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Heaps: Why Seahawks’ Pete Carroll has high expectations for Marquise Blair

Marquise Blair played just two games before his 2020 season ended with a torn ACL. (Getty)

Defensive back Marquise Blair is entering his third year with the Seahawks, but it’s easy to forget the high hopes that came along with him when Seattle drafted him in the second round out of Utah in 2019.

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Though Blair played 14 games his rookie season, his promising second year was cut short just two games in due to a torn ACL that required surgery and took him out of action for the rest of 2020.

While Blair’s experience is limited to just 16 games over two years, his promise that convinced the Seahawks to use such a high draft pick on him is still there, and head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that he has every expectation that Blair will break out in 2021.

“He should really be able to make a difference,” Carroll told members of the media during the first day of Seahawks minicamp. “What we saw of him from last year’s camp, we were really fired up about his addition. He was going to play a ton. He’s stronger now than he was a year ago at this time, more physically fit in general. Really a high bar that we’re shooting for with him and really expect him to be a big factor.”

And that’s even though Blair isn’t all the way back from his knee injury.

“I don’t think he’s 100% yet just in terms of the whole comeback, but he’s plenty good enough to be practicing and working,” Carroll said. “Just everything that we’ve seen from ‘Quise – he tough, he’s smart, he’s fast, he’s flexible in that he can do a lot of things. We’re really excited to have him back out.”

Blair, who was drafted as a safety, will likely challenge Ugo Amadi for Seattle’s starting nickel cornerback position. And according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps, Carroll’s words about Blair should jump out to anybody who hears them.

“Hearing him talk about Marquise Blair was really encouraging,” Heaps, a former Seahawks quarterback, said on Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy. “He’s not 100% healthy with his knee to where they want it to be but he feels like overall the time that (Blair) had rehabbing, he became stronger. They feel like he has the ability to take the next step forward and they’re excited to have him out on the field.

“They felt like they were really about to get into something special with Marquise Blair taking over on that nickel spot. He’s got to earn it, obviously Ugo Amadi’s not just going to give it to him, but Pete Carroll has high expectations for Marquise Blair heading into his third year as a pro and I sure hope that Marquise Blair can really put together all of that talent that he has on the field because this guy can make a difference. He can be an impactful player. You talk about speed, you talk about play-making ability, bringing the heat in terms of hits – I think Marquise Blair can do all of those things. They just have to get him on the field.”

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

Related: Seahawks’ Marquise Blair could break out in 2021

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