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Seahawks drafted Marquise Blair for hard-hitting style — but can he cover?

The Seahawks picked hard-hitting Utah safety Marquise Blair in the second round. (Getty)

Seahawks’ second-round pick Marquise Blair was billed primarily as a hard-hitting safety post-draft, but 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard pointed to a different skill that that could make Blair even more useful in Seattle.

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“I thought this was pretty telling,” Huard said of a recent stat from Pro Football Focus during Tuesday morning’s Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. “Pro Football Focus looked at the coverage guys in the Pac-12. It’s not a surprise to see a couple safeties at the top of it; it’s easier for safeties to cover than it is for corners, who can be a bit on an island.

“Number one in the Pac-12 last year in coverage was Taylor Rapp, with a grade of 89.8. That’s a pretty remarkable number. Number two on that list is Marquise Blair, just barely behind Rapp at 88. No one else in the conference was even in the 80’s. So, just once again, what do those numbers mean and where do they come from? This is more a comparative tool than anything else… that’s why these guys were both in the second round, because they can play this position in space.

“Paul Moyer says the 230-pound, 240-pound safeties are having a harder time in today’s NFL because it’s not just about coming down and being a hammer. It is the ability to play center field. And as offenses in the NFL pick up their pace, you know what your safeties have to be? Interchangeable. Much more interchangeable. It can’t just be this one-design role. Because with tempo teams, you’ve got to be able to do both. And with Marquise Blair, I think that was very encouraging. He’s not just going to come down and smack you in the face. When it comes to the ability to cover, he’s right there with Taylor Rapp, and that’s an encouraging sign.”

Huard also answered questions about the use of the Jet Sweep in last year’s NFL. Listen to the entire Blue 42 segment in the audio clip embedded above.

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Listen to the Brock and Salk Show weekday mornings from 7-10 a.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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