Huard explains why Seahawks drafted two cornerbacks

Apr 30, 2024, 1:09 PM

Seattle Seahawks draft NFL Nehemiah Pritchett Auburn...

Auburn CB Nehemiah Pritchett defends a pass against Arkansas in 2022. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

(Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Heading into the 2024s NFL Draft, cornerback appeared to be one of the deepest and most talented position groups on the Seattle Seahawks’ roster.

That made it a bit surprising when Seattle used two of its eight picks on corners. The Seahawks drafted a pair of Auburn cornerbacks in back-to-back rounds on Saturday, taking Nehemiah Pritchett in the fifth and D.J. James in the sixth.

Seahawks ’24 NFL Draft Breakdown: A look at all 8 Seattle picks

Why would Seattle devote two picks to a position group that’s seemingly already one of its bigger strengths? Former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football analyst Brock Huard gave his insight Monday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Huard explained that Pritchett and James both have experience playing press man coverage at Auburn. New Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald’s scheme figures to use more press man coverage than former coach Pete Carroll’s scheme, which was heavy with zone coverage.

“I think what we’re going to find here through the OTA season and into training camp, is that position, as much as any on this team, is going to be asked to do different things than their predecessors (under) the previous coaching staff,” Huard said. “(Carroll had) a lot of a lot of zone coverage. A lot of stay on top. A lot of don’t give up the big play. Not a ton of press man coverage.

“And you’ve gotta have guys that can play man (in Macdonald’s scheme). … If you read between the lines a little bit, you take two corners that come out of that program who played a lot of press man coverage.”

Seattle has two talented young corners in Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen, who each already have a Pro Bowl selection under their belt. Tre Brown also started seven games at corner last season and Michael Jackson started 17 games in 2022, seemingly giving the Seahawks good depth at the position.

However, Huard pointed to a recent text message exchange he had with NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who projected Seattle to draft a cornerback with its first pick at No. 16 overall in his final mock draft.

“I texted DJ (Jeremiah) the day of the draft saying, ‘Hey man, you mocking the Seahawks a corner at No. 16, is this gut instinct?’ And it was, ‘No, I just know very firmly the Seahawks have done a ton of work at corner.’ And that tells you that this regime, looking at the roster, they didn’t have the love affair with those corners that the previous staff did.”

Huard’s co-host Mike Salk said that Seattle’s decision to draft two cornerbacks should put the rest of the position group on notice.

“If I’m a cornerback on this team,” Salk said, “starting with Riq Woolen, but absolutely including Mike Jackson and Tre Brown and anybody else, I’ve got my eyes wide open about (these) two kids that they brought in.”

Listen to the full conversation from Monday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Seahawks draft coverage

Lefko: The message the Seahawks’ 2024 draft class sends
• Salk: With draft done, what we should expect from these Seahawks
• Rost: Seahawks’ future still relies heavily on previous draft classes
What experts are saying about Seahawks’ draft class
• AP NFL Draft grades: How did Seattle Seahawks, NFC West rivals fare?

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