Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s isn’t expecting his team to break up the Pro Bowl safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor by drafting a safety in the first round and moving Chancellor to outside linebacker.
“We usually try not to move Pro Bowl players to different positions,” quipped Schneider during an interview on 950-AM radio.
Of course, Schneider shouldn’t be interested in moving Chancellor to linebacker after how impressively he played in his first year as a starter.
However, Schneider’s sound reasoning does not rule out the possibility of Seattle selecting safety Alabama’s Mark Barron if he’s the best player on the Seahawks’ draft board when they select at No. 12 on Thursday.
But finding a regular place for Barron to play defensively could be an issue. According to Brian McIntyre of Football Outsiders, the Seahawks defensively were in nickel (five defensive backs) 36 percent of the time, and played 5-plus defensive backs on only 40 percent of the snaps in 2011, so it would be hard to get all three safeties on the field for a majority of the team’s defensive snaps in 2012 if they stayed with a similar scheme.
A more likely scenario for the Seahawks if they are not interested in selecting Barron is they could receive interest from teams looking to move up to select him. Dallas, which has the No. 14 overall pick, is considered a likely landing spot for the Alabama safety unless another team trades up to pick before the Cowboys.
Teams that need an impact defensive back like San Diego, Tennessee, Philadelphia and New England – might be willing to give the Seahawks the draft capital that Seattle would want in order to move down to the second half of the first round.
While the Seahawks might not take a defensive back early, look for them to select a safety and a cornerback later in the draft.
Rob Rang, senior draft analyst withCBSSports.com and NFLDraftScout.com, reviews players the Seattle Seahawks might select in each round of this year’s NFL draft.
First round, 12th pick: Stephon Gilmore, 6-1, 190, South Carolina
Rob’s rationale: An athletic cover corner with the size and physicality to be successful in Seattle’s press scheme, Gilmore’s stock is on the rise as the draft approaches.
Second round, 43rd pick: Alfonzo Dennard, 5-10, 204, Nebraska
Rob’s rationale: Struggled through injury-plagued season after a terrific junior campaign; viewed by some as a natural nickel back. Arrested over the weekend for assaulting a police officer.
Third round, 75th pick: Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 204, Montana
Rob’s rationale: A dominant performer with the Grizzlies, the only thing that might push Johnson out of the draft’s top two rounds is concern about his off-field decisions.
Fourth round, 106th pick: Brandon Hardin, 6-3, 217, Oregon State
Rob’s rationale: A standout at cornerback in 2010, Hardin missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury. With the size to potentially convert to safety, Hardin is nonetheless highly regarded.
Sixth pick, 181st pick: Sean Richardson, 6-3, 216, Vanderbilt
Rob’s rationale: Possessing an elite combination of size and athleticism, Richardson is intriguing – though frankly he wasn’t the player on the field that his measureables would indicate.
Seventh round, 225th pick: Donnie Fletcher, 6-1, 199, Boston College
Rob’s rationale: Physical and having proven more athletic during his Pro Day than scouts anticipated, Fletcher makes the most sense for clubs using a press scheme – like Seattle.