Seahawks Host Workout for Established Veteran Defender

Getty MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: George Iloka #28 of the Minnesota Vikings puts on his helmet for warm ups before the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 24, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

It appears that general manager John Schneider isn’t done tweaking the Seattle Seahawks roster prior to training camp. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but the team did bring in an intriguing veteran safety for a workout to play a different position.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted that former Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings safety George Iloka flew out to Seattle to work out with the Seahawks. What’s interesting is that the veteran safety was asked to work out as a coverage linebacker instead of a safety, per Garafolo.

The two sides haven’t struck a deal at the time of writing this, but that could happen in the near future if the Seahawks coaching staff liked what they saw out of Iloka.


George Iloka’s NFL Career

At 32 years old, Iloka has stayed around the NFL for a decade, something that a lot of former players can’t claim. Although he’s never been a star player, Iloka has been a key contributor for whichever team he’s played on.

Iloka was taken in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. He spent his first six seasons in Cincinnati, playing in 83 games with 343 combined tackles, nine tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and nine interceptions.

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After a solid six years in Cincinnati, Iloka was released shortly before the 2018 season. He was quickly picked up by the Vikings, reuniting him with head coach Mike Zimmer, who was his former defensive coordinator with the Bengals. He appeared in all 16 games in 2018 before signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys the following offseason.

Iloka returned to the Vikings in 2020 expecting to be a veteran presence in their secondary, but a torn ACL in October prematurely ended his season. The veteran safety hasn’t played since that injury, missing the entire 2021 season as well.

The former Bengals and Vikings safety may be at the tail end of his career, but he’s hoping that he made enough of an impression with the Seahawks to keep playing a little bit longer.


Do the Seahawks Need Another Safety or Linebacker?

By working out Iloka as a coverage linebacker, the Seahawks made it clear where they are looking for help on their depth chart. However, could signing a player like Iloka give them some depth at multiple positions?

The Seahawks have a pair of inside linebackers that they feel confident in with Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton to be starters. However, the depth drops off pretty significantly behind those two, with free agents in Nick Bellore and Joel Iyiegbuniwe serving as backups.

If the Seahawks are looking for someone to step up in sub packages as a coverage linebacker, Iloka would make some sense. He’s a 6’4″ safety, and according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Iloka has allowed a passer rating of just 80.4 in coverage over his career.

While Iloka was asked to work out as a coverage linebacker, he could also serve as a solid backup at safety if signed. Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs are a strong safety duo, but Iloka could compete with the likes of Josh Jones, Marquise Blair, and Ryan Neal for snaps if one of the starters goes down.

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