John Scheider is in love with Whitehurst. Not to mention, that’s a big save-face motivation for Carroll and Co.

    The fans hate him, the FO loves him, he’s a lightning rod, but, for my money, a year with Whitehurst at the helm could be positive whether he succeeds or fails.

    Succeed and you may have found a diamond on the cheap, fail and you may get Andrew Luck.

    Why not roll the dice?

  27. BobbyAyala –
    OK, win-win with CW starting. Who do you bring in to compete with him, TJac, Leinart, Edwards, Gradkowski, Losman? Do you get a 3rd emergency QB, or is there someone on the team who plays another position that could fill that role?

    Pep Levingston: I know we’re talking a 7th rounder, but does anybody have any idea about his stats playing DE (5-tech) / DT (3-tech) for LSU? Would he make as much pressure as Craig Terrill did/does on 3rd down at the 3-tech? Has he blocked any punts/kicks? Sacks, hits, TFL, FFs, etc?

  28. jchawks08 says:

    Here is the answer to all your questions re: Pep Levinston –

    And come on peeps, I know that this lockout has really created a void in our lives, but take a step back. What’s with this Favre talk? And I’ve said it before, Hasselback is not, i repeat, NOT going anywhere. 2 year deal, draft a qb next year, mentor him in 2012, all the while CW being a kinda capable backup. Boom, done and done.

  29. BobbyAyala says:

    klm — My druthers would be to resign Matt, honestly. I don’t like to watch crappy football, and if he has a line and we go back to a system similar to Holmgren’s, I think Matt can get us one or two more playoff appearances.

    CW can backup and bring back Losman.

    If Matt’s gone, I don’t know what to say, gonna be a long year.

  30. The Pep Livingston pick is still a bit of a mystery to me. (one more reason why not having any mini camps sucks; we would know more about him by now.) The only way the pick makes sense to me is if they feel Pep can add pack more muscle on that 6’4 frame, because 292# doesn’t fit the profile for Carroll’s 5-tech.

    If Livingston can develop more ballast and strength and keep his quickness, then of course he does have potential to join the rotation at LDE. (Which, I think, consists of Bryant, Siavii, Richardson, and nobody at this point. Or, perhaps make that Bryant and nobody.)

    After QB and 3-tech, I don’t think there is a bigger need on the team than a backup for Red Bryant. The run defense was very good when he played and poor when he didn’t play and, in the past two seasons Bryant could only stay healthy for 13 of 32 games. I love Big Red, and I hate to say this but he still looks more like another Marcus Tubbs than a dependable starter.

    I would expect Schneider to bring in more guys to compete at this position at camp, giving Pep a big challenge just to stick on the roster. If that doesn’t happen, LDE will be a vulnerability and we had better pray that Red stays uninjured for a change.

  31. I think they just took a flyer on the best available player that late in the draft. I hope he makes the team, records 22 sacks, and is named the super bowl mvp.

    Wish in one hand, shit in the other I suppose.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0