Seahawks’ two new Auburn cornerbacks could shake things up in the Emerald City

The Seahawks obviously re-tooled a lot of stuff with their defense over the offseason. Gone was Pete Carroll, and the fumes of the Legion of Boom. In came former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who got career years out of more than half of his players last season. Seattle could certainly use some of that; their ranking of 28th in Defensive DVOA in 2023 after ranking 22nd in 2022 might have been more than team ownership was willing to accept.

So, onto Macdonald’s defense, which doesn’t really have an established type, and comes at you from everywhere. First-round defensive tackle Byron Murphy II from Texas might have the tools to be for the Seahawks what Justin Madubuike was for Macdonald’s Ravens last year, but as far as the new guys with interesting profiles and potential, there are two cornerbacks from Auburn ready to write their names in something — Nehemiah Pritchett with the 136th overall pick in the fifth round, and D.J. James with the 192nd pick in the sixth.

As Macdonald said after both players were selected, the 6′ 0⅛”, 190-pound Pritchett projects more as an outside cornerback, which would allow Macdonald to keep 2023 first-round pick Devon Witherspoon as an inside/outside guy, if that’s what he wants to do. In terms of sticky coverage style and aggressive mentality, Pritchett does hearken back to the LOB.

At 5′ 11⅝” and 175 pounds, James is more of that inside/outside player. Most of his 10 pass deflections last season came outside, and he was particularly ridiculous when defending fade balls. But the speed to match routes and the ease of transitions does make you think that a fuller-time switch might not be too tough.

“Come in and compete, that’s the theme for the whole draft class,” Macdonald said of the plan for the new cornerbacks. “Nehemiah is probably more of an outside guy. Definitely early both guys on special teams we anticipate to come in, make a huge impact for us. DJ probably both inside and outside, but, come in, compete, we’ll figure it out. Kind of like the offensive line, defensive line. We got a lot of reps to be had out there, so it’ll hash itself out.”

Asked about the scheme fit for Pritchett and James, Schneider deferred to the overall athletic traits as opposed to how somebody attacks in Cover-1. Which, as malleable as Macdonald’s coverage concepts can be, makes a lot of sense.

“It wasn’t necessarily scheme, quite honestly. It was just the skill set with Pritchett, the speed. D.J., he can play nickel, he can play outside, too, so it wasn’t necessarily a scheme evaluation. They’re both talented cover guys. There’s things both of them need to clean up and once they get here, they’ll understand that and they’ll have a clear vision for where they’re headed.”

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire