BROCK AND SALK

Huard: The case for the Seahawks drafting a CB in the top 10

Apr 26, 2023, 9:34 AM | Updated: 9:41 am

Seattle Seahawks draft Christian Gonzalez...

Christian Gonzalez of the Oregon Ducks returns an interception on Nov. 5, 2022. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

When looking at fifth pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, most mock drafts have the Seattle Seahawks selecting either a defensive lineman/pass rusher or a quarterback.

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Both positions make sense as the Seahawks need to shore up their pass rush and run defense and drafting a quarterback could give them a potential long-term answer to learn behind Geno Smith.

But what if the Seahawks go a different route at No. 5 overall? That’s something former NFL quarterback Brock Huard made the case for during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

That position? Cornerback.

A big part of the NFL is dependency, Huard said, pointing especially to linebackers needing help from their defensive linemen. While cornerbacks can certainly be aided by help across the board, they’re not as dependent on others as other position groups, Huard said.

“Those linebackers get caught right up in that wash, because those bodies are right in their way, because their lanes get totally clogged. I would say they are more dependent than a lockdown corner is who was out there on his island playing man-to-man coverage and taking away the throwing lanes and being in the hip pocket of guys,” he said. “And watching what Tariq Woolen did and what Richard Sherman did for so many years, which is, ‘Nope, don’t throw here. Don’t throw my way. Because the ball is not just gonna get knocked down, the ball is gonna get turned over if you throw it my way,’ if you’ve got a player of that ilk and that caliber, and they’re super rare, man. They’re super hard to find.”

It’s easy to find good cornerbs, Huard said, but they rarely have the ball skills to force turnovers.

Seattle found a lockdown corner in Woolen last year, and he tied the NFL lead in interceptions with six as a rookie. Woolen, like Sherman before him with the Seahawks, “literally threatens and scares” opposing quarterbacks from testing their side of the field, Huard said.

“It’s pretty hard to come by. I would say (New York Jets corner) ‘Sauce’ Gardner was right on that list last year, too. You want to throw his way? You’d better be very careful, because it looks like every single time he is right in the hip of that guy and you’re putting the ball in harm’s way,” Huard said.

There doesn’t appear to be a corner of Gardner’s ilk and pedigree entering this year’s draft, but there are a handful of cornerbacks expected to be first-round picks. Of those prospects, Huard sees one that stands out as a potential shutdown corner who could form quite the ball-hawking tandem with Woolen.

“If you deem Christian Gonzalez from Oregon being that guy – he’s 6-2  and he’s 200 (pounds) and he runs low 4.4s and he jumps 40 inches and he took the ball away four times as a Duck last year and played a little bit inside and outside and could cover just about anybody on the field – if you deem him that kind of guy, now you have two of those sides of the field and you’ve got quarterbacks going, ‘Man, I don’t really feel good about throwing at either of these guys,”‘ Huard said.

What would that kind of tandem look like for the Seahawks potentially?

“If you’ve got two corners of the hill that can both take the ball away, you take away those mirrored concepts and you start to put a little seed of doubt in that quarterback’s mind,” Huard said. “And you want to talk about helping your D-line? How about helping them by (making the QB think), ‘I’ve gotta hold that ball an extra tick. I’ve got to take one more pat of it. I’ve got to make sure of it before I rip this thing and cut it loose’ versus playing with great anticipation. Do you think that helps your D-line? I do think it helps your defensive line. So that’s about as strong a case as I can make for a top-10 corner.”

Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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