The Seahawks might be building depth at cornerback for 2021. But by 2022, the team might need a long-term starter at CB and Robert Rochell could be that. Rochell has really good size for a Seahawks corner and can run a sub-4.4 40. So what would keep him from being drafted higher?
Well, for one Rochell is going to make the jump from Central Arkansas to the NFL and he isn’t ready, at least not ready enough to play snaps in the early part of the season. If he is good to go by late in 2021, great. But the expectation should be he should season for a year and then be ready to get a lot of reps by 2022.
This would work well for Seattle. Seattle presumably has enough talent and depth in 2021 to cover up whatever shortcomings the team has as far as high-end cornerback talent goes. Ahkello Witherspoon, Tre Flowers, D.J. Reed and Pierre Desir should be a decent, but not great, rotation. Even if Aldon Smith ends up not playing in 2021, the pass rush should be good enough to help the secondary.
Seahawks would be wise to draft Robert Rochell
But 2022 is a different story and Seattle needs to start looking for long-term starters at both left and right corner. Rochell is capable of being a very good left corner. Sure, he uses his hands a bit too much to grab the receiver but this is a technique issue. With better coaching in the NFL, Rochell should fix this issue.
Here are the things that would make Rochell a fantastic target for Seattle in this year’s draft and they are specifically special to Seattle.
First, Rochell is a great tackler. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds but puts his body into attempting a tackle and rarely misses. Pete Carroll asks his corners to do a lot if the corners are talented enough. Players like Richard Sherman could cover extremely well but also play a big role in run defense with their ability to corral opposing runners. Rochell is capable of this.
Second, Rochell has excellent arm length at 32.5″. Carroll typically likes corners with a 32-inch wingspan so Rochell fits this.
Third, Rochell can run a 4.39 40 which means even when he does get beat he should have enough speed to catch up to the receiver. Ideally, the Seahawks would like to play a lot of man coverage so having size and speed is what makes a great Seattle corner. Press-man hasn’t been used as much since Sherman left town and Rochell can bring that element back.
Lastly, Robert Rochell plays with attitude and I think Seattle has missed this in recent years. The LOB was great because of the talent involved but also because they brought a mentality that they would shut a team down. Rochell brings a lot of swagger. Shaquill Griffin was good but he didn’t really play with a chip on his shoulder. Rochell will and make Seattle a better defense in a couple of years.