Can Seahawks’ rookie S Marquise Blair earn a starting job?
The Seahawks kick off training camp on July 25, and until then, Brock Huard and Mike Salk will count down the top 25 most intriguing Seahawks every weekday at 8:30 a.m. Their list continues with No. 18: Safety Marquise Blair.
• Selected in the second round by the Seahawks this year.
• Recorded 106 tackles, four passes defended and two interceptions in two seasons with Utah.
• Expect to make return to field in Seahawks’ training camp after suffering hamstring injury.
What Brock Huard is saying
“There’s a little bit more two-safety look out of the Seahawks than we’ve been used to, at least over the offseason. Meaning not just a center fielder like Earl Thomas and a big thumper like Kam Chancellor, which we got so used to for so many years. There are some more interchangeable parts now. We started to see some of that vibe last year with both Tedric Thompson and Lano Hill getting their chance alongside Bradley McDougald. But to take a safety with a second-round pick, the highest-draft pick this crew has spent on a secondary member since Earl Thomas, says something about the need — and I think the wants — of this staff for that position and this player.
“Marquise Blair was a guy that I actually talked about before the draft; he was one of our rare hits. We talk about all these guys leading up to the draft and many of them never become Seahawks. You asked me, ‘Who’s just nasty? Who’s a dude that just wants to hit some guys in today’s football?’ and I said, ‘Well, you’ve watching him, he’s played against Washington and got kicked out of the game against the Huskies because of a hit he put on Myles Gaskin, and that would be Marquise Blair.’
“He played a little bit of both strong and free safety, and that dude wants to do one thing: he’s a heat-seeking missile that wants to blow people up. And that’s the kind of thump this defense desperately needed.”
Why is he on this list?
“I don’t want to count on rookies for anything, I’ve said that now a few times, but he just has so much more upside than any member of the secondary they’ve drafted since the Legion of Boom time,” Mike Salk said. “He’s got that kind of upside as a true hitter and a tone-setter. But I’ve got questions, which is why he’s intriguing. Can he take the ball away? Safeties in this scheme need to be able to take the ball away; can he do that?”
Can he beat out one of the Seahawks’ veterans for a starting job?
“I don’t think Week 1 he will start against Cincinnati at home,” Huard said. “That would surprise me. He missed a bunch of these OTAs, and those are reps you’re not going to get back. But by Week 8 does he finally find his footing a bit and is he knocking dudes out on special teams? Heck, Kam Chancellor didn’t start his rookie year, and I know he’s a fifth-round pick and not a second rounder, but he didn’t start his rookie year. Richard Sherman needed an injury to start.”
What the Seahawks are saying
“Man, just physical, a great athlete, ran fast, a true competitor,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “He’s just a really intense tempo-setter and a tough, tough dude.”