2017 NFL Draft Preview: Will The Seahawks Look To Upgrade Their Safety Depth?

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 in Philadelphia.

  • 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

*-Compensatory Pick

So far we’ve covered the offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver, cornerback and tight end. Today, we turn our attention to safety.

Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll

  • S Earl Thomas (No. 14 overall, 2010)
  • S Kam Chancellor (No. 133, 2010)
  • S Mark LeGree (No. 156, 2011)
  • S Winston Guy (No. 181, 2012)
  • S Ryan Murphy (No. 248, 2015)

Where the Seahawks Stand

When it comes to drafting safeties, the Seahawks hit it out of the park in 2010, selecting Earl Thomas in the first round and Kam Chancellor in the fifth, and because both of those players turned into All-Pros, the Seahawks have not had to invest a lot of draft capital into that position ever since, only taking three safeties over the past six drafts, none earlier than the fifth round. And while Chancellor and Thomas should again give the Seahawks one of the best safety tandems in the NFL, the injuries those two sustained in 2016 served as an unfortunate reminder that depth is vital, even at positions where you start a pair of Pro Bowlers.

Chancellor missed four games early last season with a groin injury, then Thomas, who through his first six seasons never missed a game, missed seven games, postseason included, the last six of those the result of a broken leg. Thomas is expected back by the start of the season, but will likely not be able to take part in all of Seattle’s offseason workouts. Seattle’s top two backup safeties from last season, Steven Terrell and Kelcie McCray, remain unsigned free agents.

The Seahawks did take a big step in adding to their safety depth already, signing free agent Bradley McDougald, a former starter in Tampa Bay about whom the Seahawks are very excited. But as much as the Seahawks like McDougald, they only have four safeties on their roster right now—Chancellor, Thomas, McDougald and Pierre Desir, and Schneider has talked about Desir as an option at cornerback as well. So no matter how good the Seahawks feel about Chancellor, Thomas and McDougald, there’s a good chance they’ll look to add to that position group at some point in this draft or undrafted free agency.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock’s Top 5 Safeties  

*1. Jamal Adams, LSU *

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Interchangeable safety with a sheriff's mentality. Adams is a physical tone-setter who should thrive near the line of scrimmage or in a robber role. Should be a commanding presence in the locker room early on and his do-as-I-do play demeanor could be the catalyst for turning a struggling defense around quickly.

*2. Malik Hooker, Ohio State *

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): He's the ultimate lurker. His instincts are always bringing him to the football and when he gets there he has the ball skills to take it away. His lack of game experience and issues with tackle consistency will likely show themselves early in his career, but his ability to flip the field is worthy of an aggressive projection. He has the talent to be a high-impact starter for years in the NFL.

*3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan *

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): The ultimate Swiss Army Knife on the collegiate level, and will likely play a hybrid role on the next level that allows him to blitz, cover and chase, Peppers' draft value will be helped by his return ability and that is a role he should maintain throughout the earlier stages of his career. While Peppers doesn't have the production teams expect from first-round defenders, he should benefit from a role that is more clearly defined on the next level.

4. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Big and athletic, he may lack the coverage qualities and instincts needed to work as a "last line of defense" player in a pass-happy division. Melifonwu is an effective downhill tackler who has the ability to match up against tight ends and make a living near the line of scrimmage. His football instincts aren't up to par, but the size and traits will be extremely enticing for teams who covet traits first.

5. Marcus Williams, Utah

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Ball-hawking free safety who has outstanding ball skills and has shown a propensity for causing turnovers. He can play from a high centerfield spot and utilizes his instincts to swoop down and challenge throws. He's able to get running backs down, but he’s not physical enough to be a combination safety. NFL teams love defensive backs with athletic traits, instincts and ball skills. If he works out well before the draft, he should move up team boards.

RELATED

Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's top safeties in the 2017 NFL Draft.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising