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2015 NFL Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

The Seahawks secondary suffered injuries late last season. Could they find cornerback help in this year's draft?

Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, which is set to take place from April 30 - May 2 in Chicago, Ill., will take a position-by-position look at this year's top prospects.

Along the way, we'll rehash the team's past draft picks at each position under Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll and also provide an outline of where the team currently stands at each spot.

Seattle owns 11 selections in this year's draft - one in the second round (No. 63 overall), one in the third (No. 95), three in the fourth (Nos. 112, 130 & 134), two in the fifth (Nos. 167 & 170), three in the sixth (Nos. 181, 209 & 214), and one in the seventh (No. 248).

We led our draft preview series last week with a look at the offensive and defensive lines before following up with the running backslinebackersquarterbackssafetiestight ends, and wide receivers. We wrap things up today with the cornerbacks, a position Schneider and Carroll have never selected higher than the fourth round.

Draft History (Under Schneider & 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)

* signifies a player no longer with the team

Where The Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks saw starting cornerback Byron Maxwell sign with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, but made up for Maxwell's departure by inking veteran cornerback Cary Williams. In Maxwell, Seattle lost a player who started 17 of the team's past 21 games on the right side of the defense opposite All-Pro cover man Richard Sherman, who will return to Seattle for his fifth NFL season. In Williams, the Seahawks added a 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame who started 33 games the past two seasons (including playoffs) for the Eagles. Williams hasn't been handed the starting job just yet, but with the current health of the position group he finds himself near the front of the line to take Maxwell's spot in the No. 1 defense.

Nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane broke his forearm and tore his ACL at the end of a Super Bowl XLIX play that saw him intercept New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He had both injuries surgically repaired this offseason, but his status heading into the start of the regular-season is still to be determined.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, coach Carroll said cornerback Tharold Simon could also be a candidate for offseason surgery. Simon, who saw action in 10 games last season after spending his rookie year on injured reserve (foot), hurt his shoulder in a December game against the Arizona Cardinals and was inactive for the team's regular season finale against the St. Louis Rams. He started the Seahawks' divisional-round playoff win over the Carolina Panthers this past January in place of Maxwell (shortness of breath), but struggled in February's Super Bowl when forced to replace an injured Lane.

With Maxwell to the Eagles and injuries to Lane and Simon in mind, the Seahawks also acquired Will Blackmon last month fresh off a two-year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blackmon was released by Seattle prior to the 2013 season on the team's roster cutdown to 75 players. He went on to start eight games for the Jaguars that year, when he had a career-high 40 tackles and his first NFL interception. He made 30 tackles in eight games (four starts) for Jacksonville last season.

Marcus Burley and Eric Pinkins make up the rest of the cornerback position for the Seahawks. Burley played in 13 games for Seattle last year - his first snaps at the pro level, while Pinkins spent his initial year in the NFL on the team's non-football injury list.

NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock shares his top five cornerbacks set to enter this year's draft.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Cornerbacks 

1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State, 6-0, 186 lbs

Draft Projection (via 1

Bottom Line (via's a bump-and-run cornerback with the length, deep speed and confidence to handle himself down the field against speed. Waynes plays too handsy for NFL officials and that could show up on Sundays. His 4.31 40, smooth hips and overall fluidity displayed at the combine could make him a much earlier pick in the draft than previously projected. Waynes carries a very high ceiling.

2. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest, 6-0, 188 lbs 

Draft Projection (via 1 or 2

Bottom Line (via is a three-year starting cornerback who showed great improvement in man coverage from 2013 to 2014. While he lacks desired weight at the position, his cover skills, athleticism and competitiveness give him a shot to come in and start right away. Johnson can play gunner on special teams.

3. Marcus Peters, Washington, 6-0, 197 lbs

Draft Projection (via 1 or 2

Bottom Line (via cover cornerback with size, ball skills and the confidence NFL teams are looking for, but lacks the necessary discipline and maturity on the field and in practice. Peters has raw talent, but is far from a polished cornerback, and that is without taking the character concerns into consideration. If his character checks out, then he has a shot at going on the first day.

4. Jalen Collins, LSU, 6-1, 203 lbs

Draft Projection (via 1

Bottom Line (via talented cornerback who brings the entire triangle (height, weight, speed) with him. Still learning technique and how to sink his feet with his eyes, but the instincts and athleticism to make plays on the ball both short and deep are what set him apart. Collins is a work in progress, but his physical and play traits create a very high ceiling if he continues to learn to play the position. 

5. Byron Jones, Connecticut, 6-1, 199 lbs

Draft Projection (via 1 or 2

Bottom Line (via cornerback with good size and adequate speed. Has the ball skills and anticipation needed for the position. Jones' balance and overall athleticism could be a concern in man coverage and his season-ending shoulder injury will need to be examined. He would be an interesting free safety prospect with his instincts, but might lack the physicality for the position.


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