Seahawks’ pre-draft positions of need: Cornerback

Feb 22, 2015, 11:51 AM | Updated: Apr 8, 2016, 10:51 am
The Seahawks will likely have to replace Byron Maxwell, who is expected to leave in free agency. (A...
The Seahawks will likely have to replace Byron Maxwell, who is expected to leave in free agency. (AP)
(AP)

With the NFL scouting combine taking place this weekend in Indianapolis, we’re taking stock of Seattle’s roster and identifying the top needs that the Seahawks figure to address in the draft.

First up: cornerbacks.

Where Seattle stands

What has for the past few seasons been the deepest position group on the Seahawks’ roster is now by far the team’s top need with the expected departure of Byron Maxwell, the absence of a clear-cut replacement and a handful of injuries. Maxwell is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and once he hits the market he’ll likely receive offers greater than what the Seahawks can afford to pay him, a reality that general manager John Schneider has pointed to multiple times in recent weeks. Tharold Simon is next up on Seattle’s cornerback depth chart, but promoting him to a starter in what will essentially be his second season – he didn’t play as a rookie due to injuries – would require a giant leap of faith given the way he struggled when pressed into action first in the divisional round of the playoffs and then in the Super Bowl. Nickelback Jeremy Lane could miss the start of next season because of knee surgery, which he needs in addition to having had surgery to repair a badly broken wrist. Marcus Burley was Lane’s backup last season and he, too, had his issues while filling in for Lane early in the season. Richard Sherman is recovering from an elbow injury while Simon’s health also bears watching as he injured his shoulder late in the season. Add that all up and it’s not a question of whether the Seahawks need cornerbacks but how many they’ll add.

Seattle’s draft history



Danny O’Neil and Brady Henderson are taking stock of the Seahawks’ roster with an eye toward the areas they could address in the draft.


CB | WR | TE | LB | RB

It’s been nothing short of excellent under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, not only considering the eye for talent that the Seahawks have shown but where they’ve found it. Seattle has assembled what has been among the league’s best collections of cornerbacks despite not spending higher than a fourth-round pick on any of them. Perhaps this is the year that changes, though. Whereas in the past Seattle has drafted cornerbacks in the later rounds and developed them over a few seasons before elevating them to starting roles, the Seahawks may need to find someone capable of starting right away. That might require spending an earlier pick.

Names to remember

Jalen Collins, LSU. He weighs around 200 pounds and reportedly measured in at 6 feet 1 at the combine. That’s a little shorter than what Collins was listed at previously but nonetheless the type of size that Seattle covets in cornerbacks. LSU has been a cornerback factory in recent seasons, producing the likes of Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne, not to mention Simon. Collins, who left after his junior season, will be next on that list.

Marcus Peters, Washington. Remember him? He picked off 11 passes in 34 games but was booted off the team midway through his junior season in 2014 after multiple run-ins with Chris Petersen’s coaching staff. The fact that many draft analysts still consider Peters to be a first-round pick despite the issues that led to his dismissal speaks to all the talent he has. Peters is listed at 6 feet tall and 197 pounds. While it may have no bearing on Seattle’s level of interest in Peters, it’s worth noting that he has a strong relationship with Seahawks running back and fellow Oakland native Marshawn Lynch.

Ladarius Gunter, Miami. He’s another big cornerback, listed at either 6 feet 2 or an inch shorter and around 200 pounds. As 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard has noted, the Seahawks will have a pre-existing connection to players from Miami in this year’s draft given how two assistant coaches – Micheal Barrow and Brennan Carroll – left Miami to join Seattle’s staff. Neither Barrow nor Carroll coached cornerbacks there, but they will nonetheless have a certain level of familiarity with Gunter and any other player from that school.

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Seahawks’ pre-draft positions of need: Cornerback