Heaps: Why it’s critical that Seahawks find role for DB Marquise Blair
The Seahawks’ defense turned a corner at the end of 2020 after a rough first half of the season, and in 2021 that group could be one of the league’s best given the amount of talent on that side of the ball.
And something that helps that group is that a very talented young player will be healthy and back in action in 2021. That player is 2019 second-round defensive back Marquise Blair.
A safety in college, Blair played that position a bit as a rookie but mostly appeared on special teams. After the Seahawks traded for Quandre Diggs at the trade deadline in 2019 and acquired Jamal Adams last offseason, both safety positions were filled by Pro Bowlers, so Blair was moved to nickel cornerback, where he won the starting job after a stellar minicamp.
Unfortunately for Blair, his second NFL season didn’t last long as he tore his ACL in Seattle’s Week 2 win over the New England Patriots. With Blair out, fellow 2019 draft pick Ugo Amadi took over at nickel and played well.
Now with Blair coming back from injury, it’s unclear what his role is. Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps believes that finding Blair a defined and prominent role on Seattle’s defense is absolutely critical, and he explained why on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Friday.
“Year 3, he’s a high second-round pick, you picked him before (star wide receiver) DK Metcalf,” Heaps said of Blair. “This is a talented football player.”
Heaps said that Blair not having a role at the moment isn’t because he isn’t talented or “is a bust.”
“The problem was you didn’t put him on the field as a rookie, and he got injured in Year 2 when you felt that you found a role for him carved out that you thought he was ready to excel at (at nickel),” Heaps said. “And now in Year 3 you’re between a rock and a hard place because you’ve got two established great safeties (in Adams and Diggs) and Ugo Amadi played really well at that nickel spot last year.”
Heaps has a lot of questions for the Seahawks when it comes to Blair’s role going forward.
“Is Marquise Blair able to win that (nickel corner) job back from Ugo Amadi?” Heaps asked. “What does his role look like? Can he find himself a very defined and successful role in this defense?”
And the most critical question Heaps asked is one he answered himself.
“Why is this important? I think it makes them more talented on defense,” Heaps said. “It makes them faster and Marquise Blair has a physical play-making presence on the field, and that’s what I want to see them add to everything else they already have on this defensive roster. I think if they’re not able to find a role for Marquise Blair, I think it will be an absolute shame because as a high second-round pick, he has to perform.”
Listen to the full second hour of Friday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.