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)


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.

2015 NFL Draft


Brady Henderson

Report: Tye Smith signs rookie deal with Seahawks

Not long after offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli's agent Tweeted that his client was the Seahawks' first draft pick to sign his rookie deal, a report stated that cornerback Tye Smith has become the second.

9 years ago

Brady Henderson

Agent: Kristjan Sokoli signs rookie deal with Seahawks

Offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli has become the first of the Seahawks' eight draft picks to sign his rookie deal, his agent Tweeting Thursday that the sixth-round pick is now under contract.

9 years ago

Seahawks draft pick Frank Clark was arrested and jailed in November on a domestic-violence charge t...

Brady Henderson

Report: Seahawks didn’t interview witnesses to alleged Clark incident

Two women who were in an adjacent hotel room during the alleged domestic-violence incident involving Seahawks draft pick Frank Clark have shared additional details with The Seattle Times and told the paper that the team never spoke with them as part of its investigation.

9 years ago

A relief trip to Darfur convinced Seahawks signing Nate Boyer to pursue his dream of playing footba...

Brent Stecker

34-year-old rookie and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer details his journey from military to the Seahawks

There's only one 34-year-old former Green Beret rookie trying to catch on with an NFL team for the 2015 season, and Seahawks hopeful Nate Boyer's story is every bit as inspiring as it sounds.

9 years ago

John Schneider says Seattle wouldn’t have drafted Frank Clark if they believed he struck his ...

Brady Henderson

Schneider: Seahawks ‘absolutely’ believe Clark didn’t hit girlfriend

Seahawks general manager John Schneider joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Salk" Monday morning and talked further about the team's controversial decision to draft defensive end Frank Clark despite past allegations of domestic violence.

9 years ago

Connor Halliday will attempt follow in the footsteps of WSU great Mark Rypien as a Washington QB. (...

Brent Stecker

WSU’s Connor Halliday, UW’s Andrew Hudson agree to UDFA deals

After a prolific career at Washington State, Connor Halliday will get a shot to bring the air raid to the NFL, signing a deal as an undrafted free agent with Washington.

9 years ago

Seahawks’ pre-draft positions of need: Cornerback