The 2018 version of the Seahawks’ secondary will look much different than past iterations in Seattle. Only two members of the Super Bowl-winning Legion Of Boom remain, with stalwarts Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor now gone. The Seahawks also parted ways with holdovers DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane at the cornerback position. Pundits have predicted the departure of Chancellor alongside the holdout of Earl Thomas will hit the Seahawks safety depth hard in 2018.
Without a doubt, Seattle has suffered a big loss in experience and talent in the safety corps, but the cupboard is by no means bare. Waiting in the wings are two promising second-year players along with two veterans, both of whom have several career starts under their belts. The group may look quite different this season, but there is still plenty of reason for optimism.
#29 Earl Thomas, Free Safety, 5-10, 202 pounds:
Yes, E.T. has stated he will not play a down for Seattle until he gets a new deal, though it would be a major shock to see him actually sit out for the entire season. He may very well end up getting traded, but for now, we are still calling him the week one starter at free safety. When healthy, he is an eraser in the middle of the field and is capable of playing at an All-Pro level. Read what the Seahawks’ options are for dealing with his holdout here.
Earl Thomas ranked among the top safeties in coverage grade last season pic.twitter.com/7dM481vT4F
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 18, 2018
#33 Tedric Thompson Free Safety, 6-0, 204 pounds:
After garnering only two defensive snaps for the ‘Hawks in 2017, Thompson will now be expected to step into the void left by Earl Thomas’ holdout. He will soon find himself out on an island as the last line of defense and the Seahawks’ “center-fielder”. Fortunately, this won’t be a new situation for the second-year player. During his time with the University of Colorado, he was responsible for routinely covering the entire deep middle of the field for the Buffaloes, very similar to the predominant cover-3 scheme ran by Seattle.
With good long-speed and solid coverage instincts, Tedric will help ease the loss of Thomas in the secondary. Thompson has spent the majority of training camp running with the “ones” at the free safety spot and seems to be well ahead of Mo Alexander for the starting job. Speaking to ESPN 710’s Brock and Salk prior to their first preseason game of 2018, Seahawks’ Head Coach Pete Carroll called Thompson “the standout of training camp”. In Seattle’s preseason opener against Indianapolis, Tedric displayed good range, making plays in the run game from his deep-center spot while racking up three tackles.
#30 Bradley McDougald, Free / Strong Safety, 6-1, 215 pounds:
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Signed as an unrestricted free agent last season from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McDougald wound up starting nine games for the Seahawks in 2017. Filling in at strong safety after Kam Chancellor went down to injury, Bradley racked up 75 tackles and four passes defensed. Seattle was so pleased with his performance that they re-signed McDougald to a three-year deal worth $13.95 million this past offseason. With 45 career starts in his five NFL seasons, Bradley will provide the veteran leadership of the group during Thomas’ absence. Armed with good range and size, McDougald has the versatility to play single-high safety or near the line of scrimmage. He has seen reps at both safety positions throughout training camp. Strong safety seems to be his most natural fit. He’s been solid in covering opposing tight ends and excels in the run game. Football Outsiders ranked Bradley as the fifth-best safety in the league at stopping the run with a 63 percent stop-rate.
— PFF SEA Seahawks (@PFF_Seahawks) July 2, 2018
#35 Maurice Alexander, Free Safety, 6-1, 220 pounds:
A former starter for the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle brought Alexander in on a one-year deal this past March. With experience at both the strong and free safety spots, Maurice provides valuable depth at a thin position for the ‘Hawks. A better fit at free safety. Has missed time recently with a hip flexor injury.
#42 Delano Hill, Strong Safety, 6-1, 216 pounds:
Another member of the Seahawks’ promising 2017 draft class. Having good size and great speed (ran a 4.47-forty), Hill is expected to be a big contributor on special teams as well as being the top backup at strong safety. A true box-safety, Hill’s strong suit is playing near the line of scrimmage. It would not be a surprise to see him get snaps as Seattle’s fourth-linebacker in their 4-4-3 alignment in running situations. If Seattle rolls McDougald over to the deep/free safety spot, Hill can step into the role formerly held by Kam Chancellor. At this point in his career Delano is much better in the run game than in coverage. Hill could see expanded playing time as the season wears on.
#38 T.J. Mutcherson, 5-10, 197 pounds:
Mutcherson came to Seattle on a one-year deal worth $480,000 after impressing in the Seahawks’ May rookie try-outs. A former two-year starter with the University of Central Florida Golden Knights, T.J. entered the league in 2017 as an undrafted free-agent with the Houston Texans. Mutcherson was waived by Houston prior to the start of the year and has not yet appeared in a NFL game. Merely a depth-signing, T.J. is unlikely to make the 53-man roster.