Start bench or cut: Seahawks 2020 cornerbacks
By Lee Vowell
The Seahawks have some decisions to make as far as who to start in 2020 at cornerback. In fact, it is a bit easier to decide who to bench or cut.
Ideally, the Seahawks will have three cornerbacks on the field for most downs in 2020. Last year the Seattle defense failed with a majority of downs being played with a base 4-3-4. This means defensive ends who need to be technique-correct on run downs but a lesser focus on the pressuring the opposing quarterback.
This formation also puts a lot more pressure on the cornerbacks to be really good. The Seahawks sticking with a 4-3-4 with three linebackers on the field ultimately was the wrong decision. It will be the wrong decision again in 2020.
If the Seahawks defense fails this year, blame defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. Seattle has linebacker and secondary talent. The right talent simply needs to be on the field most of the time. Here is who Seattle should play at cornerback, who they should bench, and who they should cut, based on a 4-2-5 alignment.
Outside corners – start – Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar
Shaquill Griffin was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and probably will be good for years to come. He didn’t have a good 2018, but he has the size and speed to be a perfect Seahawks corner for years.
Dunbar is an even more perfect-sized Seattle corner. Pete Carroll likes his corners lengthy with long wingspans and the ability to play press coverage. In other words, Dunbar by definition.
Slot corner – Marquise Blair
I realize that Ugo Amadi is the better natural fit here, but I am going to go with Blair to begin the season. Blair is a safety but with the size of a slot corner and is also quick. The difference here is that Blair will infect pain on opposing receivers. He is Kam Chancellor is slot corner form.
Blair will be able to pinch down on run plays and do it effectively as well as play coverage. By the end of 2020. Amadi will play the slot. But he shouldn’t in week one.
Amadi. He will be the starter at the slot corner. One day. But Seattle didn’t play him early enough in 2019 and he could cost the team a win or two in 2020 early on. The Seahawks cannot afford that.
Neiko Thorpe is going to be a player on the Seahawks until he retires and then becomes a Seattle coach. He is a very good special teams players and therefore valuable.
Tre Flowers will start again in 2021, and maybe in 2020 if someone gets hurt. Flowers might also find himself playing safety as he did in college. He is a versatile player, I am just unsure he is truly good enough to start long-term at any one position.
The Seahawks have an easier choice on whom to cut at cornerback this year compared to last. Seattle has a bunch of young guys who don’t need to be on the roster. Gone will be players like Ryan Neal and Brian Allen and Gavin Heslop.
Last year Seattle had signed veterans to help complete depth at cornerback. For 2020, this didn’t happen because true young talent like Amadi and adding veterans like Dunbar is better.