Heading into training camp, it’s worth taking a look at a few IDP position battles that have yet to be resolved. There is potential production available on the waiver wire depending on who wins each role. And knowing who’s competing in each battle will give you a leg-up when injuries inevitably occur.
Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom
This one may be up in the air right until the start of the season. The Legion of Boom is gone. Richard Sherman signed in San Francisco. Kam Chancellor will likely never be medically cleared to play football again due to a neck injury. Brandon Browner was just arrested on felony charges of kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment, and attempted murder…
The last surviving member of the LOB, Earl Thomas seems unsatisfied. It was widely reported after a game against Dallas, Thomas followed Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett down the tunnel and told him to, “Come get me.” In the final year of his contract, Thomas has made it known he won’t resign in Seattle next season. A trade was expected during the draft, but Seattle’s asking price was too high.
The Seahawks haven’t been sitting on their laurels. They’ve been preparing for the end of the Boom. In 2017, they signed Bradley McDougald to a one-year deal, after both Thomas and Chancellor missed time in 2016 and Seattle was woefully unprepared. McDougald is versatile enough to back up both safety spots, and that’s what he did. When Thomas missed two games, McDougald played FS. When Chancellor missed the final seven games, McDougald played SS.
During the same offseason, Seattle also drafted Delano Hill in the 3rd Round and Tedric Thompson in the 4th Round. Hill profiles to the Chancellor, SS role. Thompson, if Seattle sees him as more than just a special teamer, profiles in the FS role. The two combined for 37 defensive snaps as rookies, so we didn’t get to see them too much.
Seahawks brass liked what they saw in McDougald and added a 3-year extension to his original deal before he could hit free agency. Seattle also brought in San Fran castoff Mo Alexander. Alexander lost his starting job in LA to the alliterative 3rd Round rookie John Johnson III last season.
So how will this all play out? If Seattle can’t convince Dallas to pony up for Thomas, then Thomas will start at FS for every game he’s healthy, and McDougald will start at SS. Thomas will be Thomas, even if unhappy. McDougald averaged 7.4 total tackles in the seven games he replaced Chancellor last season. Everyone else rides the pine until an injury occurs.
If Jerry Jones sees his safety tandem get beat a few times in the preseason and desperately wants Thomas, everything shifts. McDougald would likely take over at the FS. Hill would likely step in and play SS, as he’s been getting first-team snaps in OTAs while Thomas holds out. In an incredibly small sample size of two games, when McDougald replaced Thomas, he averaged 4.5 tackles per game.
Anyone with McDougald on their roster is hoping Thomas stays in the Pacific Northwest for one more season.
At CB, 3rd Round rookie Shaquill Griffin locked down a starting spot last season and will look to improve on a solid campaign. When Sherman ended up on IR last season, it was Byron Maxwell who came in and played every snap at the opposite corner. Justin Coleman was the slot corner in his first season after coming over via trade from New England.
The only CB they’ve added in the offseason is 5th Round, converted-safety Tre Flowers out of Oklahoma State. So Maxwell is first in line to reprise his role as a starting CB. Maxwell is 30-years old at the position least forgiving of age. He’s not a long-term answer.