The fourth installment of “Obscure Seahawks Bi-Weekly” looks at undrafted free agent Ray Polk. Polk is a hard hitting safety with the kind of eye-popping athleticism that is likely to make Pete Carroll take notice.
Height: 6’ 1”
Method of Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent 4/27/13
40 yard dash: 4.40 seconds
Vertical: 39 inches
NCAA career stats: 41GP, 33GS, 237 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PD
Fun Fact: Polk was a very high rated running back recruit coming out of high school with Rivals.com ranking him as the No. 3 prospect out of Arizona and the No. 11 running back in the nation.
Polk has great speed and range but uses that to make big hits as opposed to plays in coverage. He played as a free safety throughout his college career but his game seems better suited to the strong safety position where the Seahawks have him listed. Polk’s great speed and vertical leap should lend itself to making plays on the ball but he has only one interception in his entire college career which leads to some concerns about his instincts. Apparently Colorado deployed him very deep due to their questionable corners so this may have depressed his pass coverage statistics slightly. He also has some durability concerns and only played in seven games in his senior season last year.
Chances of Making the Team
Not awful. Polk has quite a bit of potential and Pete Carroll has a way with defensive backs so Polk may have landed on the right team. He has the speed and range to play free safety where the Seahawks badly need a reliable backup for Earl Thomas. However, Polk’s game is more Chancellor-esque and the Seahawks are more likely to see him as a strong safety long term. Seattle needs to keep Chris Maragos (or someone else off waivers) to back up Thomas and Jeron Johnson has shown himself to be useful in sub packages, and remains very cheap, so there is no real reason to jettison him as the primary backup at strong safety. Last year the Seahawks kept five safeties though. The fifth safety was Winston Guy who showed little on the field and was suspended for using performance enhancing substances. Should Seattle choose to keep five safeties again I think Polk has a really good chance of making this squad. As the fifth safety very little would be asked of him so he could develop his coverage skills in practice and put his elite athleticism to work as a special teams star. That seems like the perfect role for Polk, long term project and short term special teams contributor. There is no guarantee the Seahawks keep more than four safeties, and if they don’t I would be surprised if Polk didn’t find himself on the practice squad. For the highest arbitrary estimates yet I will say Polk has a 23% chance of making the team and a 60% chance of making the practice squad.
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