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Clayton: Seahawks’ top remaining needs heading into the draft

With a 6-foot-3, 198-pound frame and 33-inch arms, Ahkello Witherspoon fits Seattle's cornerback profile. (AP)

The offseason program opened with the Legion of Boom on assignment, but not with the Seahawks.

Richard Sherman didn’t show up, but it’s not any indication that he’s being traded. That has always been unlikely. Kam Chancellor is missing the early portion and Earl Thomas continues to feverishly work on his recovery from a broken leg.

It’s pretty clear that Seattle’s emphasis in next week’s draft will be on the secondary. Although the Seahawks have corners who can double as safeties, they only have three true safeties on their roster. Two of them aren’t there for the start of the first phase of the offseason program.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the positions the Seahawks might emphasize in the draft.


It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Seahawks end up drafting two corners. A lot of the Seahawks’ success is finding corners in the later rounds that they can groom into eventual starters. That isn’t going to be easy. More teams are copying Seattle’s formula of getting long, angular corners. San Francisco, New Orleans, the Chargers, Jacksonville, Atlanta and others want the same type of corners as the Seahawks.

Though the numbers can vary a little, the Seahawks like to take corners who have 32-inch arms and 77-inch wing spans. That would make the following players candidates for Seattle in the first couple rounds: Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Kevin King of Washington, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, Ahkello Witherspoon of Colorado, Gareon Conley of Ohio State and Teez Tabor of Florida.

If Humphrey falls to No. 26, it would be hard for the Seahawks to pass on him. If some of the others are still available there, the Seahawks might be tempted to trade down and grab one in the second round.

Brock Huard on the best CB fits for the Seahawks in the draft


This is one of the better drafts for safeties in a long time. You have hitters. You have guys with range and speed.

The Seahawks obviously feel good about their three safeties: Thomas, Chancellor and free-agent pickup Bradley McDougald. This might be the year they look for an eventual starter.

Even though he played linebacker at Michigan last year, Jabrill Peppers would be a perfect first-round safety to develop. He’s more of a strong safety because of his hard hitting ability. He has the range to move around like Troy Polamalu did for the Steelers. Pete Carroll would find ways to make it work for Peppers.

Budda Baker of Washington would have to be a consideration in the second round. Justin Evans of Texas, Eddie Jackson of Alabama and Josh Jones of North Carolina State would also be second-day considerations. The most intriguing name is Obi Melifonwu of Connecticut. He’s 6-3 7/8 and ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, the fastest time among safeties.

Defensive end

The Seahawks like quick pass-rushers with good explosion. Those with 1.7-second times in the first 10 yards of the 40 fit well. They also will be looking for a defensive tackle to provide some pass-rush.

Some potential early-round names to remember: Tyus Bowser of Houston, Taco Charlton of Michigan, Takkarist McKinley of UCLA, Charles Harris of Missouri and Tim Williams of Alabama.

More Seahawks draft coverage

Offensive line

The Seahawks don’t have to draft an offensive lineman, but if one falls to them in the first round, it would be a consideration.

The most interesting name is tackle Ryan Ramczyk of Wisconsin. Garett Bolles of Utah is a nasty tackle with incredible athletic ability. He ran a 4.95 40 at the combine and enhanced his stock. Cam Robinson of Alabama is a tackle that many people think will go to the Seahawks in the first round, but he isn’t very explosive and might project better as a guard.


If the Seahawks are going to bring in a quarterback to compete against Trevone Boykin for the backup job, it’s probably going to be someone in the draft.

With three picks in the third round, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they use one of them on Cal’s Davis Webb if he falls that far.

Joshua Dobbs of Tennessee could be a name to watch if he falls into the middle rounds. Brad Kaaya of Miami comes from a pro-set offense and could also be a middle-round consideration.

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

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