The Seattle Seahawks defense will feature plenty of new faces for the upcoming season, but one player in particular is being considered by one outlet as the team’s biggest X-factor in 2022.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport gave his picks for every NFL team’s biggest X-factors for the 2022 season. For the Seahawks, he picked out a surprising selection, naming new cornerback Artie Burns as someone expected to have impact this year.
“[Burns’] familiarity with the Seattle defense could offer badly needed stability to a franchise undergoing massive transitions all over,” Davenport said.
Burns signed a one-year deal worth a little more than $2 million this offseason, and with a salary like that there’s no guarantee that the veteran corner will make the final 53-man roster. Still, Davenport thinks that Burns has a real shot at having an impact right away.
Artie Burns Is Coming Off a Solid 2021 Season
After an impressive college career with the Miami Hurricanes, Burns was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. While Burns hasn’t become a star player in the NFL, he started to find his rhythm in 2021.
The 27-year-old looked promising in his first two seasons with the Steelers, playing in all 32 games with 109 combined tackles, four interceptions and 26 pass breakups. He saw significantly less playing time in his final two years in Pittsburgh, however, signing with the Chicago Bears prior to the 2020 season.
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A torn ACL in training camp ended his first season with the Bears before it could begin. He didn’t return to the field until Week 12 of the 2021 season, but looked solid in limited action. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Burns posted career-best overall and coverage grades, allowing a completion percentage of just 54.5 when targeted and a passer rating of only 89.8.
Although he saw limited action in 2021, Burns put on enough good tape for the Seahawks to take a chance on him this season.
Burns is Familiar With Seattle’s Defensive Scheme
Despite it being his first season with the Seahawks, Burns is already more comfortable with Seattle’s new defensive scheme than other players thanks to his ties with associated head coach Sean Desai.
Desai and defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt are running a scheme similar to what the Bears ran in 2021. Burns worked in the scheme with Desai, who was the defensive coordinator for Chicago at the time, and the 27-year-old is already impressing during their new team’s offseason workouts.
“Now he’s healthy, so now he has a full offseason under his belt. It’s great having Artie here,” Hurt told reporters per SI.com’s Corbin K. Smith. “He’s a Miami guy – I love Hurricanes – so it’s good having him in the building. But he’s doing a really nice job.”
Burns has a ways to go before he can secure a starting cornerback job, and he’ll be facing plenty of competition. Sidney Jones has come back to play for Seattle, and general manager John Schneider drafted a pair of cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft in Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen.
Still, if Burns is healthy and continues to impress in training camp and the preseason, he’ll be a favorite to earn one of the starting cornerback jobs.