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John Clayton

Clayton: With a deep secondary class, Seahawks could add some Huskies in NFL Draft

The Seahawks could have a shot to take UW safety Budda Baker in the first two rounds of the draft. (AP)

The Seahawks picked the perfect year to be in need of defensive back help in the draft.

Coming back from the scouting combine in Indianapolis, I’m still shaking my head after seeing how good this class of defensive backs looked. The corners are long and angular, and I can’t remember a draft that ever seemed to be this deep at safety.

It’s the perfect situation for a Seahawks team that needs to reload in the secondary. The Legion of Boom is still in place, but Seattle needs to replenish depth, and this seems to be the perfect year.

As you know, the Seahawks didn’t offer a restricted tender for cornerback DeShawn Shead, who is coming off an ACL surgery. That doesn’t mean they won’t give him a contract. With Shead not expected back until November or later, they didn’t want to play him $1.797 million when they can offer him a deal for much less later.

Clayton: Five things we learned about the Seahawks at the combine

With Shead out of the picture, the Seahawks have Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and Perrish Cox as their main corners. So being in need at the position, Pete Carroll and John Schneider had to be thrilled at what they saw at the combine, where the average corner was 5 feet, 11 5/8 inches and weighed 195.8 pounds.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this draft class is how likely the Seahawks could get defensive back help from the University of Washington.

Sidney Jones is considered a true first-round pick, though it’s not certain if he will be available when the Seahawks take their first pick at No. 26. Jones is 6-foot, 186 pounds, and ran a 4.48 in the 40. More important, he looks so much like former Husky corner Marcus Peters, who went to the Chiefs in the first round and ended up the 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

If Jones ends up in Seattle, he would instantly become a core group starter for its defense.

Another Husky cornerback was an exciting prospect for Carroll and Schneider: Kevin King, who was perhaps one of the stars at the combine. He’s ideal for what the Seahawks are looking for. He’s 6-3, 200 pounds and faster than Jones, having ran the 40 in 4.44. King is projected as a second- to third-round pick, and clearly the Seahawks will have a chance to consider him.

It’s also not out of the question that the Seahawks could get some safety help from UW. Budda Baker, who has already established a friendship with Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas, and he could be a late-first- or second-round candidate for the Seahawks. Baker isn’t tall – he’s 5 feet, 9 5/8 inches and weighs 195 pounds – but he’s an incredible athlete who can make plays. Some compare him to Tyrann Mathieu of the Cardinals, who is 5-9 and 174 pounds and the second highest paid safety in football at $12.5 million a year.

Another safety who caught the eyes of the Seahawks was Obi Melifonwu of Connecticut. He’s 6 feet, 3 7/8 inches, 224 pounds, and runs a 40 in 4.4 seconds. He’s a strong safety whose body compares to Kam Chancellor.

Since Carroll and Schneider have been running the Seahawks, they haven’t had to take a corner high in the draft. Instead, they’ve developed them by having a great eye for potential and great coaching. You have to figure the defensive backs in the early rounds will appeal to them, though, and it would be interesting if they go local with UW solutions as the future of their secondary.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

About the Author

John Clayton

John Clayton is hosting a new weekday show from 10 to noon and writing columns for 710Sports.com as part of his expanded role at 710 ESPN Seattle. Clayton also hosts his own Saturday morning show and appears each weekday on "Brock and Salk" as well as "Danny, Dave and Moore." Nicknamed "The Professor" for his wealth of football knowledge, Clayton has been covering the NFL for more than four decades, starting as a high-schooler in 1972 for the Daily Press in St. Marys, Pa. He joined The Pittsburgh Press in 1976, moved to The News Tribune in 1986 and joined ESPN full time in 1998 as a senior NFL writer and commentator. In 2007, Clayton was inducted into the writers' wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @ClaytonESPN

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