Seahawks Show Interest in Second-Day DB

With the team's coaching situation resolved for at least one more season, the Seahawks' front office could focus its full attention on the action at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, where Wednesday's Senior Bowl practices showed renewed intensity. Our sources have learned that Seattle's scouting staff displayed particular interest in one defensive back.

Scout.com's Adam Caplan reports that Seattle's personnel staff was seen visiting with Auburn cornerback Patrick Lee. A player interview could be forthcoming. The 6-0, 194-pound Lee certainly fits the Ruskell profile to a T - he's a decently-sized, super-quick SEC athlete with a squeaky clean past and demonstrated work ethic. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in criminology. He finished his college career with a bang, picking off four passes in a five-game span late in the Tigers' 2007 season after posting only one interception in his first 41 games. In 2007, he amassed 51 total tackles, 36 solos, and a forced fumble. He also averaged 21.8 yards on kickoff returns.

Patrick Lee #20 of the Auburn University Tigers breaks up a pass intended for Aaron Kelly #80 of the Clemson Univeristy Tigers during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on December 31, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn defeated Clemson 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

During Wednesday's one-on-ones, Lee showed both his great potential (when he extended his reach over a falling receiver to grab an interception) and the reasons that many see him as an early second-day pick (another one-on-one where he showed speed in his backpedal, but had difficulty closing a hip turn in time and engaged in hand-checking that would have gotten him flagged for illegal contact at the NFL level).

Mark Murphy, the Publisher of AUTigers.com, generously provided us with some background information. "Patrick Lee is an athletic player who steadily improved during his five seasons at Auburn," Murphy said. "After signing with the Tigers out of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami in 2003, he redshirted that fall. He played in 12 games in 2004, seeing action as a reserve and special teams performer.

"Lee made significant progress going into his sophomore season and started five games that year, but didn't get his first college interception until his junior year in which he started five times. After being named the Most Improved DB/LB in spring training prior to the 2007 season, he stepped into a full-time starter role and played well, starting every game and earning second team All-SEC honors.

"Lee is a much more physical and confident cornerback than when he arrived in college. He has above average speed and was used at times as a kickoff returner. He is a player his coaches trusted in man coverage and is a solidly built defensive back that should be able to handle the physical rigors of the NFL. He is also a player who can continue to improve in the coming years."

Seahawks.NET Draft Editor Scott Eklund specified that some improvement will be needed before Lee is ready to hit the field in the NFL even in nickel situations. "I'd compare him to Cleveland's Eric Wright," Eklund remarked. "I like Lee’s speed and athleticism, but he’s a bit stiff and he uses his hands a little too much for my liking. One thing that sticks out for Lee is the fact he’s played against some of the top receivers in the country, getting significant playing time over the past three seasons.

"Lee is at his best mirroring receivers and making plays when the ball is in the air, but he can be too aggressive at times biting on moves and with his lack of fluid hips he’s probably going to struggle if he makes a mistake at the next level. Lee looks like a second day selection at this point, but teams can tend to overrate speed when it comes to corners, and he has plenty of that."

Speed is certainly not a problem -- Lee has run at least one 4.32-40. He'll have a chance to show his stuff this week and certainly at the Combine in a month, as scouts continue to analyze what the 23-year-old Lee can do and how he might develop over time. His special teams experience will certainly hold him in good stead.

For now, we can safely add his name to those who are on Seattle's radar.


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