Another OLB-to-Safety Switch?

Seahawks.NET has confirmed that Seattle is talking to one player who excelled at OLB in college about a switch to strong safety. This player has run in the low 4.4s enough that several teams are considering moving him to safety. However, with Seattle's history on the Michael Boulware front, the hometown team is on the trail of another prospect, and they're leading the position-switch sweepstakes.

His name is Juwan Simpson, and he’s fairly blowing people away with his numbers. Starting 11 games at outside linebacker for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Simpson finished second on the team with 73 tackles. This followed a 2005 breakout campaign in which he started every game and played in 700 total snaps. When talking to the media at the Combine on Saturday, he specified that the Seahawks had talked to him here about possibly playing strong safety. At 6’2” and 225 pounds, he certainly has the size.

Most experts have Simpson ranked as a top 15 outside linebacker, and the scouts say that there is a tremendous amount of unfinished athletic potential in this player. Scott Eklund, Seahawks’NET’s key man for all our draft coverage, had this to say about Simpson: “Depends on how fluid and mobile he is ... (but) it's hard for me to see him playing strong safety. He was a very good coverage linebacker for the Crimson Tide, but he may not be flexible enough to play safety. Reminds me a lot of Michael Boulware, honestly, from the film I've seen.

Boulware was benched for several games in the 2006 season after proving ineffective in coverage and biting on run plays. Though he improved toward the end of the season. The Seahawks have been said to have been looking at safeties in this draft.

One red flag comes up with Simpson – given the character-centric emphasis that Team President Tim Ruskell prefers, Simpson’s May, 2006 arrest for receiving stolen property, possession of marijuana, and carrying a pistol without a license would seem to be a major stopping point. The other side of his past (Academic All-SEC athlete, balancing two degrees, received the Derrick Thomas Award (and was nominated for the Lott Trophy) is completely contradictory..

We can but wait and see as the Seahawks’ scouting process continues, but Seahawks.NET has confirmed that Seattle is giving Simpson a good, solid look.


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