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2017 NFL Draft Preview: Is This The Year The Seahawks Select A Cornerback Early?
With the NFL Draft coming up, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks’ roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We’ll also look at Seattle’s draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks currently hold 7 picks in the 2017 draft, which begins Thursday, April 27 in Philadelphia. Read
- Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall
- Round 2 | Pick 26 | No. 58 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 26 | No. 90 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 38 | No. 102 overall*
- Round 3 | Pick 42 | No. 106 overall*
- Round 6 | Pick 26 | No. 210 overall
- Round 7 | Pick 8 | No. 226 overall
Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll
CB Walter Thurmond (No. 111 overall, 2010)
CB Richard Sherman (No. 154, 2011)
CB Byron Maxwell (No. 173, 2011)
CB Jeremy Lane (No. 172, 2012)
CB Tharold Simon (No. 138, 2013)
CB Eric Pinkins (No. 208, 2014; Pinkins later switched to LB)
CB Tye Smith (No. 170, 2015) Read
Where the Seahawks Stand
Under Carroll and Schneider, the Seahawks have built one of the league’s best secondaries despite not sinking a lot of draft capital into cornerbacks. Most notably, Richard Sherman went from fifth-round pick to first-team All-Pro, and the Seahawks have also found starters in the sixth-round (Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane), undrafted free agency (DeShawn Shead) and the Canadian Football League (Brandon Browner). In fact, the earliest the Seahawks have selected a cornerback in seven drafts under Carroll and Schneider was when, in their first draft, they took Walter Thurmond in the fourth round.
Yet despite that history, it’s not unreasonable to think this could be the year the Seahawks finally do take a cornerback in the first few rounds. For starters, this is widely believed to be a very strong class of cornerbacks, meaning there is more likely to be a player available who the Seahawks view as worth of a high pick, and just as importantly, cornerback is a position of need for Seattle this offseason. While Sherman is still one of league’s top corners, and Lane has proven he has the versatility to play inside and outside, the Seahawks have a lot of question marks behind those two. Shead, last year’s starter at right cornerback, suffered a serious knee injury in Seattle’s division round playoff loss at Atlanta, and while nothing has been ruled out, both Carroll and Schneider have said it’s unlikely Shead will be ready for the start of the season. Beyond Sherman, Lane and Shead, the Seahawks have a lot of young talent about whom they’re excited—DeAndre Elliott, Neiko Thorpe and Pierre Desir, to name a few—but not much in the way of proven, experienced players.
“We’ve got to get the corner thing squared away,” Carroll said in January when asked about the team’s offseason needs. “I think that’s one of them. We’ll certainly be looking at that in the draft, that’ll be one of the areas.
"I thought DeAndre Elliott did a nice job in the bits that he played, Neiko did some nice stuff for us, too. There’s a couple other guys there on the roster that have looked good and competitive, but we’re going to have to do a really good job of coaching in the case that DeShawn doesn’t make it back ready to go. I thought he had a very, very good year, was challenged a ton. The other side of Sherm can wear anybody out and he hung in there tough throughout the season, made a considerable amount of plays and all that. He’s a terrific team guy. If he’s not available we’re going to really miss him, but we’ve got to go for it with the other guys. There will be a chance to address that in the draft, too, they’ll be plenty of chances, but right now we’re excited about some of the guys coming up.”
NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock’s Top 5 Cornerbacks
1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Average-sized, one-year starter with explosive athleticism and a loaded tool box. He has the feet, hips and agility to be a lockdown cornerback and the ball skills to make teams pay for looking in his direction. His lack of experience could show up early, but he has the confidence and competitive nature that should help him overcome those issues. He has the ability to become a Pro Bowl cornerback early in his career.
2. Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Press-corner with experience at both cornerback spots and an ability to fit into a variety of coverage techniques. He plays with good top-end speed and has the ball skills to challenge and defend passes on any level. He can step in right away in zone coverage, but could struggle to match patterns from a pedal. He will likely be targeted by teams seeking long cornerbacks who can crowd and trail receivers down the field. He has the talent to become an early starter, but he must improve in run support.
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Talented height-weight-speed prospect who comes from NFL bloodlines. Might need time for his technique to catch up with his traits. Coverage inconsistencies could cause him to struggle against quality competition early on, but his mental makeup and recovery talent should help him pull through. Has the instincts and run-support skills to become an early starter for a zone-cover defense, but it will be hard for teams looking for a lockdown, man corner to pass on all of those physical gifts early in the draft.
4. Tre'Davious White, LSU
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Full-time starter for better part of four years and one of the premier mirror-and-match cornerbacks in the game. Has the feet, athleticism and instincts for prolonged coverage responsibilities and his twitch will always have him near the throw. Best suited for all forms of man coverage. Should compete as special teams performer. Lacks run-support physicality to be an every-down corner, but he's talented enough to challenge for slot duties right away.
T-5. Adoree' Jackson, USC
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): There are two things teams love -- ball production from cornerbacks and return men who can play meaningful snaps on every down. Jackson fits those criteria. His lack of size and length are concerns, but he has the athleticism to step right in as a slot corner on the next level. His combination of coverage and return talent could make him an early impact player.
T-5. Kevin King, Washington
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Unusually tall cornerback with experience playing in the slot and as a starting safety. Showed improved instincts and ball production in 2016, but there are still concerns about whether he has the athleticism and recovery speed to utilize his length to play the football. Might be best suited to more zone coverage or off-man based on his speed limitations, but in either scheme he'll need to improve his aggressiveness as a tackler.
NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock’s Top 5 Nickel Corners
1. Budda Baker, Washington
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Undersized free safety with the heart of a linebacker. Baker plays with a competitive desire that leaps off the field when you watch him thanks to elite football character and above-average explosiveness. While he is undersized, he makes up for it with his football instincts and plus play speed. Baker has the talent to become a play-making safety with Pro Bowl potential if he can sustain his health.
2. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Sticky man-cover corner who possesses the reactive athleticism and foot quickness to maintain coverage responsibilities around the field. Awuzie's combination of size and speed pairs well with his instincts providing him what he needs to compete downfield. His inconsistencies as a tackler could turn off some teams, but his abilities as a gunner on special teams may counter that. He can play outside or in the slot and has traits and talent to compete for early playing time.
3. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Technician with the foot quickness and overall athleticism to handle himself from the slot. Shouldn't be much of a detriment against the run for teams who want to attack on the ground from 11 personnel. Excels from press and plays with confidence and edge. Lack of size will scare some teams and could cause him to fall out of the first round, but he has the ability to become a very good slot corner for a man-cover team.
4. Desmond King, Iowa
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Lack of size and speed combined with his ball skills, instincts, and competitiveness all point to a transition to safety. While he can improve as a tackler, he's got the toughness and mentality to take on run-support duties. Can cover in man when asked and has the ball-tracking skills and anticipation that should allow him to thrive in two-deep and single-high situations. A likely second-day (Rounds 2-3) selection and could be targeted as a zone corner or a safety with early starting potential.
5. Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Limited by his size and his long speed, Kazee has all the instincts and ball skills that a team could want. If he fails to run well, he could drop a round or even two, but he's a good fit for teams who run zone and off man. His willingness in run support and his penchant for taking the ball away should follow him into the pros and make for an early transition into a third or fourth cornerback role. Read
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