The Seahawks roster is set up for great success in 2021. But there is one position group that could hold the entire team from reaching its potential. That position? The cornerbacks. There is no other unit on the Seattle team that has anywhere as close to the potential of being mediocre as does the cornerback group.
Not every Seahawks unit is among the best in the NFL but many are. The safeties should be very good. If Seattle adds a good third option at wideout in the 2021 NFL draft then the receivers will be explosive next year, especially when the tight ends are included. If Rashaad Penny can stay healthy, the running backs are good.
Even the offensive line has theoretically improved. Seattle’s edge rushers are solid at worst. The interior of the defensive line should be stout against the run and, depending on how Pete Carroll and Ken Norton, Jr. play it, could be extremely good against the pass. Kerry Hyder, for instance, can play end and tackle along the defensive line.
Seahawks might have an issue at cornerback this year
But cornerbacks? At this point (unless maybe Richard Sherman signs), Seattle can only really be expected to be as good or worse than in 2020 with worse being the most likely of the two. Shaquill Griffin wasn’t great always during his four years with Seattle but he left in free agency. Griffin was also Seattle’s best and most consistent corner over the last few years.
D.J. Reed was a very nice surprise in 2020 after he began to start halfway through the season. But Reed had never been a full-time starter and how good he can be next year and beyond is absolutely in question.
Tre Flowers had massive confidence issues to begin 2020, and while he played better as the year went on, still has not proved himself to be a reliable every-down corner. Maybe he can be very good in the last year of his current contract in 2021 but there is no guarantee of anything.
Ahkello Witherspoon is a lot like Flowers. He has good size and could be a great fit for the Seahawks. But why hasn’t Witherspoon ever been a long-term starter in the NFL? What is it about him that the 49ers didn’t trust him to hold down the right cornerback role?
Pierre Desir once played preseason for the Seahawks then started a bunch of games for the Colts. He did have several interceptions but this also means quarterbacks weren’t afraid to throw towards him. They likely won’t be afraid to target him in Seattle.
No other corners on the current roster besides the four mentioned above should be expected to come close to being a shutdown corner. And none of the players mentioned above are shutdown corners. It’s more a group of potential than known quality.
And that potential could cut two ways. One is that the group keeps opposing offenses from picking up chunk yards and forces teams to try to work their way downfield. The second, though, is that opposing offenses keep the Seahawks pass rush off their quarterbacks and Seattle gets beat deep a lot. That is a scary possibility.