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Post-draft depth chart: Defensive backs

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on June 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm with 47 Comments »
June 7, 2014 7:41 pm
Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman had a lot to celebrate last season. / AP photo
Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman had a lot to celebrate last season. / AP photo

Assuming Kam Chancellor is ready to go following offseason hip surgery, there are no starter questions here.

What’s happening behind those starters is of interest, however. Let’s get to it:

CB Byron Maxwell
FS Earl Thomas
SS Kam Chancellor
CB Richard Sherman
Overview: We know the status of the other three, contractually and otherwise, so let’s look at Maxwell. He moved from shy backup to an excellent corner by the end of the season who made four interceptions in the final five games. During the Seahawks’ first visit to New York last season, Maxwell had two interceptions as Seattle chewed up and spit out Eli Manning. Afterward, Maxwell was asked if he wanted to go on the postgame television show with Q13 Fox in Seattle. He didn’t really want to. That’s when Thomas began to push him. Eventually, after Thomas strongly encouraged him for a couple minutes, Maxwell acquiesced and made the TV appearance. Growth isn’t just restricted to the field, and it was a good example of what Thomas was trying to tell him: If you’re going to be part of this group, you need to be ready for the spotlight. That will continue this season. Like last year, Maxwell will be the first target in the secondary considering who his brethren are. It could result in a season that elevates the 26-year-old to the upper-tier of cornerbacks in the league. He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year after being just a $673,363 cap hit in 2014. He’ll have a chance this season to position himself for a lucrative future.

The next tier:
CB Tharold Simon
CB Jeremy Lane

SS Jeron Johnson
S/CB DeShawn Shead
CB/S Eric Pinkins
SS Dion Bailey

Overview: Pete Carroll recently compared Simon to Brandon Browner. Simon is 6-foot-3, an inch shorter than Browner, and 202 pounds; Browner is 221. Simon missed last season because of toe surgeries. He had each big toe surgically repaired. But, sounds like he is ready to go now. Lane appears the clear option at nickelback to replace Walter Thurmond. The Seahawks are still sorting out how Shead and Pinkins fit. You’ll recall the Seahawks saying when Pinkins was drafted that he will play corner. He’s played both during the limited OTA access for the media. Former USC safety Bailey has made some noise at OTAs after being brought in as an undrafted free agent. Johnson is Kam Chancellor’s backup.

On the outside looking in:
CB Phillip Adams
CB Akeem Auguste
CB Chandler Fenner
CB A.J. Jefferson
S Terrance Parks
Overview: Auguste was part of the practice squad last year. Adams spent the last two seasons as a backup for Oakland and was with the Seahawks in 2011.


Leave a comment Comments → 47
  1. vichawkfan says:

    Great segment Todd, thanks. Agree with Byron – can make millions with an encore. You can see the strategy unfolding …. Simon 2015 starting.

  2. Ray_Maines says:

    I’ve got a big fat stupid man crush on Eric Pinkins and think he’s the right corner of the future. Maxwell plays lights out this year and gets an offer he can’t refuse, then EP steps in and the LOB is set for years to come. Go ‘Hawks.

  3. Ray_Maines says:

    I’m really not totally sure I want the Superbowl in Seattle bad enough to make a serious bid. I’m kind of easy, but I’m not actually a whore.

  4. SandpointHawk says:

    Well, there are no whores allowed anyway Ray, that what the required clean zones are all about…

    Seriously can you imagine a bid document like that getting through the Seattle / King County approval process without causing an all out war? Inslee might have to call out the National Guard to control the rioting in the streets..

  5. jawpeace says:

    Does any one else see a MAJOR glaring hole on the roster? Look at all the players listed as FS. Hmmm not one FS??? Sorry but no punt returns for you MR. Thomas.

  6. jawpeace says:

    With Mad Max becoming an unrestricted free agent next season. Couldn’t the Hawks extend Max’s contract right now? I mean if they did it now I guarantee you could get him extended cheaper than you could by the end of the season. The only problem I bet Max and his agent know this too. But based on Max reserved personality not wanting the lime light of the press conference, he probably is not a BIG risk taker or a gambling man. This season he is only supposed to make $673,363. Give him a signing bonus, guaranteed money and around 5 mil a year. It would be very hard for him to reject that. The Hawks win getting a top corner for around five mil per year and Max wins getting guaranteed money before the season begins.

  7. The only problem with doing that is you are still taking a risk. Chances are Max will end up being pretty good, but he’s only started 5 total games in the NFL. I think they will do what they did with Tate, see if he can play at that level for a whole season and be consistent, and give him what they feel is a fair offer, take it or leave it. They must be comfortable taking the risk of losing him at the end of the season. The backup plan would be Simon, Shead and Pinkins, and they must feel pretty good about it or else they wouldn’t take that risk.

  8. Oldslow says:

    This is one unit that I have little anxiety about. Lose an all-star like Browner? No problem, the next man is Maxwell. who was not highly regarded, and he plays lights out. The legion can bring it, and they all buy in.

    Maybe we need a legion of block for the offensive line?

  9. seatowntp says:

    This is definitely an aside. . .

    Did anyone else see this on ESPN?

    “If poor vision was the main culprit behind Paul Richardson’s reported drop problems in his college days at Colorado, the rookie receiver should know soon.

    A surprise second-round selection by the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks last month, Richardson tweeted on Friday that he was headed to Beverly Hills for laser eye surgery.”

    Eye surgery certainly did wonders for Jermaine Kearse!

  10. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I’m really excited to see how Shead, Simon, Pinkins & Bailey develop moving forward.

    Who will be the next star or stars out of this group will be fun to follow.

    Or will the next star come from a totally unexpected player from the outside looking in group?

  11. I agree its unlikely, but I think that Maxwell is not guaranteed a starting spot and that Simon or Lane could challenge.

  12. confucious says:

    Maxwell was fantastic last year. A definite upgrade to browner (imho). I don’t know how Pete keeps pulling these gems out of his “magical corners top hat” but more power to him.
    And as an aside, if maxxy is havin a tough time surviving on better than half a million dollars this year, give me his address and I’ll send him a care package.

  13. Southendzone says:

    Seatown, I didn’t see it on ESPN, but PRich tweeted about it over the last couple days. He went to LA for the surgery and showed a pic of him wearing a big pair of sunglasses afterwards

  14. confucious says:

    To clarify, I don’t think we should sign anymore big corner contracts while our stable is so full. In fact, as good as Sherman has been, I don’t think it was wise to sign him to such a huge contract. Thomas is who that secondary operates around. He is the only big secondary contract I would have signed.

  15. Macabrevity says:

    If you watch Max play it’s clear he’s a stud out there and it’s not just the ‘Larry Brown’ factor; a guy getting picks because he’s sitting in the right place at the right time doing almost nothing in the middle of an otherwise studly defense… no, Max is everything any optimistic Hawk fan could hope for. He plays angry, attacks the ball like a rabid dog playing fetch, and doesn’t take kindly to getting burned. The guy is a stud AND a product of our system and there’s no way he gets beat out barring another broken leg.

  16. nickdoneysr says:

    fieldgulls had an article on paul richardsons lasik operation the other day. if you consider how well he played at 160 lbs and contact lenses, imagine how good this kid will be at a beefed up 190 and 20/20 vision and practicing against our secondary for a while… im blown away by how good paul richardson will be by year 3… wow.

  17. chkn_liddle says:

    Thank goodness confu is not the gm.

  18. As strong as our defensive backfield is, I do have a slight concern about our slot corner situation.
    We’re all assuming that Lane can fill in for Thurmond, but how confident should we be?
    And what about depth at slot?
    Who’s the next man in line after Lane?

  19. Southendzone says:

    BSO: If Phil Adams makes the team, I think he’s supposed to be a slot corner type of player.

  20. EzraMelech says:

    This blog is for these type discussions, so anyone is free to express their opinion. That being said, with all the success that our front office and coaching staff have achieved as well as what they’ve proved they can do with bringing out the best in players. It absolutely boggles my mind how anyone on here (especially ones with little real world experience managing anything) can second guess our front office.

    We are fans, and watch games and see a “certain amount” of play, but we don’t know these guys. We don’t see their work ethic, how they are in the locker room. We don’t see how much time they spend studying or working at their craft. We don’t know their eating habits, or (much of) their free time habits. But you know who does? OUR COACHING STAFF.

    So far be it from me, even the research nut that I am and the personnel specialist that I am. (Been in Management for 25years) to second guess our staff. ESPECIALLY with what they have proven to us fans. I don’t blindly accept anything from anyone. But if PC has faith in certain players, you know what until I see somewhere where he has just been plain flat out wrong (after working with someone for awhile) I’m going to accept his evaluations.


  21. CDHawkFan says:

    Maxwell is starting to press Unger as the most overrated Hawk.

    Is he good, yes, is he on his way to the Pro Bowl next year, probably not.

    I will keep him, but folks, he still has to put a solid year in before all this hype.

  22. Macabrevity says:

    BSOly – Thurmond wasn’t exactly the heart of our secondary. He was quality depth but that’s about it, Lane has shown me more to be honest. I think WTIII’s boast about being the best nickel corner in the game was made thinking we’d stay in a base (non-nickel) defense all season, because he ain’t better than Lane by a long shot imo.

  23. Macabrevity says:

    CDHawkFan – I wouldn’t call Maxwell overrated just because he doesn’t have a deep body of work, more like what he’s done so far just captures the imagination of fans :P

    My most overrated Hawk (after Unger) would have to be our OC. I’m all for keeping our chemistry and continuity and I’m not calling for anything like firing a guy who helped us win a SB, just not a fan, never have been. It could be worse though, at least Brian Schottenheimer remains with our NFCW rivals. That guy has ruined more QB’s than anyone in my memory.

  24. confucious says:

    Ezra, I am surprised at your ability to gauge other posters “real world experience” without knowing them. That must be a useful tool in your profession.
    Conflicting points of view are cause for discussion. With discussion often comes the best solution to problems.
    While I agree that PC/JS have done an outstanding job to this point, it in no way guarantees their performance in the future.

  25. chkn_liddle says:

    You don’t have to judge “real world experience”. When “blog world experience” speaks for itself. To state that you wouldn’t have signed RS, is simply silly. Why not? So you can save cap money to sign someone else? This is the football equivalent to grandma covering her sofa with plastic.

  26. EzraMelech says:

    Confucious, If I offended you I am truly sorry. It’s simple math however to “gauge” others real world experience. How many of us are football coaches/scouts/execs profession or otherwise. Not many! And if you factor in ones that would be posting on a blog like this one, that narrows the field even more.

    I do see re-looking at my post I “mistakenly” put (real world experience managing anything) when I meant to put managing a team. Again if I offended you that was not my intention. Thus, the reason I also stated at beginning of the post this forum is for this type of discussion.

    My point though “probably better stated here” was that I find it mind boggling that (many posters, though not all) come across like they know better then PC/JS and/or the coaching staff. To me (and again this is just me) it’s one thing to question something or ask a question or debate a topic. It’s quite another to act as if “you” know better than our coaches because you watch the games or study a little film.

    Some posters come across, in a way, that says “I could do a better job managing/coaching this team than the current people.”

    Last but certainly not least, although written communication is probably the worst form of communication there is, because many things can be misinterpreted by not seeing body language or hearing tone of voice. My experience as “you call it,” does tell me that you can learn an amazing amount of information by paying attention to what and how people post and write. Even on forums such as this.

    One last thing, there is also a reason I use my particular moniker at the end of my posts (My2centsWorth) as it reiterates that this is “just my opinion” nothing more nothing less.

  27. confucious says:

    Ezra,No offense taken whatsoever. I like the idea of promoting thoughtful discussion. The idea of silencing those of whom may have opinions but not the resume’ is a frightening one.
    I misunderstood your post. My apologies.

  28. confucious says:

    Chicken, the sofa thing is funny!
    My reasoning is if you have 5 cans of grandmas best chili in the pantry that you bought for .79 cents. Why would you pay $6.00 for another. Especially due to the fact you need a new kitchen table. (Offensive line).
    I have not seen a drop off in defensive performance with any corner installed on this current system. That is especially telling because any replacement corner is going to be tested fully versus throwing at RS.
    Though I think RS is a great player and a great person by all accounts. I think his performance is a product of the system, not the player.
    I know I’m on an island with this thought process. But it is what it is.

  29. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Carroll will be the first to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers & that’s partly why the FO is so successful (imo).

    The fact is there are times that posters have known better then what PC &/or other staff has, or at least disclosed to us fans.

    Not nearly enough though to make us anything more then just blogging GMs, so I think PC & JS can relax for a little while longer before Allen starts searching the blogs for replacements.

  30. EzraMelech says:

    Interesting argument Georgia…
    can you give me an example of time when a poster has known better then PC & staff regarding a player?

    your “disclosure” of (or at least disclosed to us fans) is telling. The nature of the business dictates that not “all things” will always be disclosed (to fans or otherwise)

    But i’m all ears/eyes on an example you might have…


  31. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Sure Ezra.

    Carpenter was drafted to be a starting RT & several bloggers here said he wasn’t cut out to be a RT & that he would make a better G.

    One year later they change him to G.

    That’s just one. There have been more.

  32. SRVHawk says:

    I agree, Ezra. This is a site for all kinds of opinions about the Hawks, but I think everyone would be well served to stay relatively humble and keep their knowledge of the game in perspective. Especially with this current staff.

    I’ll use Duke as an example. He probably knows as much about scheme as practically anyone on this site but will readily admit that it’s nothing next to the football knowledge of someone like PC.

    PC/JS are not always right, but the results have been. I don’t know how you can ask for more than turning a mess of a team into a SB champion in 4 years while still being one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. You would think they are complete idiots if you read some of the comments during the draft. From some people that should only run a draft when it refers to the cold one in their hand.

  33. SaigonSun says:

    I wonder what happened to that undrafted CB kid Thomas “Tre” Wolfe. After reading his story , I kind of hope he succeeds to become a Seahawk.

  34. EzraMelech says:

    You could be right, however established personnel, injuries as well as individual player strengths really factor into where a player is positioned in our system. I’m not an offensive line strategist or guru by an stretch, I’m more off a WR guy (Position I played as well as coached) other guys on the blog much are better at that then I am.

    That being said I always believe that having Giacomini as well as Carpenter’s injury (setting him back) played more a role in them moving him to guard then anything else… But as I said you could be right.

    I still believe the coaches will and do see anything well before most of us… but you never know ;)

    Thanks for the example


  35. Ray_Maines says:

    There are a couple of guys that sound like they are expressing God’s own views about all things football, but pretty much everyone writes with the implied understanding they are only expressing an opinion. As a group, we’re doing OK I think.

    Hey, can’t we get up a few dollars to buy YankinTa a used iPad or laptop? I miss the guy on weekend

    BTW: Holding the ALT key and typing 0162 on the right side Number keypad results in ” ¢ ” Just my 2¢

  36. jawpeace says:

    Clip board/beard Jesus. Is a prime example of the front office whiffing. I remember a lot of fans including myself were not pleased with the price we paid to get him.

    But with that said every front office is going to have mistakes along the way. Hind sight is 20/20. Every decision is going to have those in the opposition camp. And when they end up being rarely right- they toot their horn about it, not mentioning all the other times they were wrong. This current FO has done excellent with the later picks and coaching. Which covers up other errors made. Would I trade this current administration for any other in the league NO WAY!

    Opinions are like ass’s every-ones got one, and some are bigger than others, and some are just plain ass’s.

  37. EzraMelech says:

    LOL Thanks Ray_Maines. My Moniker is officially changed thanks to you… :) *Grin


    P.S. I’m on a mac so it’s option/alt 4 to get the Cents symbol. But I still like the change

  38. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I think it had more to do with Carpenters lack of conditioning & lateral movement.
    He’s a road grader for sure but I think his gears are suited better in drive going down hill.

    With Giacomini now gone & RT up for grabs I haven’t heard anything about them moving Carp back to RT & that’s with him being in the best condition as a Seahawk.

    Really though I respect your enthusiasm for the FO & the job they do because overall they do it the best in the NFL.

    I just don’t think because a fan has a disagreement about how a coach handles a player he is somehow against the coach or anti Seahawks.
    Not that I’m saying you do.

    BTW Ezra, what do you think of the Seahawks letting Harper go last year so they could keep a 6-5 receiver?

    I hear that Harper is doing very well in Green Bays OTAs.

    I just hope the Seahawks don’t fall for that elusive 6-5 receiver in camp this season at the expense of losing a rookie like Norwood who may take a season to develop like it appears Harper is doing.

  39. Ray_Maines says:

    PC&JS have such a complicated list of qualities they look for that lots of good athletes that don’t work out here are going to do well in other places (Harper in GB for example).

    Who knows, maybe Harper just didn’t buy into the program? Maybe he didn’t want to hustle his butt off every single second of every single practice? All that we can know is that after seeing him for a few weeks, the brain trust decided he wasn’t a Seattle kind of guy.

    I’m just making this up and don’t have any idea why he didn’t work out here. I’m only saying that “real” football is different than fantasy football and not everybody works in every system. And the ‘Hawks are defending SB champs.

  40. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Super Bowl champs!

    Thanks for the reminder.

  41. EzraMelech says:

    I can’t say I disagree’d with them letting Harper go. He had good size and “quickness” (more so then speed). I think where he lacked was finishing. He ran ok route tree’s but kind of quite at the end. Look at how often RW extends plays either when the designed play breaks down, or he’s just plain running for his life. Most of our receivers know to keep working to get free/open and/or work back towards the QB. Harper failed to do this (from film I saw). I don’t think he blocked all that well either.

    Because of our run first strategy, I think PC is looking for more Physical and well rounded receivers. (Although they might be changing and looking for more speed, based on who they picked up this year in the draft *shrug) In the end, I just get the feeling Harper didn’t compete hard enough. We all know that won’t fly in Seahawks camp. Thats my gut feel anyway….

    Thats just my opinion though, heck if I know what the coaching staff really thought. I don’t think he was let go “JUST” to keep a 6’5″ receiver. PC does like big bodies, but I think it was more complicated then that.


  42. EzraMelech says:

    Mind you I’ve seen “very little” from them as of yet except college tape and the couple OTA’s, that being said I will lay a substantial bet that both Norwood and Richardson make the team. I would also bet they both make an impact this season. Generally it’s pretty true it’s a 3yr process for receivers to fully make the jump, I’m just not convinced with these 2 it will take quite that long.

    My only real gripe so far is I wish they would give Richardson at least a “LOOK” at doing punt returns. This kid has it IMHO. His fluidity and acceleration would be hard to stop.

    Who knows maybe they are giving him a look and their just keeping it under wraps. I’ll wait and see.


  43. jawpeace says:

    Remember who beat out Harper for a roster spot last year? I do and it was Stephens Williams(I think). He was the deep ball guy all camp and preseason. “The owner of the deep ball.” Then when the regular season began he dropped two bombs and then was cut later. By that time Harper was already picked up by GB. So you can’t really blame the coaching staff for taking Stephen over Harper. As far as practice and preseason Stephens clearly out played the rookie who looked a little lost.

  44. GeorgiaHawk says:

    That’s my point, most rookies look a little lost their first year.

    Harper so far is looking good his second year.

    Remember Tate looking a little lost his first year?

  45. jawpeace says:

    Agree except I thought Tate looked more than a little lost his first year.

    I think coaches know that rookies typically will be behind their first year. So who do you keep a second or third year guy who looks like the light is coming on and does good in camp and preseason games or a rookie, who looks overwhelmed but has potential?

    I think our team being a win now team keeps the player who played better over the potential guy. If we were in rebuilding mode then you can lean toward the potential guy if you see him becoming better than the player that is ahead of him for now.

  46. Georgia–The difference is Tate competed HARD–he was just stupid and immature and blew his mental assignments in games. Harper was lackadaisical in practice because he was flat-out intimidated by the competition. He failed due to being mentally weak, not due to a lack of talent. Yes it stinks we never managed to sign him to the PS, but if Seattle had wanted him back badly enough, they could have overpaid for him and/or put him on the active roster and stole him back from GB. They didnt.

    I still think Stephens got a raw deal. Its really tough to get only a couple plays a game and succeed. You need to be allowed to struggle, and you need time to acclimate. Even Jerry Rice sucked half his rookie year. At one point, he had 10 drops in 11 games. Then he went out and dropped a bunch more the next game. After that, the light came on and he blew up the Rams and the rest is history…(PS, Rice STILL continued to drop more balls than anyone wants to admit all through his career, but no one talks about it because of all the plays he made).

    Harper and Stephens got caught in a numbers game, and Seattle moved on. Honestly, if Richardson can stop hurting his tiny shoulder every time he falls down, and Norwood is given a shot, I think both those guys will make us forget all about Tate and the soon-to-be-cut Rice.

  47. Harper lacked the mental makeup to compete with the talent we have. He flat wasnt ready for the NFL, certainly not the Seahawks WR Corps and the Legion of Boom! Even the WR-desperate Niners gave up on him and cut him.

    GB coddled him, and now with all the defections they had at WR, he will have a chance to make the grade, now that he’s had a year to get his feet under him.

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