Could the Seahawks use cornerback depth as trading chip?
The Seahawks’ depth at cornerback is huge. And not just with multiple young, talented players, but physically imposing athletes hungry for a job.
Of the 12 cornerbacks on Seattle’s 90-man roster, only Marcus Burley (5-foot-11) is listed as shorter than 6-feet tall. Six of those names are at least 6 foot 2. These are the types of lanky bodies that head coach Pete Carroll craves on defense, but are also the type of players in vogue for similarly-run defensive schemes around the league.
While trading excesses at a position in baseball is a common practice, it’s sometimes a tougher sell in the NFL. But ESPN’s John Clayton told “Brock and Salk” Tuesday that teams like Jacksonville and Atlanta, which run the same defensive system, could come calling if either runs into injuries.
“Injuries are going to happen,” Clayton said. “… What you’re looking at is how guys fit in a system. For example, it’s not going to be a Cover-2 team coming over and asking for cornerbacks from Seattle. But a Cover-1 team, a good man-to-man team, they might be willing to do it.”
The Seahawks started the 2015 season with 10 defensive backs, six of which were corners. After Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, Deshawn Shead and likely Tharold Simon, most everybody on 2016 roster will be fighting for playing time and/or a spot. That includes talented players such as Tye Smith and Stanley Jean-Baptiste, as well as returning veteran Brandon Browner, who is expected to play more of a hybrid defensive back role.
Beyond depth, Clayton said that the talented group provides Seattle with extreme versatility that they’ve never utilized before.
“What they have done for so many years is put three guys out there and let them play man and Cover 3, Cover 1,” he said. “Now I think there will be more mixing and matching. When they go into the two cornerback set, Jeremy Lane will be on the outside. Simon, if he can stay healthy, can be the outside guy and let Jeremy Lane move inside. I just think you have so many different combinations and there’s probably going to be two or three guys who don’t make the team at cornerback that are going to be in the league some place.”
Even if Seattle finds a trade partner for an ancillary piece in their defensive backfield, Clayton says the return wouldn’t be terribly high.
“What you’re talking about is probably going to be a sixth- or seventh-round pick,” Clayton said. “But those things can become valuable.”