2 Seahawks players who saw their stock rise and fall in preseason opener
The Seahawks’ preseason opener is in the books, with the end result being a 20-7 loss Saturday to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Preseason results obviously aren’t that important, but individual performances are, especially with players fighting for key roles or a roster spot in general.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy believes that two players on defense stood out for the Seahawks in very different ways, resulting in their “stock” going up and down ahead of the 2021 campaign. Here’s what he had to say.
Stock Up: DE Alton Robinson
Second-year defensive end Alton Robinson, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick in 2020, is someone who Heaps has high hopes for in 2021 after a strong rookie campaign. Those hopes were only raised after Aldon Smith was released last week.
So what exactly does Heaps want to see from Robinson in the preseason?
“Alton Robinson is a player I thought going into this needed to prove himself and show flashes against non-starters,” he said. “So a guy like Alton Robinson, if he is going to step up and become a good football player for the Seahawks this year after building off of a rookie year that was pretty good with four sacks, he needs to be a consistent highlight for the Seahawks’ defense (by) rushing the passer, (being) good in the run game, and I want to see the hustle sideline to sideline.”
So far so good in Heaps’ eyes after the preseason opener. Robinson played both defensive end and strongside linebacker, and he tallied five tackles and a quarterback hit that resulted in an interception.
Ryan Neal was right there to snag the ball for the interception!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 15, 2021
“He provided all of that. I want to see that consistently happen the next two games as well,” Heaps said. “Alton Robinson had a fantastic game.”
Stock Down: CB Tre Flowers
Tre Flowers isn’t the most veteran Seahawks defensive back in terms of years of NFL service, but he is the longest-tenured defensive back Seattle has, having been with the team since he was selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Flowers was a starter at cornerback in 2018 and 2019 opposite Shaquill Griffin, but after some struggles down the stretch during his sophomore campaign he lost the starting job to Quinton Dunbar in 2020. Flowers still wound up starting seven games last year due to injuries to both Griffin and Dunbar, but entering 2021, he’s facing an uphill battle with D.J. Reed and Akhello Witherspoon expected to be Seattle’s Week 1 starting duo on the perimeter.
With a strong training camp and preseason, Flowers could still push himself into a starting job, but Heaps wasn’t impressed at all with Flowers’ performance against the Raiders.
“The one person who saw their stock fall dramatically, to me, was Tre Flowers,” Heaps said. “And it just confirmed what we’ve seen from him over the last two to three years in terms of being a guy who at this point in time in his career (has) all the talent and all the tools, but he’s just not a closer when it comes to trusting himself, reading and reacting, being instinctual, seeing things that are happening in front of him and going and breaking on the football to get his hands (on the ball) for a (break up) or an interception.”
A key criticism of Flowers’ play during his NFL career is that he plays too soft in coverage and gets beat underneath far too often. Heaps saw too much of that again on Saturday.
“Tre Flowers is someone who lets a lot of things happen in front of him and there’s a lot of easy completions there,” Heaps said. “I think with Tre Flowers and his performance, he’ll be looking to bounce back from that. But it certainly was not a great performance from him Week 1.”
Listen to the full discussion in the second hour of Monday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.
More Seahawks preseason coverage
• Huard: ‘Playmaking depth’ big concern from preseason opener
• Clayton: Breaking down the Seahawks after their preseason opener
• Gallant: Hawks defenders who made most of opportunity Saturday
• Rost’s Seahawks Takeaways: The good and bad from preseason opener