Seahawks Training Camp Battles: Cornerback

The Seahawks Seahawks are very deep at cornerback. With far more talented players than roster spots, it is shaping up for a very tough battle to make the roster.

This might be the deepest group of cornerback that Seattle Seahawks have ever had, except for that 2013 group. Not only is there elite talent at the top, but there is tremendous talent all the way down the depth chart.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks are only likely to keep six or seven players at the position. The versatility of Browner and Shed will give the team some flexibility, but some of these players will end up on other teams before the real games begin.

 

Richard Sherman

Sherman is an All-Pro, and arguably the best CB in the NFL. His inclusion on the roster is an absolute given.

 

Jeremy Lane

The Seahawks spent a lot of money to keep Jeremy Lane on the roster this offseason. He’ll almost certainly be the starter on the outside opposite Sherman. He is best suited to cover slot receivers, so there’s a good chance he’ll move inside when the Seahawks switch to the nickel.

 

DeShawn Shead

When the Seahawks finally ended the Cary Williams experiment last season, it was Shead who stepped in and provided a much-needed upgrade on the side opposite of Sherman. Eventually Lane took over as the starter, but Shead still played on the outside in the nickel.

Shead also brings versatility to the roster. He can also play safety, and started for Kam Chancellor in Week 2 last season. The Seahawks value versatility in their backups, which gives Shead a leg up in the battle for a roster spot.

 

Brandon Browner

Browner was one of the founding members of the Legion of Boom, but down season in 2013 led to him not being re-signed after that season. Browner played well at times for the Patriots in 2014, but not well enough for them to keep him around after that.

Browner then spent 2015 in New Orleans, where he was arguably the worst starting CB in the NFL. Not only did he lead the entire league in penalties, but it was clear that he was no longer quick enough to cover NFL receivers.

The Seahawks brought Browner back, but mostly to be a safety. He’ll play CB occasionally, which is why he’s on this list, but his primary role will be as a part of the bandit package.

 

Tharold Simon

Simon’s tenure in Seattle consists mostly of injuries. He’s missed two full seasons to a toe that simply wouldn’t stop dislocating. It’s was surgically repaired last season, so hopefully it won’t be a problem anymore.

His one semi-healthy season was in 2014. He started a few games for Byron Maxwell and saw plenty of time in various sub packages throughout the season.

While most fans only remember him getting scorched in the Super Bowl, it is important to remember that he played well early in the season. There is clearly talent there, but he has to show he can stay healthy enough to take advantage of it.

 

Tye Smith

Smith doesn’t have the characteristic length that the Seahawks like in their cornerbacks, but he has more quickness than the rest of the position group. He has the makings of a very good slot corner.

The Seahawks essentially gave Smith a redshirt season as a rookie. Now he should be ready to step in play in case Jeremy Lane gets injured.

 

Marcus Burley

Burley is a lot like Smith. He doesn’t have the length, but he has tremendous short-area quickness.  Injuries to other players have pushed Burley onto the field during his two season in Seattle, and he’s played well overall when given chances.

Working against him in the roster battle this season is that Smith is younger, cheaper, and under team control for longer. Burley will have to be clearly better is he’s going to hold off Smith in the battle for that spot.

 

Stanley Jean-Baptiste

The New Orleans Saints drafted Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second round of the 2014 draft. When they did, they envisioned the 6 ft 3 inch cornerback’s length as a Richard Sherman-esque trait that would make life hell for opposing QBs.

Instead they got a QB that was too tall and stiff to stay with many NFL WRs. His skills required that he be used in a certain way, and that wasn’t a fit for the Saints’ scheme.

Seattle is a much better fit for Jean-Baptiste from a scheme perspective. Hopefully the technique overhaul that comes with learning the kick-step will turn him into a useful player. Otherwise, this may be Jean-Baptiste’s last stop in the NFL.

 

George Farmer

Farmer was a WR at USC, but when he became available last year around midseason, the Seahawks signed him to the practice squad entirely with the plan of converting him to be a CB. The Seahawks love his athleticism and length, and believe he’ll develop into a solid defensive player.

In fact, it was the addition of Farmer that allowed the Seahawks to finally move Douglas McNeil back to WR. The coaches believe they have a hidden gem here, and it will be interesting to see if he can live up to their expectations.

 

DeAndre Elliot

The Seahawks didn’t draft a CB this year, but they added Elliot as an undrafted free agent. He checks all the boxes for Seahawks CB, but we won’t know enough about him until training camp begins.

For reasons I can’t quite formulate into words, Elliot reminds me a lot of Deshawn Shead. Shead spent a year on the practice squad before graduating to the active roster. It’ll be interesting to see if Elliot follows a similar path.

Trovon Reed

I’m curious to see Reed once camp begins. For now, it is tough to figure out why the Seahawks have him taking up a spot on the 90 man roster. He’s bounced on and off practice squads for the last two seasons, and hasn’t landed on a roster yet.