Huard: Seahawks’ weakness at CB is clear, and a trade may be in order
The Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders ended with a 20-7 loss, and while very few starters or key players saw considerable playing time, the game did reveal a decent amount about Seattle’s roster.
A day later on this week’s edition of the Brock and Salk, Huard said that the game revealed the single-biggest weakness that the Seahawks have on their current roster.
“Secondary,” he told co-host Mike Salk.
More specifically, cornerback.
Seattle has arguably the best safety tandem in football with Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs and All-Pro strong safety Jamal Adams, who just signed a long-term extension that makes him the highest-paid safety in football. But while the Seahawks have considerable talent at those two spots, cornerback is a big question mark heading into the regular season.
Last year, the Seahawks’ Week 1 starting cornerback tandem was Shaquill Griffin, a 2019 Pro Bowler, and Quinton Dunbar, who was one of the highest-rated corners in football the previous season. Griffin signed a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency this offseason while Dunbar, who played in just six games in 2020 due to injury, signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions (though he was recently released).
That leaves D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, Damarious Randall, 2021 fourth-round pick Tre Brown and free-agent signings Ahkello Witherspoon and Pierre Desir as the candidates for the Seahawks’ two outside cornerback jobs. Reed is expected to hold down one side of the field while Witherspoon and Flowers are seen as the two top contenders for the other side.
Regarding those last two players, Huard wasn’t impressed with their play against the Raiders.
“Watching that game, watching Tre Flowers against a backup receiver and a third-string quarterback not make plays on the football is discouraging. It’s discouraging. And it’s why he was benched last year,” Huard said, later adding, “On the other side, Witherspoon was not terribly physical and didn’t come up and fill and play with violence.”
What especially makes that discouraging, Huard said, is what Reed brings to the table.
“D.J. Reed, he’s a guy who can attack the football. He can play the ball,” he said. “… He played the entire second half of last year and was your best corner.”
Preseason games, especially the last few years, have to be taken with a grain of salt as not every player is giving their all, top players play sparingly, and teams rarely reveal too much of their offensive and defensive schemes. Even so, Huard said that it was clear as day that cornerback is an issue given what he saw in Las Vegas.
“It’s not hard for me to judge that that is the weakest position on their roster,” he said.
So what can the Seahawks do to potentially improve that spot? Huard said there’s one team he’s keeping a close eye on for a potential trade.
“In particular, a Denver Broncos team that I think has four or five corners and drafted one (in the first round this year),” he said. “… Now, some of them are not ideal size (for the Seahawks), but D.J. Reed is not ideal size.”
If the Seahawks do make a trade whether it’s before the start of the regular season or even before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, Huard explained what he hopes Seattle adds in terms of another corner.
“I hope it is a competent (defensive back) from somewhere around the league that has had a little seasoning, kind of like (former Seahawks nickel cornerback) Justin Coleman, kind of like D.J. Reed, kind of like those guys who have played a little bit elsewhere, and (the Seahawks) need to (bring in cornerbacks who) have any level of ball skill,” he said. “I don’t think Tre (Flowers) has it, I don’t think Witherspoon has it, I don’t think you have any depth that has it. You need someone who can play the ball on that end.”
Listen to the full conversation in the last segment of the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.