The Seahawks need an infusion of talent after losing four defensive backs in two years. Ugo Amadi may just be the secret weapon no one expected.
The Seahawks parted ways with talent that most 12s would consider three Hall of Famers the past two seasons. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman became free agents, while Kam Chancellor was forced out of the game by injury. Thankfully, Bradley McDougald was already kicking butt at safety. But that still leaves one safety position open. Ugo Amadi may not be the answer there, but he could be the man to step into another position that Seattle certainly needs to upgrade.
The Hawks look pretty good at the cornerback position. Tre Flowers appears to be on his way on one side. Shaquill Griffin slipped a bit in his sophomore season, but I expect he’ll be better than ever this year. McDougald’s tag-team partner at safety is still up in the air, but there is no shortage of candidates. Third-year players Tedric Thompson and Lano Hill will have all they can handle to keep hard-hitting rookie safety Marquise Blair off the field.
Amadi is in the mix at safety too, but where I think he’ll really make his mark is as the slot corner. When you lose three Hall of Famers, it’s easy to overlook player who was merely really good. But when the Seahawks let Justin Coleman hit the free agent market, they lost a key player. Now the league’s highest-paid slot corner, Coleman was fifth on the team in tackles. Far more importantly he was second in passes defended with 10, just one behind the All-World Bobby Wagner.
Seahawks need someone to step up for Coleman
Coleman accomplished this despite getting just 672 snaps. Flowers and Griffin both had over 900 snaps, yet combined for just 14 pass defenses. A lot of that is due to the passing game of today’s NFL, of course. That only clarifies just how important it is to have an excellent slot corner in place. And I believe Ugo Amadi is just that man.
In his four seasons in the pass-happy Pac-12, he played corner for two of his four seasons. As Lee Vowell wrote when Amadi was drafted, he’s noted as a special-teams demon and a team-first guy. You know how much Pete Carroll is emphasizing the team-first mentality. Or did you miss the part about Thomas and Sherman leaving? At 5’9″, Amadi isn’t exactly the long, rangy player the Seahawks like. But he can hit, and he can cover.
At least, that’s what Bradley McDougald says. As Adam Jude reported for the Seattle Times, the Seahawks secondary leader likes Amadi. In fact, he practically went Sally Field about him:
"“I really, really like (Amadi),” McDougald said. “He’s small, but he’s quick. He moves well and I’ve seen him play a nickel and free safety. He’s just getting better every day. He’s really taken advantages of these reps. They both got their hands on some balls.”"
The other player in the “both” reference is the aforementioned Marquise Blair. While he was hampered by hamstring issues during minicamp, he’ll probably be ready to push for a spot next to McDougald. As for Amadi, I like his chances to jump Akeem King and Kalen Reed at nickel. The real question is, will he fit in a Salvation Army kettle?