Seahawks up-and-comers: Defensive backs
During an interview with Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday Seahawks veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner said that while it’s never easy to see old teammates depart, new vacancies provide opportunities for young players to compete for a starting spot.
“A lot of people that wanted a chance, that have been really trying to get on that field, they have their opportunity to take advantage of it,” Wagner said.
But who are those up-and-comers for the Seahawks?
Seattle’s most notable changes have been in the secondary. The team released All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman in March. Strong safety Kam Chancellor is set to have scans this June for what was a season-ending neck injury. Free safety Earl Thomas remains on the roster, but trade rumors haven’t completely cooled – and if he and Seattle don’t reach an agreement on an extension, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Ready and waiting to battle for starting positions are four second-year players: cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin (who earned a starting job last year opposite Sherman) and Michael Tyson, and safeties Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill. Also primed for a bigger role is safety Bradley McDougald, who signed a three-year deal with the Seahawks this offseason after excelling in a backup role last year.
Griffin started 11 games at right corner last year but has reportedly gotten work in at left cornerback in OTAs, the position previously held by Sherman.
McDougald is a primary candidate to take over the spot vacated by Chancellor (he backed up both safeties last season and performed well in relief of Chancellor for the final six games of the season).
Griffin was the only Seahawks defensive back from the 2017 class that earned a started gig last season. Hill and Thompson spent most of their time on special teams, but Seahawks general manager John Schneider mentioned Thompson as a candidate for a larger role during an interview with Brock Huard and Mike Salk in March.
“I’m telling you man, there’s a lot of good young football players that people don’t know about,” Schneider said. “Tedric Thompson was one of our best special teams players this last year. He didn’t get to play much at strong safety. Kam [Chancellor] was one of our best special teams players the first year he played. He didn’t get to play strong safety because Lawyer [Milloy] was here. Trust the process, man.”