RENTON – Sounds like the Seahawks got another big hitter for their secondary.
Of course, when you’re a safety named Mike Tyson there are going to be plenty of references to the power of punch you pack.
But let’s be clear: It’s a family name. His dad was named Michael. Same for his grandfather. His young son is named Michael, too.
Tyson is 6 feet 1, 204 pounds and the biggest project that Seattle drafted among its 11 draft picks this season. That’s because Tyson is switching positions after playing safety in college.
“Mike Tyson basically fits the profile we’ve been looking for since we’ve been here as a corner,” general manager John Schneider. “He’s a big, tough, aggressive guy based on what we’ve seen and has really good cover skills.”
Pete Carroll and John Schneider on safeties Tedric Thompson (fourth round) and Mike Tyson (sixth): pic.twitter.com/O68CbeE1zP
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) April 30, 2017
The upside: Schneider’s feel for cornerbacks has been incredible since he first began running Seattle’s draft in 2010. Richard Sherman is the biggest success as he blossomed from a fifth-round pick into an All-Pro, but he’s hardly alone. Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and Walter Thurmond were all cornerbacks drafted by Seattle who not only became starters at some point in Seattle, but all signed NFL deals after their rookie contracts ran out. The point is that Schneider’s track record is pretty good when it comes to finding cornerbacks. Of course, Tyson isn’t a cornerback. Or at least he wasn’t in college. Schneider was asked what traits made him think that Tyson would be a good cornerback. “His feet,” Schneider said. “His length. He’s got 32-and-a-half-inch arms. He’s almost 6-2. And he’s got really cool feet, and really good movement skills, feel for routes and then the ball skills. Being able to reach for the ball on contact.”
The risk: Tyson didn’t play cornerback in college. He covered some receivers when his team was in the nickel defense, but Seattle is making a projection that he can make the switch from playing safety to being on the outside. It was a projection that Seattle made with Eric Pinkins, who played safety at San Diego State. Seattle drafted him in the sixth round in 2014, and while he eventually played for the Seahawks, it was as a linebacker. In other words, the Seahawks aren’t perfect even when it comes to cornerbacks, but they know what they’re looking for at the position and are willing to try a guy there who didn’t play outside in college, whether it’s Delano Hill – the safety Seattle drafted in the third round out of Michigan – or Tyson. “These guys are all different,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They have their own style of athleticism. Their own makeup and after all of these years looking at it, we try to determine if the guy fits. It doesn’t always work out. We’re free to go ahead and move it around.”
Personal file: Tyson grew up in Virginia, but finished his high school career at Hargrave Military Academy, which was attended by a number of NFL players, including Ahmad Brooks, Brandon Albert and cornerback Brandon Flowers. Jarran Reed – Seattle’s second-round pick last year – and Justin Senior – the offensive lineman Seattle drafted in the sixth round this year – both went there.
Bigger picture: Tyson was the last of four defensive backs among the Seahawks’ 11 draft choices. Two were safeties. Two will be cornerbacks. That’s a result not of Seattle’s need at the position so much as the strength of this draft, according to Schneider.