.NET Player Profile: Eric Weddle

He's known as one of the most versatile and instinctive players at any position in the upcoming NFL Draft. Utah SS Eric Weddle is hoping to parlay those qualities into a long and meaningful pro career. Is it possible that the Seahawks might provide him with the best vehicle to do so?

Eric Weddle, S, Utah
5'11, 203, 4.52

NFL Comparison: Lofa Tatupu minus 20-30 pounds/Brian Russell, now with the Cleveland Browns.

Overview: The best player from Utah since Alex Smith was selected #1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, the only positions Weddle hasn't played are on the offensive and defensive line. Played cornerback extensively, including in 2005 Emerald Bowl where he held Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson (a top-5 selection in the draft) to 2 catches for 19 yards. His NFL prospects, however, rest in the safety position where he has good versatility and incredible instincts.

Note: Some view Weddle as a cornerback. I do not, and thus I am rating him as a safety.

Against the Pass: Weddle has good, if not elite, speed and the ability to follow the ball in the air. Like a certain linebacker on the Seahawks, Weddle has fantastic instincts and is always around the ball. His experience playing corner give him an edge over just about every safety in the draft in pass protection.

Against the Run: Has a knack for finding the ball carrier in trash. Takes good angles. Not big enough to fight off blocks. Not a typical in-the-box safety. Reliable tackler who does a good job bringing the runner down, but lacks the explosive hits that have built the reputation of many safeties.

Intangibles: This guy is the Tom Brady of safeties, where intangibles are concerned. A year after shutting down Calvin Johnson in the Emerald Bowl, Weddle made a game-clinching interception against Tulsa in Utah's 2006 bowl game. The interception came only moments after, as a running back, Weddle scored to give Utah the lead. Weddle's reputation is spotless and is less likely to end up in jail than even the 10-year-old ballboys for the Cincinatti Bengals.

Draft Projection: Currently projected by many to be drafted somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round of the NFL draft. Had a decent, but not spectacular, combine and will probably drop a little as the athletes gain momentum from their workouts.

Fit in Seattle: As a free safety, his more natural position in the NFL, he would fit in very well. Should Hamlin re-sign with Seattle, Weddle could play special teams (he has played gunner, punt returner (with success), holder, and has blocked a field goal) while providing excellent depth. His instincts and smarts also give him the ability to start from day one should there be an opening at safety. Weddle would bring the kind of play-maker that Seattle's defense could use, as the team has struggled to produce turnovers for several years.


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