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The Seattle Seahawks have made a flurry of changes to the cornerback position over the last couple weeks. A few familiar faces remain, but the team has almost totally upended their depth chart at a critical defensive spot with days to go before the 2021 season begins. Unless you have been obsessively following every move the franchise makes, it’s easy to have missed something in all the excitement.
Let’s take a moment to reset and examine each member of the remodeled cornerback room. Here is a look at the history, measurables and most essential numbers to know for each of them.
Tre Brown (rookie)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Fourth-round draft pick Tre Brown is a serious departure from the usual mold of larger Pete Caroll cornerbacks. He's just a shade under 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds with a 75½" wingspan and only has 30⅜" arms. Brown does offer serious athleticism, though. He ran a 4.42s 40-yard dash at his pro day at Oklahoma and posted a 38" vertical. It's unclear where he stands on the depth chart right now, especially since he's dealing with a knee injury. There is currently no timeline for his return.
D.J. Reed (second season in Seattle)
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The Seahawks picked Reed up off waivers from the 49ers last August. Like Brown, he's another smaller-type corner. His height (5-foot-9 and 1/4 inches) only puts him in the 12th percentile at his position. Nevertheless, Reed thrived once he became a starter in Week 8 last season. He acquitted himself well, posting two interceptions and only allowing a 75.8 passer rating in coverage. Reed appears to be the team's best option to start on the right side.
Tre Flowers (fourth season)
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Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Flowers is the biggest (6-foot-3, 202 pounds) and most-experienced corner on Seattle's roster. His performance has been up-and-down since he was drafted, though. After a rough rookie year, Flowers made the sophomore leap with a strong 2019 season. However, he regressed a bit in 2020, allowing a 77.5% completion percentage and a 105.7 passer rating. Flowers is listed as the No. 2 option on the depth chart behind D.J. Reed at RCB.
Sidney Jones (traded from Jaguars)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Jones (six-foot, 186 pounds, 31½" arms, 9⅜" hands) was a standout defender during his time at Washington, where he posted eight interceptions and six forced fumbles in just three seasons. He's been equally productive in the pros, totaling 14 picks and 19 passes defensed in 31 games. Availability has been an issue, though. He's missed a total of 18 games over the last three seasons. Seattle acquired Jones from Jacksonville in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick last week.
Nigel Warrior (claimed off waivers)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Another new face around these parts belongs to Nigel Warrior, who was claimed off waiver from the Ravens recently. He is on the larger side, coming into Seattle listed as 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds. He also comes equipped with 32 5/8" arms. Warrior offers versatility, as well: he played safety at Tennessee and in Baltimore he shined as a physical press cornerback during the preseason.
Blessuan Austin (free agent signing)
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The latest addition to the group is Blessuan Austin, who was waived by the Jets just a few days ago. While it hasn't been confirmed by the team yet, Seattle is reported to be signing him. Thanks to two ACL tears, Austin (6-foot-1, 198 pounds, 32.5” arms) only played 25 games at Rutgers, but he still managed to post four interceptions and 18 passes defensed. After getting picked in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft, Austin eventually became a starter in New York and proved passable in coverage. He has missed 18 tackles in two years, though.
Mike Jackson (practice squad)
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
In addition to those above on the 53-man roster, Seattle is also carrying a couple cornerbacks on their practice squad heading into Week 1. One o them is Jackson, (6-foot-1, 210 pounds, 32½" arms, 77¼" wingspan) who played his college ball at Miami (FL). Dallas picked him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft but cut him before the season began. Jackson has been traded several times since.
John Reid (traded from Texans, practice squad)
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Seahawks traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Texans for Reid, who comes from the D.J. Reed/Tre Brown end of the pool when it comes to size. His measurables aren't ideal. Reid is listed at 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds with 30⅛" arms. In 13 games with Houston last season he was targeted 11 times, giving up eight completions (72.7%), one touchdown and a 125.2 passer rating. Seattle waived Reid then later added him to the practice squad.
Analysis: Trouble could be coming
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
After breaking down the numbers a few clear trends emerge. For one thing, there's been a steady widening of the physical traits Seattle's coaches are looking for, beginning with Reed. While there are still several long, lanky types around, there's more of a willingness to give shorter DBs a chance. Another major factor is this group's relative inexperience. Overall, this is a young and unproven position group, which could be particularly problematic in a division with a couple of heavyweight offensive playcallers. The fact that the Seahawks have been so busy this close to the season doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. That doesn't mean they should stop looking for help, though. A veteran who knows the score could be particularly useful. For what it's worth, both Quinton Dunbar and Richard Sherman are still available. [vertical-gallery id=74203]