The Seattle Seahawks have had some misses over their last few draft classes under general manager John Schneider. The team can chalk up another early draft pick as a loss this season after parting ways with one of their recent second-round picks.
ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler tweeted shortly before the deadline for teams to get down to 53 players that the Seahawks have officially released safety Marquise Blair. Known for his versatility, there just wasn’t a place where Blair fit better than guys who had specialized roles on Seattle’s roster.
The Seahawks had to make a number of difficult roster decisions to get down to 53 players. Wide receiver Freddie Swain was let go despite modest production in his first two seasons with 38 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns.
With Blair released and Ugo Amadi traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, safety Josh Jones is expected to have a much larger role in the secondary in 2022. A former second-round pick by the Green Bay Packers, Jones started to flash late last season, and has earned a spot that should see some playing time this year.
Marquise Blair Should Find a New Team in 2022
Being cut is one of the toughest moments an NFL player can go through. The bright side for Blair, however, is that the 25-year-old should still have plenty of football left ahead of him.
Blair was an Ohio all-state star at Wooster High School before attending a junior college in Dodge City Community College. He was a first-team All-NJCAA All-American as a sophomore, racking up 100 total tackles, with three sacks, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles.
That production helped Blair catch the eye of a number of FBS schools, but he ultimately enrolled at the University of Utah to play for the Utes. His versatility was on display for the program as a junior, starting games at free safety, strong safety, and even a game as outside linebacker.
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Blair was a second-team All-Pac-12 player as a senior, and with a 6’2″, 195-pound frame he became an intriguing draft prospect for NFL teams. He was selected with the 47th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, where he played his first three seasons.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Blair only played 412 snaps over his three seasons with the team. He still produced in those snaps, however, racking up 49 combined tackles with three pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
With experience as a safety and slot defensive back, Blair’s size and versatility should help him find a new team in short order.
Expectations Are High for Seattle’s Young DBs
The Seahawks may have parted ways with the likes of Amadi and Blair, but the team is confident that its younger defensive backs in Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen can have a huge impact on the team’s secondary for the coming years.
Bryant was the other cornerback with Sauce Gardner at Cincinnati. Despite Gardner being the top pick, Bryant was the Jim Thorpe Award winner given to the top defensive back in college football. With good size and football IQ, Bryant was a fourth-round pick who the Seahawks think can quickly become a full-time starter.
Woolen brings a completely different skill-set to the cornerback position. Originally a wide receiver at UTSA, Woolen moved to the cornerback position in 2018. He turned heads at the NFL Scouting Combine, coming in at 6’4″ and 205 pounds while posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds and a vertical jump of 42 inches.
The Seahawks landed the raw but uber-athletic cornerback in the fifth round. Woolen and Bryant may be Day 3 draft picks, but the Seahawks have high expectations for both rookies.