Seahawks Insider

First look at the draft: Cornerbacks

Post by Eric Williams on Feb. 7, 2011 at 8:01 am with 28 Comments »
February 7, 2011 8:01 am

Two interceptions.

That’s how many picks Seattle’s starting corners Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings had combined this season. Only Miami (Shaun Smith and Vontae Davis had one each) and Oakland’s (Stanford Routt had two and Nnamdi Asomugha none) starting corners shared the same numbers.

The Dolphins had the No. 8-ranked pass defense in the league, while the Raiders had the No. 2-ranked pass defense in the league – basically no one throws to Asomugha’s side.

Seattle’s pass defense ranked No. 27 in the league.

Part of the reason for that anemic stat is the Seahawks’ switch in scheme from a Cover-2 shell to more of a press-man scheme, which means the defensive back spends more time reading and reacting to the receiver instead of reading the quarterback’s eyes.

And at times, the Seahawks again struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback, leaving the corners covering for longer stretches in the defensive backfield.

Still, the Seahawks need more playmaking from their corners, which is one of the reasons they could look to draft a cornerback with the team’s No. 25 overall pick.

Kelly Jennings is a free agent this season. And Marcus Trufant struggled through back issues for a second straight season, which affected his performance. The Seahawks gave up 31 passing touchdowns this season, tied for third-worst in the league.

The Seahawks likely will ask Walter Thurmond to step up and take on more of a significant role in the secondary next season.

Miami’s Brandon Harris, Colorado’s Jimmy Smith and Aaron Williams of Texas all have the size, speed and coverage ability as possibilities for Seattle to select in the first round.

Brandon Harris, Miami

Rang: “In terms of pure coverage ability, I like him the most out of the three. I think that he’s essentially a rock-solid, first-round pick. I’d be surprised honestly if he’s available at No. 25. But at the same time he really struggled with bigger receivers. … His athletic ability and his quickness in coverage I think is going to virtually guarantee him being drafted in the first round. I do have some concerns about him in Seattle’s scheme, and as well as the fact that with Seattle, some of the receivers they are going up against are some of the bigger, stronger guys.”

Jimmy Smith, Colorado

Rang: “Jimmy Smith is a heck of a football player. There are some character concerns. He’s had his brushes with the coaching staff at Colorado. But in terms of size, athletic ability and toughness against the run, he’s a legitimate 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and comes up and plays the run. So he’s a good football player.”

Aaron Williams, Texas

“He’s a good football player. He’s a young guy. Obviously, he’d have a great deal of rapport already established with Earl Thomas, which is attractive in itself there. Really athletic. He’s just starting to try and develop, and so I think if you draft him, he’s the least prepared of the three we’ve mentioned. But he’s a good football player, and a year or two down the road, he could wind up being the best of the bunch.”

NFL Draft
Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. Dukeshire says:

    I’ll be interested in see how Harris measures at the combine. He looks a little smaller on TV than his listed 5’11”. I really like Aaron Williams too. Big hitter for a corner (5 FF) and can slide inside and play nickel, so there’s versatility there.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them go corner at 25.

  2. edstang45 says:

    without a number 2 pick this year is gonna hurt, Trufant is playing like a guy ready for retirement, and jennings just plain sucks, Maybe better line play makes them inmprove on the back end, but really I think our secondary is subpar. Knowing that I think our improvement will come from FA, hopefully we can snag some help this year otherwise next year will be a struggle in the passing defense again.

  3. edstang45 says:

    When you start looking at our draft pick possibilities it really opens your eyes to the fact we have big holes all over the feild, My wish is to improve the gaurd positions, and the d-line, we need dominate play there, which could make everyone a bit better. we have younger players evrywhere but we play old!!!!! LB are going backwards each year, Secondary is a mess, arrrrrhg!!!!
    we nedd Schneider to step up and work a miracle this april!!

  4. pabuwal says:

    I don’t know much about college CBs, but I know both starting Seahawks CBs need to go. They give up way too many big plays, TDs and come up with nothing on their own.

    But then again, I’m not sure if the Leo scheme is flawed when you start 1 good pass rusher and then 3 other guys who are good run stuffers and contribute 0 pass rush.

  5. Audible says:


    You mean 3rd rounder. We still have a 1st, and 2nd.

  6. Audible says:

    Looks like we traded Julian Peterson at just the right time:

  7. Is there any possibility that Eric Thomas could play cornerback for us? He would be our best, no doubt. With less overall field responsibility, his incredible instincts would take over and shutdown another team’s best receiver.

    Oh, and by the way, I can’t resist saying this:

    “Poor Pittsburgh! If you would have had the same officiating that you had five years ago against Seattle, you would have won this game!”

  8. Dukeshire says:

    I can’t see anyway they move Thomas to corner. His potential at FS and what they can do with him there is just too great. Although, he certainly could.

  9. If we don’t go O-line with the #25 pick, I want Jimmy Smith (assuming he is still there). Smith is perfect for what Carroll wants in a corner back, and from what I’ve seen, I simply loves how he plays on the field, although he doesn’t make that many interceptions, but that is not always the way to determine how well corner backs play.

  10. Sarcasticus says:

    Thomas could hold his own at cornerback. I doubt they move him off of fs. No sense him having to learn a new position when he is still getting acclimated at the pro level to the one he has.

    Without adequate pressure on the quarterback, it doesn’t really matter who are the cornerbacks. No one can cover for the length of time some of the opposition quarterbacks had to sit in the pocket.

    At the beginning of the year, the Seahawks did a great job of stuffing the run on 1st and 2nd downs and forcing the teams to pass. Unfortunately, they were still able to pass because there was no pressure and IMO the Seahawks do not have any press corners. Jennings can’t press two slices of bread together to make a sandwich, nevermind a receiver at the line of scrimmage.

    Does anyone have a link or know of a site where defenses are broken down by base alignments? I swear it seemed like the Seahawks played zone a lot.

    If the Seahawks take a cb, it won’t be until very late in the draft. I see them going OL first and possibly second (though my guess is Ponder if still available).

  11. What would P.Peterson or Prince Amuk have to do to drop to #25 between now and the draft? Run a 5 flat in the combine?

    Is Aaron Curry a shorter JuPe in coverage? JuPe got pressure on the QB when he was here, maybe pick him up off waivers to train-up Curry’s pass rush? If players get cut before March 3, can we sign them to a contract under the old CBA?

  12. IBGoofy says:

    After game days, it continues to reoccur….. we all see the pass defensive scheme’s allow opponents to crush us over the middle, most especially early in our games…. I can’t help but wonder how long Trufant can get by the injuries and remain elite, even marginally so….. Jennings is better than “we” give him credit for, but he’s not and never will be in the ‘elite’ category…
    Our game schemes don’t seem to be matching up as well as it should, I believe Rang clarifies this….
    We sure need help in this area pretty soon, but the needs at OL & DL are significantly greater….
    Outside of the QB position, can you imagine anyone with more of an impact to our team, and our season, than an OL or DL person that made it to next yr’s All-Pro game? We’d have mjr impact if something like that happened….
    A cornerback won’t do it….

  13. IBGoofy says:

    Duke: “I can’t see anyway they move Thomas to corner.”

    Totally agree, most especially with us in a rebuilding mode…..

  14. Hawks have 3 FA CBs, UFA 5th yr starting RCB K.Jennings (KJ), backup RCB K.Cox and ERFA 3rd yr backup Roy Lewis (26, 5-10/190). Both KJ & RL played 14 reg season games in ’10, while KC played 11. KJ is fast enough and has skills to stay with WRs but concern has been expressed that he doesn’t have enough bulk for a press-corner, which was supposed to be part of Hawks “WCD” last season and a continuing part of Hawks “aggressive” defense moving forward, and that he isn’t tall and physical enough to outfight taller WRs (NFCW especially) for the ball.

    FA RCBs (’10 Stats)
    SEA UFA’s
    K.J (28, 5-11/180) G 14, Tkl 40, Solo 35, Asst 5, PD 13, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 1, Yds 0, TD 0
    K.Cox (26, 6-0/191) G 11, Tkl 10, Solo 6, Asst 4, PD 2, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 0, Yds 0, TD 0

    Other Teams
    NYJ’s A.Cromartie (27, 6-2/210) G 15, Tkl 42, Solo 41, Asst 1, PD 17, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 3, Yds 75, TD 0
    OAK’s S.Routt (28, 6-1/195) G 16, Tkl 55, Solo 49, Asst 6, PD 13, Sack 0.0, FF 1, Int 2, Yds 22, TD 1
    KC’s T.Daniels (28, 6-1/195) G 16, Tkl 8, Solo 6, Asst 2, PD 3, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 1, Yds 4, TD 0
    BUF’s D.Florence (30, 6-0/195) G 16, Tkl 58, Solo 49, Asst 9, PD 15, Sack 0.0, FF 1, Int 3, Yds 42, TD 1
    JAX’s D.Jones (25, 6-0/195) G 16, Tkl 33, Solo 31, Asst 2, PD 3, Sack 0.0, FF 1, Int 1, Yds 0, TD 0
    GB’s T.Williams (27, 5-11/191) G 16, Tkl 57, Solo 50, Asst 7, PD 4, Sack 1.0, FF 1, Int 6, Yds 87, TD 0
    CAR’s R.Marshall (26, 5-11/189) G 16, Tkl 88, Solo 74, Asst 14, PD 7, Sack 1.0, FF 1, Int 3, Yds 91, TD 0
    BAL’s F.Washington (28, 5-11/175) G 14, Tkl 31, Solo 29, Asst 2, PD 8, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 0, Yds 0, TD 0
    DC’s D.Hall (27, 5-10/200) G 16, Tkl 95, Solo 65, Asst 30, PD 16, Sack 0.0, FF 2, Int 6, Yds 92, TD 1
    PHI’s D.Patterson (27, 5-10/200) G 16, Tkl 52, Solo 50, Asst 2, PD 11, Sack 1.0, FF 0, Int 4, Yds 40, TD 1
    TB’s R.Barber (36, 5-10/184) G 16, Tkl 81, Solo 65, Asst 16, PD 13, Sack 1.0, FF 0, Int 3, Yds 98, TD 0
    BAL’s J.Wilson (26, 5-9/192) G 14, Tkl 40, Solo 37, Asst 3, PD 14, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 3, Yds 12, TD 1

    KC’s RFA B.Carr (25, 6-0/207) G 16, Tkl 57, Solo 46, Asst 11, PD 25, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 1, Yds 0, TD 0
    ATL’s RFA B.Grimes (28, 5-10/181) G 16, Tkl 87, Solo 76, Asst 11, PD 23, Sack 0.0, FF 0, Int 5, Yds 84, TD 0

  15. bird_spit says:

    Give the hawks a young , stout, Tubbs type DT in the draft, Heater at MLB or young knees for Lofa and I’ll bet our CBs look better. That said, we need a replacement for Jennings, who I suspect will be gone or “demoted” to a dime package player.

    After that, give us best player on Coach Cables board, cause we have plenty of holes in that OL. We need players that can be backups to Red and Mebane as well, besides quality backup type players for the OL.

    Any way you slice it, we need smart, fast, strong 290 – 310lb players.

    And strong, fast and tall corners.. 6’5″, 190lb corner that can also shed the block of a RB when rushing the passer..

  16. Dukeshire says:

    I think people give Jennings too much credit, sometimes. His failings aren’t necessarly schematic. That is, it’s not just man coverage he struggles with, it’s zone too. The common belief is that he’s good in coverage but has poor ball-skills. I disagree with that. I think he’s poor in coverage as well. Corner is as desperate a need IMO, as there is on this team.

  17. Give the the best player left on the board who will contribute and play hard – I am happy. We have too many holes to pigeon hole what we need.

    The only project I would be willing to see would be a QB.

  18. Sarcasticus says:

    Trufant is not an elite cornerback now nor was he ever. Dave Brown was elite. Shawn Springs in ’99 was elite.

    Trufant has had one, maybe two, good seasons. Other than that, he is truly average. Kelly Jennings is below average.

    Don’t get me wrong, average is acceptable, though not preferable. Most of the teams in the NFL have average cornerbacks (even if that average is nearly superhuman to me and you). There are very few that are elite.

  19. Mr_Snrub says:

    Russ Lande of GM Jr. has Smith ranked ahead of both Peterson and the guy from Nebraska who got abused by the Blackmon kid of Oklahoma St. His upcoming sub-4.4 at the combine is going to make a lot of teams ignore those character concerns.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    Sarcasticus – I agree 100%. Trufant, from mid-way through the ’06 season thru the ’07, played at a higher level. Aside from that, I would agree he’s been just average and has perhaps slipped recently from that level, since the back injury.

  21. yellaman says:

    The seahawks have so many holes to cover so I don’t know if cornerback is a priority in the first round. But if you can get asomugha from oakland and possible draft another corner that would basically set up our secondary for the next 3-4 years. We would have thurmond & asomugha as starting CB with thomas and chancellor at safeties to go with our drafted CB playing the 3rd CB. Then we really need to work on our OL & DL to become an elite team again. We need a RT and guards ( Unger starts @ Center) and we need another DT ( Red Bryants position) & DE (Clemons spot) If the team can fill these spots during this off season we can win another NFC west title and be in better shape to play against teams like the packers. We need better secondary play and defensive line pressure to compete against the packers.

  22. yellaman says:

    The packers are the new mold of offenses the seahawks will have to compete with next year and our defense needs to improve in the secondary and defensive line play if we want to beat a team like the packers. The packers should’ve had well over 400 yard throwing against the steeler if not for a lot of dropped balls by average WRs ( J Nelson & J. Jones) the steelers great defense was no match for rodgers pin point accuracy. The seahawks will have to improve the teams secondary and defensive line to compete with this type of offense. Tha means possibly taking a 1st rd conerback and being agressive in free agency for asomugha ( pay him revis money) and find some big uglies on the defensive & offensive line and watch this team improve drastically from the last 3 yrs to an elite team.

    Go Hawks!!!

  23. Dukeshire says:

    yellaman – When you say “fill these spots” in reference to Red and Clemons, do you mean upgrades? Depth behind them? (Red plays DE, now.) Because they are both under contract and while an end that can get to the QB without the benefit of a blitz has to be a priority, one might argue a healthy d line is the strongest unit on the team (Clem, Mebane, Cole, Red), for good or ill. Only curious what you meant…

  24. Dukeshire says:

    Within 16 minutes yellaman says;

    “The seahawks have so many holes to cover so I don’t know if cornerback is a priority in the first round.”


    “…Tha means possibly taking a 1st rd conerback…”

    Whoa… what happened there? lol.

  25. Carlsonkid says:

    I don’t see them going with a CB in the first round , though I do agree it’s a real area of concern ; Trufant is a lot like Hasselbeck , a once proud warrior now worn down with injuries . And for gawd’s sakes can we PLEASE be done with Roaming Gnome ( Jennings ) and any other ‘mighty-midget’ corner they may be thinking of ! If what Rang says is true about Harris out of Miami – no thanks …

    QB or offensive line should be the priority in the first round , depending on how the draft falls and who’s available . This team has GOT to find it’s QB of the future , and that sure ain’t Matt or Charlie . And as anyone who just got through watching the Superbowl can see , line play determines winners and losers . Green Bay consistently gave Rogers time to throw and picked up blitzes all day against a very good Pittsburgh defense . That’s how you win football games , in the trenches . The Seahawks O-line has been a mess quite frankly ever since Hutch was lost and then fell apart completely when Walter got hurt .

    O-line is top priority in my mind , with QB right behind . Corner is a need , definitely , but not with the first round pick please . Trufant for another year with Thurmond as the other starter works for now .

  26. yellaman says:


    I mean we need to fill so many holes that is the 1st rd pick a good round to take a corner? I’m ok with it I just don’t know if conrnerback is the 1pick of the draft but if the right guy is there then the hawks should take him. As far as red and clemons, we need depth at those positions so I would like to see competition at those spots. now They might be the best option at those positions but we need to look at upgrades at all positions. Take red for a minute, he just tore his knee up how do we know if he will be ready come next year? I like red but this team lacks depth at all positions and will only get better with frontline and backup level talent upgrades. Clemons is a good player but there wer games last year where he disappeared so if an option to upgrade is out there why not take it IMO

  27. edstang45 says:

    sounds like we all agree our corners need a upgrade, bigger faster please no under 6 fters ok

    Thanks audible for your correction I feel a bit better as I was thinking we did not have a 2nd rounder.

  28. Dukeshire says:

    yellaman – Yeah, it would be nice to have multiple 1st again this year. And I do agree about adding depth / talent in the d line. I think that’s why it’s important to be flexible with your short list of priorities / players at a given draft spot. Thanks for the clarification.

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