2005 Seahawks Player Analysis: The Defensive Backs

The first three days of the Seahawks' 2005 training camp are in the books, and so is Seahawks.NET's in-depth look at the skill positions. We conclude our series with the cornerbacks and safeties.

Cornerbacks

Marcus Trufant Age: 24  HT: 5-11  WT: 199  YR: 3 Washington State 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

16

96

86.0

10

1

5

141

28.2

58

0

15

CAREER

32

179

160.0

19

1

7

162

23.1

58

0

32

The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003, Trufant has validated his high pick by becoming a complete football player. After a notable rookie campaign, Trufant became more well-rounded in 2004, leading the Seahawks in tackles and showing remarkable strength when bringing down running backs who outweighed him by 20-30 pounds. Trufant also took considerable strides as a pass defender in 2004, racking up five interceptions (tied with Michael Boulware for second on the team behind Lucas’ six). Trufant is often targeted in one-on-one battles with elite receivers, and although he will get turned around and lose battles in the end zone from time to time, his ability to mentally recover from plays made against him may be his greatest asset – especially in the pass-happy NFC West.

2005 Outlook: This could be the year that it all comes together for Trufant. He will be asked to take more of a leadership role, and he’s working hard in camp to firm up the very few holes in his coverage abilities. He’s an amazing athlete with a “can-do” personality that any team would be more than happy to have in their defensive backfield.


Andre Dyson Age: 26  HT: 5-10  WT: 183  YR: 5 Utah 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Tennessee

16

41

35.0

6

0

6

135

22.5

44

0

9

TOTAL

62

223

197.0

26

1

16

260

16.2

51

3

44

Dyson signed as a free agent with the Seahawks on April 26th. His acquisition completed the redefinition of the team’s secondary that began with Ken Lucas’ departure to Carolina and continued with Kelly Herndon’s March signing. Dyson reflects Tim Ruskell’s appreciation for undersized cover corners, and he is a true playmaker with blazing speed. His attributes have improved every year he’s been in the NFL – from a cover skills perspective, Dyson has elite recognition and recovery abilities. When caught out of position, he has the quickness to rebound and make a play anyway. He’s not very physical in man press coverage, and although he’s a good “jump-ball” guy, he can be beaten by larger receivers. Still, with the current market for top cornerbacks, Dyson’s 5-year, $17.5 million contract with the Seahawks was a steal, especially considering the fact that he matched Lucas’ six interceptions in 2004.

2005 Outlook: Dyson will battle with Herndon in camp for the starting cornerback spot opposite Marcus Trufant, but given his abilities, it would be a surprise if he wasn’t named the starter sooner than later. Early on in training camp, Trufant has moved to right corner, as Dyson is more comfortable on the left side. Dyson will join Trufant and Herndon to form one of the most formidable cornerback groups in the NFL.


Kelly Herndon Age: 28  HT: 5-10 WT: 180  YR: 3 Toledo  

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Denver

16

67

53.0

14

1

2

17

8.5

15

0

21

TOTAL

45

138

117.0

21

1

6

36

6.0

16

0

35

Herndon’s story is a study in determination. Never drafted, he was cut by the Giants and 49ers before being acquired by the Broncos in October of 2001. Current Seahawks and former Broncos defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes took an interest in the young DB, and Herndon played in 14 games for Denver in 2003, mostly on special teams. He started all 16 games at cornerback in 2004 opposite Champ Bailey. His 21 passes defensed led the team. In his final game with the Broncos, a wild-card playoff loss to Indianapolis, Herndon intercepted one pass, knocked away two more and led the team with eight solo tackles. Never seen as a “tools” player, Herndon has learned to use short-burst quickness, tackling ability and a scrappy demeanor to make his way in the NFL.

2005 Outlook: The 5-year, $15 million contract Herndon signed with the Seahawks in March was the culmination of his remarkable ascent. With Trufant and Dyson as the playmakers, Herndon will make an ideal nickel cornerback. That’s no demotion, as Seattle frequently sets up in nickel coverage. Herndon will add enormous value to the secondary in that regard. He provides a big upgrade over previous “center fielders”, as evidenced by the number of times the Seahawks’ defense was beaten deep in 2004.


Kris Richard Age: 26  HT: 5-11  WT: 190  YR: 4 USC 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

16

34

29.0

5

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

1

TOTAL

38

53

46.0

7

1

0

0

0.0

0

0

2

2005 Outlook: Selected by Seattle in the 3rd round of the 2002 draft, Richard has seen a little time in nickel and dime packages, but most of his career has been spent on special teams. He’s proven to be a quality man on the return unit, and has shown some potential as a cover corner. Richard is a fast cornerback with decent ball skills who will probably make the cut in 2005 for his special teams abilities, if nothing else.





25 B.J. Tucker Age: 5-10 HT: 188 WT: 24 YR: 1 Wisconsin (not pictured)

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Pittsburgh

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

A sixth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, Tucker was cut by Big D in training camp, and landed on the Steelers’ practice squad. Tucker is from West Africa, and was prevented from playing with Pittsburgh when his student visa expired. By the time he got his citizenship sorted out, the 2004 season had begun, and Tucker found himself out of the league for the whole season. Will Lewis, Seattle's Pro Personnel Director, liked what he saw in Tucker, and the Seahawks signed him in February of 2005. Tucker was then allocated to NFL Europe. Playing for the NFLEL champion Amsterdam Admirals, Tucker started in all 10 regular season games. He earned All-League honors, as he tied for the NFLEL lead with five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He finished the season with 19 tackles and 11 passes defensed.

2005 Outlook: Tucker has proven his determination, and his time in Europe displayed his potential. If he can build on his strong showing across the pond, he has a very good chance of nabbing a backup role.


Michael Harden Age: 23  HT: 5-11  WT: 190 YR: 1Missouri (not pictured)

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

2005 Outlook: Harden was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in April of 2004. He spent the regular season on the practice squad and was activated for the wild-card loss to St. Louis. Seattle then allocated Harden to the NFL Europe League, where he played with the Berlin Thunder. Harden played in all 10 regular season games for the Thunder, starting six. He registered 21 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed. Harden will have his work cut out for him when it comes to making the final cut, but he’s a good player who bears watching in camp.


Kevin House Age: 26  HT: 6-0  WT: 185  YR: 3 South Carolina  (not pictured)

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

San Diego

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

TOTAL

16

11

10.0

1

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

4

The third of Seattle's NFL Europe cornerbacks, House was signed by the Seahawks in February after three seasons with the Chargers and allocated to the Cologne Centurions, where he played in nine games, starting eight. House registered 18 tackles and seven passes defensed. As with Harden, House will really have to show out to make the Seahawks’ squad.


Safeties

Ken Hamlin Age: 24  HT: 6-2  WT: 209  YR: 3 Arkansas  

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

16

80

64.0

16

2

4

48

12.0

24

0

5

TOTAL

32

176

140.0

36

2

5

50

10.0

24

0

12

Joining Marcus Trufant in the Great Seahawks Secondary Draft of 2003, Hamlin began his career with two of the better “OOOOH!” hits you’ll ever see against the Saints’ Donte’ Stallworth and Arizona’s Anquan Boldin in his first two NFL games. In that Week Two contest against the Cards, Hamlin earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors by racking up eight tackles and factoring in four of Seattle's six takeaways. Hamlin finished his rookie year with 10 passes defensed and 96 tackles, second on the team. Year two of Hamlin’s NFL career featured an increased attention to pass coverage - Hamlin wisely reduced his focus on decapitation and concentrated instead on possession. He picked off four enemy passes in his sophomore NFL campaign, including two against Buffalo in a late November game.

2005 Outlook: Currently recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Hamlin is expected to return to full practices with the team in mid-August. His return is crucial for this defense. Hamlin can get caught over-pursuing at times, but he’s starting to lose his predilection for the big hit at the expense of everything else. That doesn’t mean that he’s lost his rep as a player not to be tangled with – it does mean that his overall ability as a safety is catching up with the “Beware Of Rottweiler” sign he’s had around his neck since he came into the league.


Michael Boulware Age: 23  HT: 6-3  WT: 223  YR: 2 Florida State  

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

16

63

47.0

16

1

5

69

13.8

63

1

1

TOTAL

16

63

47.0

16

1

5

69

13.8

63

1

1

So, how plausible was THIS? Outside linebacker gets drafted in the second round, team that drafts him announces that they’ll be converting him to safety through the tunnel marked “Nickel Back”. First regular-season game, rook grabs an INT. Okay, cool…that happens. He’ll struggle, though. He’s in the pros, there’s a position cha…Oops…Kid picks off another pass in the second game against the Bucs. Hmmm…then there’s the snot-knocker of a hit on Tom Brady in the game against the World Champs, which causes a fumble. Boulware picks off one of the Golden Boy’s passes in the same game.

He’s gonna level off, right?

Uh…maybe not. Dude returns an interception for a 63-yard touchdown against the Dolphins in November, saving his team the indignity of blowing yet another fourth-quarter lead. By mid-December, it’s obvious he’ll have to start in the defensive backfield. There’s some pressure, right? Right. All he does in his first start at safety against the Vikings is to grab yet ANOTHER crucial pick in the waning minutes. Jumped up about ten feet in the air to get it, too.

Who IS this guy?

2005 Outlook: The sky is the limit here. Boulware possesses an almost imaginary combination of size, speed and athleticism. He can run with vertical receivers when handed off in a zone, and he’s just as adept at coming up in the box against the run or in a blitz. He augments his great feel and natural ability in coverage with an admirable desire to learn. He’s still learning the more advanced aspects of his position, but when he gets the nuances under his belt…watch out. Boulware will be the Seahawks’ starting strong safety in 2005, and he’ll certainly be one of the better cover safeties in the NFL for years to come. An Ed Reed-style impact this season is not out of the question.


Terreal Bierria Age; 24  HT: 6-3  WT: 211  YR: 4 Georgia 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

15

74

51.0

23

0

1

10

10.0

10

0

4

TOTAL

29

89

62.0

27

0

1

10

10.0

10

0

4

Selected by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, Bierria was penciled in as the starting strong safety at the beginning of the 2004 season. He certainly put forth his best effort, but Bierria has proven to be far better against the run than the pass. He’s a fierce tackler (laying out Torry Holt in the second Rams game in what had to be the Seahawks’ Hit of the Year), but he simply doesn’t have the physical tools to cover consistently at this level. As the season progressed, Bierria’s limitations became more and more glaring, and he was relegated to a backup role when Michael Boulware proved to be more than ready to take his starting spot.

2005 Outlook: Hamlin and Boulware have those starting positions locked up, and that means Bierria is locked out. He will most likely make the final cut as a backup and special teams player.


Junior Rosegreen Age: 24 HT: 5-11 WT: 193 YR: R Auburn

TCKL

TFL

SACK

INT

FF

FR

PD

2004

57

3

0

6

1

1

9

CAREER

198

7.5

1

110

2

2

25

A key part of the Tigers’ stellar 2004 defense, Rosegreen is a curiosity. He finished his senior season at Auburn with six interceptions (including four in one game against Tennessee), he has good football instincts, coaches and scouts have raved about him, and he impressed at the Senior Bowl practices as a late addition. He’s a sure tackler and a ballhawk who started the last 40 college games in which he played.

Why wasn’t he drafted?

Size, or his lack of it, was the issue. Rosegreen is a safety with cornerback size who may lack the pure speed to switch positions. Seahawks President Tim Ruskell scouted him at Auburn's Pro Day, and the Seahawks took their shot by signing him as an undrafted free agent in early May.

2005 Outlook: Given Ruskell’s ability to see through size biases when it comes to defensive backs, and Ray Rhodes’ ability to develop DBs at the NFL level, Rosegreen couldn’t have landed in a better place. The Seahawks will test his ability to overcome the stigma that prevented any team from drafting him, and it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to those in the know if he made the final roster as a backup.


Jamaal Brimmer Age: 22 HT: 6-1 WT 216 YR: R UNLV

TCKL

TFL

SACK

INT

FF

FR

PD

2004

82

6.5

1.5

2

4

1

5

Career

280

34.5

10

8

11

7

12

A three-year starter at UNLV, Brimmer was an All-Conference selection in 2003 and 2004. He posted a career-high 100 tackles as a sophomore. Brimmer is an aggressive, run-defending safety with the ability to play in zone coverage. He is explosive up the field when supporting the run, defends screen plays and works to make positive things happen. Best when playing between the numbers, and usually a half-step late to the flanks in coverage, Brimmer has struggled in man-to-man situations.

2005 Outlook: Brimmer was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. A nice-sized safety with growth potential, Brimmer has the mentality and physical skills to play up in the box. Best defending the run, he displays adequate skills covering the pass in a small area. Brimmer could win a backup job and help out on special teams, but he’ll probably have to beat out Terreal Bierria to do it. Don’t bet on the Seahawks carrying two safeties who are strong against the run, but far less so in the passing game, on their final roster.


Jordan Babineaux Age: 22  HT: 6-0  WT: 200  YR: 2 Southern Arkansas  

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

6

8

7.0

1

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

TOTAL

6

8

7.0

1

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

2005 Outlook: Babineax has spent the last two seasons bouncing off and on Seattle's practice squad after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004. He’s a fine tackler who lacks optimal coverage skills, and he’s probably looking at another trip to the practice squad with an outside shot at a special teams role.





Marquand Manuel Age: 26  HT: 6-0  WT: 209  YR: 4 Florida  

DEFENSIVE STATS

Year

Team

G

Total

Tckl

Ast

Sacks

Int

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Pass Def

2004

Seattle

15

19

12.0

7

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

CAREER

43

76

55.0

21

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

3

2005 Outlook: Acquired from the waiver wire in September, Manuel saw action on special teams and a little time as a nickel safety toward the end of the season. Like most DBs on the bubble, he’s an aggressive tackler who currently lacks the ability to cover at the NFL level. Manuel has a good shot at another season on Seattle's special teams, with the occasional situational role in the defensive backfield.


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