Senior Bowl: Seahawks Talk To Another DB

As practices came to a close and the preparations for Saturday's Senior Bowl wrapped up, the Seahawks, along with most other NFL teams, were still doing their due diligence in the area of player personnel. Seahawks.NET had confirmed five player visits/interviews with Seattle this week, and the sixth is a cerebral defensive back with a well-rounded skillset.

Scout.com's Ed Thompson has confirmed that the Seahawks have displayed specific interest in Texas safety Marcus Griffin. The 5'11", 198-pound DB was the next in line after twin brother Michael, who rounded out Texas' formerly elite secondary along with Aaron Ross and Michael Huff.

While Michael was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft (19th overall) and had replaced Calvin Lowry at free safety in Jeff Fisher's stellar defense by late October, Marcus' abilities will take a bit more time to transfer to the NFL level.

Seahawks.NET Draft editor Scott Eklund, who compares Marcus to Cleveland's Mike Adams, had this to say: "When your brother is Michael Griffin, it’s a tough shadow to come out from under. While the elder Griffin was one of the top athletes in the country last year, Marcus isn’t in the same league and isn’t he same player his older brother. Marcus has decent speed, but he doesn’t cover as much ground as teams ask their free safeties to do in the NFL. He’s a good hitter, a solid tackler and he’s got good instincts, but his ceiling is a tad lower because of his size and his lack of true closing speed.

Safety Marcus Griffin #26 of the Texas Longhorns runs after catching an inteception against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 1st half of the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl on December 27, 2007 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

"If you want a football player who can make plays on defense and be a solid backup safety, Griffin is your man. Asking him to start right away though could be tough on him. Griffin is an early second day selection at this point."

What Marcus does bring to the table, and what may have piqued the Seahawks' interest, is a cerebral approach, as well as the ability to shed blocks and make tackles. He's probably going to project as a strong safety in the NFL. When team president Tim Ruskell revamped Seattle's secondary before the 2007 with the signings of SS Deon Grant and FS Brian Russell, he was trading the raw athleticism of Ken Hamlin and Michael Boulware for players a better sense of the opponent and more acumen in the backfield.

It worked like a charm, as Grant led all safeties in Stop Rate against the run and the Seahawks' pass defense shot up from 23rd in pass defense DVOA in 2006 to 14th in 2007. Seattle allowed the NFL's fewest passing touchdowns in the regular season with 15, and only the San Diego Chargers caused a lower opponent passer rating than Seattle's 73.0.

Clearly, having your head in the game is where it's at for Seattle's defenses under Tim Ruskell, and we've seen intelligence and determination win out over obvious measurables in this defense of late. Lofa Tatupu, anyone?

Griffin amassed 229 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his 48-game career with the Aggies. He recorded eight 10-tackle games during his career, including the five in 2007 when he led his team in tackles with 97.

"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl," Griffin told the Huntsville Times in late December. "There have been so many great players that have used the Senior Bowl as a launching point for great pro careers.

"Texas has had a few defensive backs play in the game over the past couple of years, including my brother, Michael, and they told me about what a great experience it was and how much fun they had being there. In fact, Michael still keeps in touch with a bunch of the guys he got to know there."

"I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of the other great players from around the country and getting to know them on a personal level," Griffin continued. "I'll also get a chance to compare myself athletically to those guys and see where I stand heading into the draft. It should be a great experience."

At this point, Griffin is seen by most as a md-round pick. Next month's Scouting Combine will be a very important test.


Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.


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