The Seattle Seahawks are fresh off a 12-4 season and are preparing to fight for the NFC West crown once again in front of the 12th Man. The team has added multiple players to improve its chances, including members of the secondary. However, one outlet currently believes that the Seahawks only have the 18th-best roster in the NFL.
CBS Sports released a list ranking all 32 NFL rosters by talent level ahead of the 2021 season. Analyst Jordan Dajani focused on the major moves by each team and one or two figures to watch entering the regular season. For the Seahawks, he highlighted the addition of Gabe Jackson on the offensive line before listing the defense as a weak spot.
“The Seahawks again should have a good offense with Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but the defense is going to have to be better to compete in this division,” Dajani wrote in part. “They ranked No. 22 last year, but with stars like Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams, you can’t count them out. Still, I think they are lacking at cornerback and could take a step backwards in 2021. The Seahawks have some big names on roster, but they don’t always rise to the occasion or maintain the consistency that’s needed.”
Dajani listed the Seahawks at 18 overall, between the Saints (17) and the Patriots (19). NFC West foes the 49ers landed at 16 while the Cardinals nearly cracked the top-10 at 11. The Los Angeles Rams received the best grade in the division with the fourth position.
The Seahawks Focused on Secondary During the Offseason
Following a loss to the Rams in the first round of the playoffs, the Seahawks lost some key pieces. Standout cornerback Shaquill Griffin departed for the Jaguars during free agency while Quinton Dunbar headed to the Lions, forcing the team to address the position in multiple ways.
The Seahawks used the 137th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to add another cornerback ahead of training camp. The team selected Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown, a 5-foot-10-inch defensive back with the reputation of a “maniacal worker.” The former college standout doesn’t have the height and length of past cornerbacks such as Richard Sherman, but head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that he will compete for a starting position on the outside.
Similarly, the Seahawks claimed cornerback Saivion Smith in early May following his release by the Cowboys. The former Alabama defender is entering his third season as a pro and will compete for snaps after appearing in six games during the 2020 season.
The Seahawks did not simply address the secondary using the draft and the waiver wire. The team also made a series of transactions early in free agency, a list that includes bringing back corner Damarious Randall. The veteran appeared in 10 games during his first season with the Seahawks as a rotational player.
The Seahawks kicked off the new league year by signing Ahkello Witherspoon, a former third-round pick in 2017 who spent the first four years of his career with the 49ers. Witherspoon had 117 combined tackles in the Bay Area, as well as four interceptions and a touchdown return. Now he will face off with his former team while trying to bolster the Seahawks’ defense.
Finally, the Seahawks agreed to a deal with Pierre Desir, who spent 2020 with multiple teams. The fourth-round pick from 2014 has played for five teams in his career, intercepting eight passes and registering 259 combined tackles.
These New Additions Will Compete for Snaps in 2021
All of the new additions won’t necessarily help bring the secondary back to previous levels of glory. The coaching staff will first have to examine all of the players during training camp and the limited preseason games to determine which group will make the most impact on the field.
Tre Flowers and DJ Reed will likely take two of the starting spots in the secondary after combining for 15 starts in the 2020 season. Though Witherspoon, Jayson Stanley, and Linden Stephens will all compete for snaps.
Another player could potentially shake up the roster if he decides to sign with the Seahawks. Richard Sherman, a former member of the Legion of Boom, remains a free agent after spending three seasons with the 49ers. He is reportedly “open” to reuniting with the Seahawks. Although ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Sherman is looking for a “decent contract” instead of the league minimum.