Seahawks Insider

A closer look at Mark LeGree

Post by Eric Williams on July 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm with 30 Comments »
July 18, 2011 12:11 pm
Seattle Seahawks safety Mark LeGree. (AP file photo)

One of the rookies I’m looking forward to watching once training camp begins is Seattle Seahawks fifth round selection Mark LeGree.

The Appalachian State product was drafted 156th overall by Seattle, and could compete for a starting safety spot with Kam Chancellor, if the Seahawks do not bring back veteran Lawyer Milloy.

Take a quick glance at LeGree’s college stats, and you understand that he has some serious playmaking ability. He finished with a school-record 22 interceptions and also forced two fumbles during his time at Appalachian State. But watching his highlight tape, LeGree also looks like a sure tackler in the open field who plays sound fundamental football.

What LeGree, 22, would do for Seattle is play center field in passing situations, freeing up Earl Thomas to make plays closer to the line of scrimmage.

If you’re looking for a comparison, think about what Ryan Clark does for Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh, serving as a safety valve for the talented USC product to play instinctive football, and I think you get an idea of what LeGree could do in Seattle.

LeGree’s combine numbers back up the fact that he’s a pretty good athlete. At 6-foot, 210 pounds, he ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, repped 225 pounds 21 times in the bench press, posted a mark of 31 inches in the vertical jump and went 9 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump – all top 10 marks among his position group.

And despite the fact he played at a FCS division level program, Seahawks general manager John Schneider thinks that’s a competitive brand of football, and LeGree is talented enough to have an impact in the league.

“We love that this guy’s a playmaker,” Schneider said about LeGree after the draft. “Very few guys have intercepted 20-something balls in their college career, so we know he’s an interceptor. Like when we took Earl last year, we wanted a guy that made plays. Well, this guy’s made a bunch of them.

“Hopefully, that will translate and give us a guy who can play on the deep end, and that will allow us to move Earl some more.”

A competitive edge: One thing that drew Seattle to LeGree was his competitive nature, which really shows up on his highlight package.

“He’s able to play strong safety and free safety,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, when asked if LeGree will get an opportunity to compete for a starting job. “We really need to get him on the field to find that out. Right now, it’s just a matter of just learning the system and getting him going. Eventually, I think he’ll be able to play nickel free safety, and it helps him to learn the free safety spot first.”

“I’m a competitor, an instinctive player,” said LeGree when asked to describe his game. “I can play the single high safety, and I can pick off the deep ball.”

Working during the lockout: Like all rookies, LeGree hasn’t had an opportunity to sign a contract because of the lockout. But during an interview with FieldGulls, LeGree said that he was working for a general contractor during the lockout for some extra cash until the season started.

“I worked for him last summer,” Legree said. “I don’t really have any construction skills (laughing), it’s more like a favor they’re doing for me, but I just mostly do easy stuff like cleaning and organizing. They don’t want me to get hurt.”

2011 expectations: LeGree will get a chance to earn some playing time this season, likely competing with Chancellor for a starting safety job opposite Earl Thomas. I also expect LeGree to develop into a core special teams player for Seattle with his combination of size, speed and tackling ability.

Check out highlights of LeGree in the video below.

Schneider talks about LeGree in this rookie spotlight video link.

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Leave a comment Comments → 30
  1. All I got to say is that I hope we can play SOON!

  2. Dukeshire says:

    I’m with Eric, can’t wait to see this kid play. His potential gets this defense so much closer to what Carroll wants; two safeties, free and strong that can each rotate to a single deep / cover 1 while the other, generally FS slides down into the slot. Last year with Milloy and his now limited range, they had to play so much more cover 2 than I believe we’ll see moving forward, at least in Base.

    Legree and Chancellor ought to be one of the most competitive camp battles on the team.

    “I can’t wait!” Bart Scott

  3. So, any predictions as to what is going to be the biggest surprise move (good or bad) by Carroll and Co during free agency?! Maybe some sort of Curry move? Albert Haynesworth (I hope not)?

  4. chuck_easton says:

    Audible,

    Great question. I can only say two things for sure:

    1) Carroll is itching to do something
    2) At least one move is going to come out of ‘left field’.

    We wait until the weekend. IF the agreement is signed on Thursday teams have the weekend to sign their own FA’s (and I assume work out trades). The real fun starts next week when the FA Frenzy starts full speed.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    Can you imagine how much energy he’ll have during the first few days? Goodness, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Carroll’s going to be beyond “… so frickin’ jacked up!”.

  6. If we end up with Jackson and CW as our QB’s I will end up being glad I sold some of my tickets this year. Could be a really, REALLY long season.

  7. williambryan says:

    I think Legree is the rookie I’m most excited to see this year. I think he’s going to be great.
    Left field predictions? I predict (hope) the team will not resign Hasselbeck, and instead will sign Vince Young.

  8. chuck_easton says:

    williambryan,

    Signing Vince Young does not fall under ‘coming from left field’. That comes under the heading of coming from another galaxy.

    You are probably one of the very few that would welcome that. I don’t want that headcase anywhere near Seattle. He has enough issues with suicide without thowing a Seattle winter into the mix.

  9. I still say they will sign Matt to two yrs.I hope they go after Mebane.
    On Haynesworth wasn’t it that he didn’t want to play ina 3-4 ?If we play the 4-3 then shouldn’t he be happy?Then we see the old Haynesworth.
    It wouldn.t bother me too much if they traded Curry.The kid from BC the one that
    had cancer in the leg.That kid is know thing but Guts, will to play,a hell of a football player.

  10. williambryan says:

    We don’t really play the 4-3 though, that’s why Mebane is looking for teams that play the 4-3 (Chicago, Denver, etc.).

    Obviously Vince Young isn’t perfect, BUT he is a proven winner in the NFL (Fact) he is capable of putting a team on his back and willing it to wins with both his arm and legs. He is a leader on the field (maybe not so much in the locker room) And for all the people worried about his baggage, he has never been in real trouble and his falling out in Tennessee, is more to do with a broken relationship, over the handling of an injury, with the coach who has had a history of breaking relationships (Locking steve Mcnair out of the facility, really?) I think VY would be great for the team, and I feel like Carroll does too. He’s young and he has proven he can be a franchise QB where as Kolb and other possibilities (Jackson, Lienart, Palmer) have not. He also should be relatively cheap compared to Kolb or Palmer. Again, I doubt this will happen, but I would like it to.

  11. Dukeshire says:

    williambryan – Do you mean Haynesworth? Regardless, Seattle absolutely plays a 4-3 and in it, Mebane (if that is who you meant) is in an ideal position (3-tech on the under side) to be incredibly disruptive. He’s nearly guaranteed to get one-on-ones vs. guards in their Base set, on a consistent basis. Aside from surrounding talent, what more could an interior lineman ask?

    Farnsworth has a very cool write-up on Easley, for those interested.

    http://www.seahawks.com/news/articles/article-1/A-reign-of-pain/b85e87b1-9fac-4836-b686-391ca5d66282

  12. Soggybuc says:

    HAHA, maybe PC will bring in Both Leinert and VY. that would be something to see. Williambryan does make some good points on how he would be fairly cheap and if he can keep his head on straight could be a helluva pick up for someone.
    I dont think the Hawks are going to be too heavy a player in FA market and will instead focus on getting a bunch of UDFA for a camp look. most likely a bunch of guys on D line to push the second tier vets for a spot.

  13. IF VY was a “Franchise” QB he wouldn’t go anywhere and he has as many so so seasons as he has had great seasons. But I would VERY much take him over Jackson or trading a ton of picks for someone like Kolb

    We have to have Mebane on this team – please, please, please

  14. Dukeshire says:

    Soggy – Leinart, VY and pick up Bush after NO cuts him (or next year when he’s a FA). Get the band back together (Rose Bowl speaking…).

  15. Speaking of UDFA I am still hoping they will sign Linnenkohl from Oregon State (center) I think a battle between UO and OSU at Center would be great.

    The other interesting thing would be that he was the long snapper for OSU as well.

  16. Duke,

    Speaking of getting “the band back together,” I had been wondering lately what it may be like to take a flyer on Leinart and possibly bringing in Carson Palmer if we could. Didn’t BMW through a TD pass to Leinart while they were at USC? If we had both QBs, maybe Palmer could play for a while, then turn it over to Leinart again.

    You may have told me in the past, but if Palmer does end up having to retire to get the hell out of that three-ring circus known as “The Bengals,” is there a certain timeframe he’d have to be off the books before being allowed to come back to another team?

  17. chuck_easton says:

    If Palmer “retires” he sits out the whole season. If he ‘unretires’ his contract is still owned by the Bengals so he’d have to go back there next season.

    In other words it’s retire, play for Cincy, or try to get them to trade him. He has three years left on his Cincy contract.

  18. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Duke, thanks for the Farnsworth article on Easley (not sure how I missed that one!)…my all-time favorite Seahawk, followed by Chad Brown. And Largent. And Jacob Green. And Tez.

  19. freedom_X says:

    I’d agree that Milloy’s limitations in coverage were at times very, very apparent. IT put extra pressure on the CB’s.

    But I don’t think LeGree is a particularly physical player, at least not yet. So Seattle’s going to lose something there. This may work well if the young Thomas keeps getting bigger and stronger, so he can take (and dish out) the punishment on a regular basis. But Chancellor, physically, is more in the mold of a run-stopping safety.

    How is Red Bryant’s rehab coming along? Is there any chance he’s back 100%, or is he fated to be the next Marcus Tubbs?

  20. Dukeshire says:

    I would agree that Chancellor’s size gives him an advantage against the run. But being a bruiser isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for SS in this defense. LeGree is a sound tackler, from what I’ve seen, but it’s his versatility in coverage that more closely fits to what Carroll has typically wanted out of that position. It will be a he’ll of a competition there.

  21. Soggybuc says:

    While Legree does seem to have good tackling skills i would wonder how that will fair against backs like Gore or Jackson. in DII he didnt face anything close to power and strength he will see out of those guys.
    Probably going to see the SS as two headed monster, Cam in short yardage and obvious running downs and the handy man on passing downs.

    getting really excited to see what kinda of packages Pete can put together in dime and bandits. gonna be cool to see all these talented young guys flying around and making plays in the back end.

  22. I think SEA’s bandit package might be pretty good this season.

  23. Dukeshire says:

    I think that’s fair. LeGree has a steep learning curve in many regards.

  24. williambryan says:

    Duke, concerning Mebane, Seattle plays the 4-3 under as there base defense so although it is a 4-3, it’s not quite the same thing as what Chicago, NO, Denver, etc., run. I agree on the points you listed. Mebane is in perfect position to be disruptive but just hasn’t posted the sacks since John Marshall has been gone. I got the impression that Mebane is/was blaming his lack of numbers on both scheme and neighboring defensive lineman not being Rocky Bernard. Implying that he wants to go play for a team that runs the same base 4-3 cover 2 system as when he started his career here. Just to be clear, even though he hasn’t got the sacks recently, I am aware of how disruptive he still is and how valuable he is to the team and I definitely want him back.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    williambryan – Agreed. Seattle under Carroll doesn’t run the same type 4-3 as Chi, NO or Denver now run. But remember, Mebane was NT when he recorded those 5.5 sacks not a 3-tech. In addition, Marshall is not a Cover-2 guy. If you remember, when they had Grant and Russell they played a lot of cover 1 with Russell (sadly) as single high safety. Not a cover-2 shell. Moreover, Marshall blitzed a ton and the sack totals reflect that (as do the big plays they gave up). Perhaps Mebane benefitted from all those blitzes by being singled up on the center and being able to simply overpower him. Regardless, he’s at worst a solid interior lineman with flashes of dominance and Seattle would be wise to re-sign him, IMO.

    I do share you feeling that ‘Bane was defending his lack of statistical success on not having another dominant interior defender (subsequently hampered further by Cole’s foot in a boot after his surgery last week. Leaving Seattle’s d line in thorough disarray) next to him. But I didn’t get the impression scheme had anything to do with it.

  26. williambryan says:

    You’re right about Marshall, and as I was typing that i was thinking, now he is in Oakland where he is mainly running press man coverage schemes… I was thinking about Ray Rhodes with the cover 2 scheme. lol to the Russell comment.

  27. “And despite the fact he played at a FCS division level program, Seahawks general manager John Schneider thinks that’s a competitive brand of football, and LeGree is talented enough to have an impact in the league.”

    My fingers are crossed for LeGree. God knows we need another Safety. But I don’t see how anyone can be so confident of a guy who never even had to compete against BCS-level talent, much less NFL-level talent. We’ll see. I’m hopeful, but the idea that “LeGree could compete for a starting spot” seems a bit farfetched. At first, he’s going to be blown away by the speed and techniques of NFL WRs. Let’s at least watch him compete in a scrimmage or two before we start saying the guy is an NFL starter.

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