Seahawks 2010 Draft Preview: Defensive Backs
In the Fold: Marcus Trufant, Josh Wilson, Kelly Jennings, Jordan Babineaux, Jamar Adams, Roy Lewis, DeAngelo Willingham, Kennard Cox
Draft need: 5 (scale of 1-5)
The eight Seahawks defensive backs signed to its current roster at the moment is among the lowest total of any of the 32 teams in the National Football League. Compounding the lack of depth are questions about the health of Trufant, and the starting ability of Wilson and Jennings, who enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Seattle really only has one natural safety—Jamar Adams—on the roster, and he has played just two defensive snaps in his two seasons in the NFL. Safety is becoming a premium position in the league, so addressing the position early, and perhaps often, is very possible in a draft that has three legitimate first-round safeties, and between 8-10 safeties who could reasonably be selected in the first 100 picks of the draft.
The cream of the crop is Eric Berry (Tennessee), an Ed Reed-type of play-making safety who is expected to hear his name called within the first hour of the draft. Right behind Berry is Texas safety Earl Thomas, who declared for the draft after his red-shirt sophomore season. Thomas doesn't have the same physical attributes Berry brings to the table, but he's just as good a play-maker and provided leadership in the Longhorns secondary from the moment he stepped on campus in Austin.
Because of the USC/Seattle connections, many mock drafts have the Seahawks choosing Taylor Mays with the 14th pick. While Mays would bring a physical dimension to the position that Carroll prefers, Mays is the third-best safety in this draft, well behind Berry and Thomas, and with such a pivotal draft, Carroll and GM John Schneider are unlikely to let nativism or the head coach's familiarity with a player determine their draft board. Suggesting so is insulting to the Seahawks' front office.
Mid-to-late round safeties to keep an eye on include Darrell Stuckey (Kansas), Reshad Jones (Georgia), Myron Lewis (Vanderbilt), Robert Johnson (Utah), and Cody Grimm (Virginia Tech).
If Berry, Thomas, and defensive end Derrick Morgan are off the board at 14, the Seahawks could address the cornerback position. Florida's Joe Haden running a hundredth of a second slower than projected could apparently cost the draft's best cornerback millions of dollars, while providing some lucky team with a stud corner at a bargain rate. Boise State's Kyle Wilson may lack size (5-10, 194), but he did one fewer rep on the 225-pound bench press than Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga.
Should Seattle trade back from the 14th spot, Devin McCourty (Rutgers), Patrick Robinson (Florida State), and Kareem Jackson (Alabama) should be available in the later stages of the first-round. The Seahawks visited with South Florida cornerback Jerome Murphy, and he and his 38" vertical jump should be available in the late part of the second round. With Tim Ruskell no longer calling the shot, it's refreshing to know that Akwasi Ansah-Owusu is an option, and the small-school phenom should be available in round two, or round three should the ‘Hawks land a pick in that round.
Late-round prospects of intrigue include A.J. Jefferson (Fresno State, 6-0, 193 pounds, 4.42 speed and a 44" vert.) and David Pender (Purdue, 6-0, 180 pound, 4.37 speed and 39" vert.), while former Niagara University point guard Tyrone Lewis, who has been mentored by former NFL cornerback Troy Vincent, has also interested the Seahawks enough to where they've contacted him during the draft process.
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.
Seahawks 2010 Draft Preview: DBs
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