Inside the Pylon: Why Seattle Took Three Safeties in the 2017 Draft
The Seahawks Fantable noted on their past podcast about the decision to draft all these DBs and what may happen to their future as they may be replacements for Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor.
Brown highlights what each of these three young safeties could bring to the Seattle not only in their Nickel packages, depth, special teams and eventually starting.
Taking three players at a position where you have two elite starters can be puzzling to fans. However, Seattle’s decision to take three safeties in the 2017 NFL Draft is understandable as there are multiple factors that influenced the front office’s decision.
For one, the Seahawks’ draft board fell this way. Once Malik McDowell and Ethan Pocic had been selected, Seattle had several picks in the range of one of the strengths of this draft: the safety position.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor – for all the leadership qualities he brings to the team – is 30 years old at the end of the 2017 season, and is declining athletically. Furthermore, his holdout in the 2015 offseason demonstrates that he feels undervalued. He is likely to be offered more money on the open market than what the Seahawks would be willing to pay him. Facing what is likely his last payday in the NFL that could be an irresistible proposition.
Free safety Earl Thomas hinted at leaving the game earlier this offseason. Thomas is returning to play this season, but his retirement consideration shows the psychological effect of the game. When Thomas missed the end of the season due to injury, his absence heavily impacted the team. Thomas’ range, play recognition and speed are crucial to Seattle’s single-high Cover 3 defense.
The depth behind Thomas was troubling last season. While the All-Pro is a near-irreplaceable generational talent, backup Steven Terrell did not show the instincts or range to play the free safety position in Seattle.
The signing of Bradley McDougald in the offseason could resemble more than a depth signing. Pete Carroll again mentioned potential three-safety packages, something he tried by signing Brandon Browner last offseason. While Browner retired after failing to make the move from cornerback to safety, Bradley McDougald could be a big nickel safety for Seattle. The new base of the NFL is nickel packages. To be more stout against the run – or for matchup purposes – teams may add an extra safety rather than an additional cornerback.
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