Seahawks’ Draft Prospects – Defensive Backs
Friday, February 22, 2019
TIM KEARNY, Oregon Sports News
Here is part three of my look at the 2019 NFL Draft, and who the Seattle Seahawks should pick. I am highlighting some defensive backs that should pique Seattle’s interest.
Seattle has a good defensive backfield right now, but there are a couple players slated to be free agents and injuries are a very real possibility. So, you need depth everywhere on your team, and defensive backs are becoming more and more important in this passing league.
DeAndre Baker, Georgia CB, 5’10” 185 lbs.
Baker is the consensus top cornerback in the draft this year. He was a two-year starter for a Georgia team that was contending for national championships. Baker is an All-American and Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back) winner. In his 36 games for Georgia he forced nine turnovers (seven interceptions and two fumbles) while usually facing the opponent’s best receiver. He does not fit exactly what Seattle looks for in an outside corner, but the Seahawks like using the shorter corners as slot guys. Baker could be a perfect fit in Seattle’s zone-based scheme, and he is good against the run too. He might not slip to Seattle at pick 21, but he could be an impact player immediately if he does.
Amani Oruwariye, Penn State CB, 6’1” 205 lbs.
Oruwariye is not just on here because of his great name. He is a prototypical Seahawks corner with 32-inch arms; Seattle has not drafted a corner with arms shorter than 32 inches since 2010. He also is more than six feet tall and uses his hands effectively to contact receivers. He is also able to make plays on the ball. Oruwariye swatted 20 passes and picked off eight in his career as a Nittany Lion. He would be competition for Shaquil Griffin and Tre Flowers while also contributing on special teams. He looks comfortable in zone coverage, which is a plus for any potential Seahawks defender. Seattle would be able to snag him in the second or third round if it waits.
Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State CB, 5’11” 190 lbs.
Sheffield is a speed guy. He only saw action in two years as a Buckeye, but he fit into their secondary smoothly. Ohio State is churning out NFL corners and Seattle needs to get a piece of this. Sheffield is not as polished as Marshon Lattimore or Denzel Ward, but he has had the same coaching and has flashed big play ability. He would fill in as the Seahawks’ slot corner and would unleash his 4.3 speed. He is not too shy about tackling either; he forced two fumbles and got four tackles-for-loss in his two years in Columbus. He would also be a tremendous special teams player with his speed. Seattle could target Sheffield in the fourth round.
Juan Thornhill, Virginia S, 6’ 205 lbs.
Thornhill is a very consistent defensive back. He can stop the run and he is very good against the pass. Thornhill racked up more than 200 tackles in his career to go with 12 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. So, he can really stick his nose into the action and he is a ball hawk. His stats don’t stop there though; he knocked away 26 passes and grabbed 13 interceptions at Virginia. He showcases good range in coverage and against the run, and he has an instinct for making the play. He is more of a hybrid safety than a true strong or free safety; his mix of skills makes him very versatile.
Chase Hansen, Utah S, 6’3” 220 lbs.
This might be a bit of a stretch because most scouts are projecting Hansen will play linebacker in the NFL. I have him here because he could be a bit of a Kam Chancellor-type. His first three years were mainly as a defensive back. He got four picks, swatted 12 passes, forced three fumbles, recovered four fumbles, got 10.5 TFLs, two sacks, 156 tackles and scored two touchdowns. Remember all that? Then, as a senior Utah payed him all over the field and moved him to linebacker. He got two picks, swatted four passes, forced one fumble, got 22 TFLs, five sacks, 114 tackles and scored a touchdown. You could call it a breakout year if he wasn’t already so good. Hansen just makes plays wherever you play him on defense. He could be a nickel safety/linebacker and could transition to either one of those positions. Seattle could wait until the second half of the draft to target him.
Nasir Adderley, Delaware S, 5’11” 195 lbs.
Adderley is one of the small school prospects who has shot up draft boards and has a chance at being picked in the first round. He is very comfortable in zone coverage and shows good instincts when jumping throws. Adderley looks good when tackling too; he brings his body and feet through the contact and he wraps up and holds on. He shows his competitiveness on every snap and wants to make every play. He doesn’t possess blazing speed or quickness, but he reacts quickly and smoothly to make up for it most of the time. He does not have much weakness in his game apart from man coverage, but he has shown the tools to master that if given time.