Seahawks’ secondary is a primary need entering the draft

Apr 28, 2015, 9:39 AM | Updated: Apr 8, 2016, 10:50 am
Jeremy Lane may not be ready for the start of next season after breaking his wrist and tearing his ACL, which is one of several reasons why the secondary is a major need for Seattle entering the draft. (AP)
(AP)

Injury and attrition.

Those have been the two themes in Seattle’s secondary so far in 2015.

Injuries to Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane followed by the free-agent departures of Byron Maxwell and Jeron Johnson.

Seahawks 2015 NFL Draft section

Now, it’s time for addition. At least that’s the expectation this week because while the Seahawks may not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, they do have 11 selections overall and under general manager John Schneider they’ve shown an ability to mine the later rounds, finding diamonds for their defensive backfield.

Seattle’s single biggest strength in draft evaluation lines up with one of the most significant needs on the roster, meaning the Seahawks aren’t just hoping to replicate their success in the secondary. They have to do so.

Seattle has found tall corners like Sherman and Maxwell, chosen in the fifth and sixth round respectively in 2011. The Seahawks have found small guys like Lane, a sixth-round choice out of Northwestern State (La.) a year later.

But for all the secondary players Seattle has placed in the Pro Bowl the past four years, and the tens of millions of dollars made by Maxwell and Johnson and even guys like Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Ron Parker, Thomas remains the only defensive back Seattle acquired with a pick in the first half of the draft.

Now, we’ll see whether Seattle can perform an even more difficult challenge: doing it again.

The cupboard isn’t bare in Seattle’s defensive backfield as the team is bringing back three Pro Bowlers, but it does need to be restocked. That nucleus is aging whether it’s Chancellor suffering from issues with his ankle, his hip and finally his knee or Thomas having his shoulder operated on after the injury he sustained in the NFC Championship Game.

Not only that, but guys have graduated, moving on in an NFL where the salary cap is designed to make sure a team as talented as Seattle can’t pay all its players the market rate.

The depth has taken a hit. DeShawn Shead currently projects as the team’s backup safety, and even after the free-agent addition of Cary Williams from Philadelphia, the Seahawks’ backup cornerbacks are Tharold Simon and Marcus Burley when you consider the unlikelihood that Lane will be ready for the start of the regular season.

So expect Seattle to be up to its elbows – perhaps even its ears – in the secondary during this draft in an effort to restock that position.

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