Seahawks Insider

TNT 2011 draft preview: DBs to consider

Post by Eric Williams on April 23, 2011 at 7:46 am with 16 Comments »
April 23, 2011 7:47 am
Colorado defensive back Jimmy Smith runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Smith is a top prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

We kick off our 2011 draft coverage today with a look at defensive backs the Seattle Seahawks could consider selecting in this year’s draft. My story today focuses on Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, who could be available when the Seahawks select at No. 25.

Smith is considered one of the best cover corners in the draft, blessed with rare speed at 6-2, 210 pounds. But off-the-field issues have Smith’s stock dropping, including reports of a failed drug test in 2007 and two arrests for possession of alcohol as a minor while at Colorado.

The Seahawks certainly could use the help in the back end of their defense. Seattle finished 27th overall in pass defense last year, giving up 249.6 yards a game during the regular season. The Seahawks also allowed 31 touchdowns through the air, tied for third-worst in the league.

A lack of a consistent pass rush contributed to Seattle’s struggles defending the pass. The Seahawks finished with a respectable 37 sacks in 2010, good enough for 13th overall. However, 16 of those sacks came with a four-man rush, as Seattle regularly had to blitz to create pressure up front. That put more pressure on the secondary to cover for longer stretches.

But ultimately, Seattle’s starting corners struggled to consistently make plays. Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant finished with a combined two interceptions. Only the starting corners for Miami (Shaun Smith and Vontae Davis had one each) and Oakland (Stanford Routt had two and Asomugha none) shared the same numbers.
But the Dolphins had the No. 8-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and the Raiders were No. 2 – basically no one threw to Asomugha’s side.

Jennings, a first-round pick for Seattle in 2006, is a free agent this year and might not be back. Trufant, the No. 11 overall pick in 2003, turns 31 on Christmas, is due to make $5.9 million in base salary this season, and might be asked to restructure his contract.

Along with Trufant and Jennings, other defensive backs drafted in the first round included safety Earl Thomas at No. 14 in 2010, cornerback Shawn Springs No. 3 overall in 1997, cornerback Terry Taylor No. 22 overall in 1984, safety Kenny Easily No. 4 overall in 1981 and safety Keith Simpson No. 9 overall in 1978.

The Seahawks also drafted Josh Wilson in the second round in 2007 (55th overall), safety Michael Boulware in the second round in 2004 (53rd overall), safety Ken Hamlin in the second round in 2003 (42nd overall), cornerback Ken Lucas in the second round in 2001 (40th overall), cornerback Ike Charlton in the second round in 2000 (52nd overall), cornerback Fred Thomas in the second round in 1996 (47th overall), cornerback Carlton Gray in the second round in 1993 (30th overall) and safety Robert Blackman in the second round in 1990 (34th overall)

Once again this year, Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for, is gracious enough to help us break down this year’s draft with a position-by-position analysis. Here’s a closer look at the defensive backs that could be a good fit for Seattle this year.

First round, 25th pick: Jimmy Smith, 6-2, 211, Colorado

Rob’s rationale: Possesses the physical skills to be a top 15 pick, but off-field concerns could cause him to slip on draft day. Prototypical press corner with rare size, speed.

Second round, 57th pick: Chimdi Chekwa, 6-0, 191, Ohio State
Rob’s rationale: Might have been a first-round selection if not for a broken wrist suffered in the Sugar Bowl. Effective in press and zone coverage.
Combine workout

Fourth round, 99th pick: Jalil Brown, 6-1, 204, Colorado
Rob’s rationale: Not as talented as Buffaloes teammate Smith, but is a steady, physical player who can help on defense and special teams.

Fifth round, 156th and 157th picks: Chris L. Rucker, 6-1, 195, Michigan State

Rob’s rationale: Long press corner whom some project as safety in the NFL. Durability and character concerns could push him into the fifth round, though some see him as a Top 100 talent.

Sixth round, 173th pick: Shilo Keo, 5-11, 219, Idaho

Rob’s rationale: Physical strong safety with a knack for being around the ball. An Everett native.
Combine workout

Seventh round, 209th and 242th picks: Darrin Walls, 6-0, 190, Notre Dame
Rob’s rationale: Athletic defensive back didn’t play up to his talent level until late in his career, but he might have the upside to warrant a late-round gamble.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. Instead of being Debbie Downer, I will admit that it would be nice to have a couple of starting CBs with the size of Thurmond/Smith. The Thurmond we’re going to get in ’11 is also going to be playing on two legs to go along with an entire year of NFL experience. I’m looking forward to it.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    A soild secondary would relieve so much pressure from the entire defense. That doesn’t discount the necessity for a soild pass-rush, but coverage here has to be addressed in ernest, sooner than later, IMO.

  3. We have about 4-6 positions that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. And we’ve only got 3 picks in the first 4 rounds to do it in. Time for the Duke Boy to work some magic.

  4. Soggybuc says:

    Smith would be a great addition and would be a day one starter on the right side. while we already have some good talent this guy is elite talent and thats hard to pass up.
    It irritates me abit with all these “off-field” concerns. do we really expect these kids to be saints? is it not part of being young screwing up and hopefully learning from your mistakes. do we really expect them to spend every friday and saturday night for 4 years sitting in the library reading Tennison and Shakespear?

  5. Palerydr says:

    Don’t brush off “off field concerns” too lightly A guy with a drug problem who gains access to enough money to feed that habit for years is definitely a concern. A guy who gets busted for drinking too much as a college freshman might have the same problem. Smith however has remained out of the trouble spotlight since that time. Is he a risk you bet as just about any other pick can be labeled a risk. I guess it is subjective as to how much risk you want to take.

  6. Exactly Bobby, we have so many positions of need that the BPA at #25 has a great chance of filling one of them, whether that is going to be Carimi, Pouncey, Jimmy Smith or we might even go Defensive Tackle and pick up a guy like Marvin Austin (which I would love, because, well, I’m a Homer).

  7. Wonder how healthy Tru is gonna be for the coming season, assuming. . .

  8. Dukeshire says:

    He was seemingly healthy last season. I fear Tru’s best days are behind him.

    Summing the last 3 yrs (since ’08), SEA’s pass D is better than JAX’s, but no other team’s. SEA ranks 31st based on “Completions/Aimed Passes, Yards/Completions, Touchdowns/Completions, and Interceptions/Attempts” stats. These stats are aimed at the DBs. Not so good.

    Another article discusses K.Jenning’s tackling ability as actually being statistically good on a percentage basis, at 21.5 tackle attempts per missed tackle. KJ had 38 solo tackles and 3 assists and missed 2 tackles. N.Asomugha had 18 solo tkls and 1 assist but missed 5 tackles for 4.8 tackle attempts per missed tackle. Thought it was interesting.

  10. When i hear drug use i think Weed. the truth is if a guy like Smith was wrapped up into something like Meth, Coke or Oxycontin he would have de-railed his life and college career long before the draft was ever insight.

    As for the alcohol issues we never hear about the context of what happened. was it getting into trouble at a Frat keg party with 150 other students? or was he showing up to a 9AM class stumbling drunk?

    They are not just imperfect human’s like the rest of us. they are also kids exploring the greater world in general free from parental constraints. recipe for disaster if I ever saw one. I just find it hypocritical for someone like me 25 years beyond said age group to be so damned judgmental as if we all didnt have our share of screw ups back in the day.

  11. With Jennings tackling ability,their may be an option to move him to Strong Safety.

  12. Soggybuc says:

    And with Colin Cole’s ability to re-direct a receiver we should move him to RCB.

  13. Florida CB Janoris Jenkins just smoked his life away!

  14. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    To be honest the only DB I am really enamored with is The Fresh Prince of Amukamara. But he will be long gone by our pick.

  15. No, CC shouldn’t be moved to CB and KJ shouldn’t be moved to SS, there are other skills besides tackling that a CB (and SS) needs (and other skills besides press on the LOS that a CB needs). But your remarks are very well taken, and adroit. The first thing I always remember about KJ is getting beat over the top vs AZ’s Fitz and then not being able to bring him down after the catch. I think that soured alotta people on KJ and maybe made him the CB to challenge by opposing QBs. KJ does usually make the tackle, that’s the surprise, but like most smaller guys he grabs and drags to get his opponent down. Maybe it’s more of a sure tackle than trying to slobberknocker WRs (and more often missing), but he can be dragged for 3+ yds making the tackle. Can’t have that near the goalline.

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