With four picks in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL draft, significant changes are ahead for the Seattle Seahawks. One name to watch is veteran cornerback Michael Jackson who Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine labeled among the top NFL players on the hot seat heading into the draft. Jackson started all 17 games for Seattle last season, but the NFL analyst believes the defender is in danger of being benched if the Seahawks select a cornerback early.
“Seattle is going to have to find out if Jackson was a diamond in the rough the whole time or if his success in 2022 was an aberration,” Ballentine wrote on April 19, 2023.
“It isn’t often that a fifth-round corner has a breakout season after three years of toiling away on the bench. If the Seahawks don’t buy his long-term outlook, they are going to have two opportunities to add to their secondary in Round 1 with the fifth and 20th selections.
“They’ll likely have their pick of the best corners in the class at No. 5. Someone like Maryland’s Deonte Banks would make sense at No. 20. Any first-rounder would put Jackson’s starting role into question immediately.”
Coby Bryant & Tre Brown Could Also Be Competing to Earn a Starting Cornerback Spot
Seattle signed Jackson as an exclusive rights free agent on April 17 allowing the team to retain the veteran, per The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. Jackson posted 75 tackles, three tackles for loss, 12 pass deflections and one interception in 2022. The corner’s play earned a modest 60.2 grade from Pro Football Focus last season.
It is not just rookies who Jackson could potentially be fighting off for his starting gig coming training camp. Coby Bryant and Tre Brown, who has battled injuries throughout his first two NFL seasons, are among the corners who could be competing against Jackson ahead of Week 1.
Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez & Georgia’s Kelee Ringo Are Among the Corners the Seahawks Could Target in the NFL Draft
The Seahawks will have options if the team opts to take a serious look at a cornerback early. Some of the corners Seattle may be considering include Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo.
Tariq Woolen appears to be the Seahawks lockdown corner of the future. Despite the buzz about cornerback prospects, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll emphasized that the team is in “pretty good shape” at the position. Carroll also mentioned Jackson as a player the team has confidence in going into next season.
“I think with coming back off of this first year of seeing Tariq and Michael play together, we feel pretty good about that and knowing that Tre didn’t have a chance to really contribute much,” Carroll explained during an April 19 press conference. “Coby’s addition as well, we’re in pretty good shape right there and they’re going to get way better.
“They’re going to improve a great deal, and they played pretty good this past year in the first real go around, so I feel pretty good about that spot. We’re always looking to add, but at least we know what we got coming back.”