Devon Witherspoon isn't the first defensive back that Seattle has made a huge investment in: Seaside Joe 1529
Jalen Carter made so much sense for Sea at 5, the problem always was that if he fell to 5, he fell for a reason (The cards as well as we do know the value of 10 years of Aaron Donald) and therefore that reason would also be a problem for Seattle, particularly after all these guys lived through Malik McDowell. After that, no option made sense (and similarly for that reason no one was going to trade up unless it was to get AR after he fell out of the top 4)... until Seaside Joe brought up DW. Light went on... everything about him screamed top -10 guy in a way it didn't for any other reasonably available person (other than Carter but he was clearly off the board, one way or the other).
I noticed the rest of the NFL seems to values CB's pretty high up the food chain. This year 4 in the first round, 4 in the second. 4 in the first round last year with two drafted 3 and 4. What I find interesting is that there's some pretty good defensive pedigree coaching up these young guys. Two ex 49er DC's to name a few (Carroll, Martindale). Seattle has always built from the back forward on their defense. Maybe that's because it takes time to develop young talent at that skill position. Today's NFL passing game and versatile RB's calls for special attention to the seondary. Pete understood that in the 2010-13 era more so than others.
Many people questioned the drafting of Sherman in the 5th round when Seattle already had Walter Thurman (2010 4th rnd). Seattle of course didn't stop there in 3 years they had added Browner from the CFL, Jeron Johnson, Byron Maxwell and Deshawn Shead. Let's not forget Thomas in the first round in 2010 and Chancellor in the 5th in 2010.
Seattle has had a dry spell on drafting the back end, but if at first you don't succeed; well you know the addage.
Seattle turned that corner with trading for Diggs in 19, Adams trade in 20, Tre Brown in 21 draft (4th), Bryant in 22 (4th), Woolen (5th), Jackson (2019 5th round) signed to Seattle's PS in 2021, Starter in 2022, and this year adding Love (FA) at safety/slot, Witherspoon #5 1st round.
Seattle finally has something they haven't had in their defensive backfield since 2013; depth. A 17 game season requires next man up excellence or you don't go to the big party. It's no mistake or mystery Seattle clearly has adjusted their roster decisions accordingly. From depth at RB, to PR and secondary. Seattle offensive line is now has more depth than it has for many years especially at center and guard. The defensive line has been the real sticking point for many pundits in this years draft. I think Seattle may surprise in 2023 how much better the front 7 will actually be with the FA, Draft and UDFA adds.
Seattle finally having draft capital the last few years and exiting Wilson's contract has put them in a place to be competitive with many areas of depth added. Some better than others granted, but a move forward for the 23 and 24 seasons.
Seattle's primary concern it appears to be the same focus they had in 2010-14. Being competive in December and January being even more important than just September.
To me, if you have a high draft pick, it HAS to be used to get a player that tilts the field. That’s apparently a concept that some analysts just can’t wrap their heads around.
Love your analysis SSJ. As others have mentioned, you explain why and how you come to a conclusion. That’s so rare.
I’m curious how these type of “why I said what I said and why I was right” type posts do in your readership metrics, because I, for one, ‘effing love them!!
One of the reasons thousands (...and thousands) of people subscribe and so many pay for your content is that your analysis is not only very astute (and accurate), but that you also show us “how” you got there - which is amazing and makes all the difference, at least for me, because I feel I’m included in the analysis process...
For years, I struggled to reason why some analyst’s opinion was any more valuable than another’s (or even my own, for that matter), and it usually came down to, “well, this reputed sports outlet backs them, and they say they’ve watched film, so... I guess they know what they’re talking about?”
However, I’m also backed by a (semi-)reputable outlet (myself), and I can watch film, too - but it doesn’t mean that I’m qualified to know what I’m seeing... and unfortunately - and based upon their own track records - I may lump a lot of other “analysts” in this same category...
But not you, Kenneth! Thanks for bringing us along on this journey with you on this thing that we all love!
I'm excited to see what our defensive schemes are for the season, and yes that's schemes plural. Good personnel additions to better fit a 3-Man front with a regular 2 OLB in wide edge support. Behind that it gets really interesting how we're going to set-up Wagner, Bush and the DB's. The expected, "traditional" 3-4 will make appearance sure, but I feel we're going to see a lot of what i'm going to term Palm Tree Defence . That's a 3 Man DL, then a strung out OLB/ILB with one on DLine support and one on mid-level patrol pushing forwards, followed by a spread out (roots) coverage of DB's.
That'll have Witherspoon being given freedom, with Adams once he's up to speed, to come up and support that mid-field box. Diggs sat back deep on zone sweeper. Love floating around in between. Woolen utilizing his speed to flex his coverage, and a hybrid Nickel/Man Corner to sit on the #2/3 passing option. It's wild, it's potentially wide open for offences to punch clean through. But if it all comes together and clicks, it'll be total shut down and very much LoB 2: Rave Green Boogaloo.
And it's a position less/flexible style I see also being ported over to the Offence. I know DK gets placed on a the edge a lot, but with his physique and that of Dareke and the slot play of JSN you can have fun mixing up their routing between the numbers. Add in the potential pass catching skills of Charbonnet and McIntosh out of the RB set. And then you take the strong hands of Dissly and rangy reach of Fant. You can bamboozle the opposition endlessly, giving Geno a fair amount to read but balanced by surely having two straight forwards throws to make. And that's before adding in Lockett stretching the field deep (do think our WR5 needs to be a speedster and outside deep runner) and KW3's cut and burst.
Seattle like to zag when everyone else zigs. This would all match up with the roster moves being made and the coaching styles and plays we started to see last year. There' the KC style of maverick (i.e. putting a little spin and glitter on a traditional set-up because Mahomes is that level of x-factor) and then there's the Top Gun style of Maverick that clearly appeals to Pete. At the very least it'll be fun to watch, even if it all burnt down. [I just really really don't want to watch us be a "solid" or "ok" team going 8-9/9-8. I'll take a lot of losses as long as we're exciting, but with all this we could really get 11 wins and be a genuine factor]
Good article - I'll stick to my guns and still say 5 is too high for a corner, Hope I am proved wrong!
It's going to be fun to guess at, and eventually find out, how all these DBs will be utilized this season. If we assume everyone is healthy then I would expect Diggs, Woolen and Adams to play near 100% of snaps. Is Spoon definitely taking the other outside corner job, or are we a better team with MJ outside and Spoon in the slot? Is this dynamic going to evolve throughout the season? Is Coby going to challenge for playing time? What's up with Tre? He was pretty good for a minute. We might have Love and Spoon playing multiple positions within the same game. Is everyone going to stick to their side of the field as usual, or will we play matchups and have our guys following the other teams' stars? How amazing of a dime package is Diggs, Love, Adams, Spoon, Riq, and MJ/Tre/Coby? It's nice to have this depth and the snaps counts will be fascinating to track.
Great article. Completely agree ... all the not gonna take a cornerback talk was ridiculous. Talk about small sample size bias, and add in a changing NFL landscape (where CBs have become more important).
I think the drafting QB talk was pretty off base too as pointed out. The great article from John Boyle gives us some insight into the draft room. https://www.seahawks.com/news/go-with-the-board-inside-the-seahawks-draft-room-during-the-2023-nfl-draft
I think this pretty clearly shows that they had 2 guys on their board at 5 (WA and Spoon) and were already lining up a trade if both were taking and AR was there. There was no way they were ever drafting a QB at 5 (which should also not be surprising to anyone).