Seahawks Insider

A closer look at Byron Maxwell

Post by Eric Williams on July 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm with 10 Comments »
July 11, 2011 2:17 pm
Seattle Seahawk cornerback Byron Maxwell makes a big hit against Wake Forest's Brandon Pendergrass while at Clemson. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Clemson product Byron Maxwell, a sixth round selection picked 173rd overall by the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s draft, is exactly the type of player teams take a late flyer on – a raw talent with great physical tools.

There’s no denying that Maxwell has the physical ability to play in the NFL. At 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, he bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times, ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and broad jumped 10 feet, 4 inches, all marks that placed him among the top 10 corners at February’s NFL Scouting Combine.

Maxwell, 21, is a hard hitter and was a valuable special teams player at Clemson, finishing with 45 career special teams tackles.

But what Maxwell will have to prove is that he has fluid enough hip movement and route anticipation to remain a corner for Seattle, where he will receive some intense competition for a spot on the final roster with players who already have some experience in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system like Walter Thurmond, Roy Lewis, Kennard Cox, Marcus Brown and Josh Pinkard.

If he cannot win a spot on the outside, then Maxwell could be looking at a move to strong safety in head coach Pete Carroll’s defensive system, with his safeties oftentimes playing close to line of scrimmage as fill guys in the run game.

“Byron is a big stud corner that makes hits and tackles and plays very well at the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said about Maxwell shortly after the draft. The Seattle head coach sees the Clemson product as a fit in his system because of his ability to be effective in press coverage and play tough at the line of scrimmage.

Bringing the pain: The first thing that you notice when watching Maxwell in his highlight package is this guy can hit. Appropriately, Maxwell wears No. 36, the same number another big hitter on Seattle wears – Lawyer Milloy.

Maxwell caused six fumbles during his career at Clemson, and finished with 11.5 tackles for loss, a sack, four interceptions and 20 pass breakups. So Seattle liked his ability to make game-changing plays and get the ball loose.

“Just being physical, that’s my best attribute,” said Maxwell when asked what he does well. “I can bring it.”

Learning on the run: One of the negatives for Maxwell is that he only has eight career starts at cornerback during his four-year career at Clemson, so he doesn’t have as much experience as you would like. But he certainly has the upside with his size and athletic ability.

Maxwell considers himself a corner, but would be willing to make the switch to safety if the Seattle coaches decide that’s what is best for the team.

“I just want to play football,” he said. “If that was the case (moving to safety) when I get there, then that would be something I have to deal with.”

2011 expectations:
With no off-season workouts and ability to connect with coaches during the offseason, Maxwell will have an uphill battle earning a spot on the 53-man roster over more experienced players, and may be destined for the practice squad.

However, his ability to play special teams could help his cause, along with his knack for making big plays.

Check out some highlights of Maxwell in the video below.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider talks about Maxwell in this video link.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Dukeshire says:

    This is a player that really intrigues me. And I absolutely agree that they’ll give him snaps at SS if he struggles to adjust to corner at the NFL level. As I see it, his biggest obstacle isn’t whether he has the anticipation but rather technique. He’s terribly raw as Eric points out and with his athleticism, it will be technique that earns him a spot; can he stay in phase, not open too early, maintain leverage at the jam, etc… And trust it once he understands it.

    On the surface, he’d seem to be a PS candidate but he’s so athletic they’d be taking a risk losing him. Although, that can be said about nearly all their picks. The stark difference between Carroll / Schneider and Ruskell is that the former much prefer athleticism over skill that the latter gravitated toward. There are some electric young players, albeit unpolished, going to be wearing Seahawk uniforms this summer (and into the future…).

  2. Can’t wait to him in Axe-tion!

    Sounds like our practice squad would be a safe spot to stash this guy because he is so raw…seems unlikely teams would want such an inexperienced player on their active rosters.

  3. Soggybuc says:

    He could make his mark on the roster at ST too. I’d look for them to try and keep these yunguns on the team. at some point you have to start stocking the young guys up and let them get their game polished.

  4. Maxwell is supposed to fill Babs role. Coach Carroll played a lot of defense with more than 4 DB’s last year, and I expect more of it this year. Remember he cut Babs at final roster cuts last year, only to resign him later.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    Of course they play nickel, dime and bandit, but he still had to prove he can understand the principles and nuance of each and play at a high level to earn a roster spot. All while navigating a crowded secondary.

    And if by “Babs role” you are referring to the ability to cover slot and the back-end as safety, his responsibilities become even more complex. That’s a lot to ask of any rookie. IMO, Carroll is going to define the young players’ roles first and expand on them over time. He has a tremendous celling, but it will take time. He will be very fun to watch, that’s for sure.

  6. KCthehawk says:

    I can’t help but think he’ll be monster in the bandit package.

  7. KCthehawk says:

    The way he tackles and goes after the ball is going to have other teams qtr. backs a little scared to throw towards him. This kid is stronge and he is not very nice to ball carriers. special teams or not, I hope he makes the 53.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    No question he plays angry. It’s fun to watch. Got to make it work for you though. Can’t be Ken Hamlin back there; blown’ people up and blown’ assignments.

  9. williambryan says:

    Although Hamlin blew his share of assignments, every safety does. The question is do they make enough positive impact? I thought Hamlin was fine for us although looking back he was probably overrated. But again, blown assignments will happen to EVERYONE. Even Ed Reed and Polamalu blow assignments. Thats my problem with Babs lately. he hasnt had as much of a positive impact (Big plays) as he used to. I definitely think he is gone with so many young guys ready to hopefully impact the game I think Legree will get the majority of Babs snaps this year and thats exciting!

  10. Dukeshire says:

    Of course everyone makes mistakes, that wasn’t intended to be my point. But it’s not often that Ed Reed sacrifices technique and fundamentals for an attempt at a highlight reel hit. And certainly not in the way or with the frequency that Hamlin did. (And I’m not here to pick on Hamlin, mind you) I’m just noting that having a reputation for being a big hitter has to be something that works into your overall game. Offenses don’t avoid targeting “big hitters” that can’t cover, they attack them. Guys like Reed and Polamalu use that rep to their advantage.

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