Seahawks cornerback Shaq Griffin, a third-round pick, has one of the best football minds of any young corner the Seahawks have had in a long time, according to defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
This is the time of eternal optimism around football teams. Everyone is in great shape. Everyone looks good. Everyone is poised for a big year.
This is not the time for being able to tell too much because there is no tackling, no contact, no real football being played. So keep in that mind.
But with that being said, here are a five things we learned from defensive coordinator Kris Richard and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell:
1, Richard had high praise for rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
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“He’s got probably one of the best corner minds that we’ve had for a young guy around here,” Richard said. “That’s just in regards to leverage, positioning, the understanding of our coverages and where we need him to be. He’s picked it up fairly quickly.”
What that means for Griffin’s playing time, his production this coming season — who knows? But that’s a good place to start, especially since the Seahawks demand a lot from their corners.
Just about every corner that comes to Seattle has to learn a new technique, and often times it goes against much of what they’ve been taught, not to much mention their basic instincts.
Depending on DeShawn Shead’s health, Griffin could play a big role this coming season.
2, Pleasant surprise: the young safeties.
That’s what Richard said. He mentioned specifically Delano Hill, a third-round pick out of Michigan, and Tedric Thompson, a fourth-round pick from Colorado.
They shouldn’t play much this year, if at all, because the Seahawks have Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and Richard said Bradley McDougald would back up both of them. But it’s not hard to see those two as the safeties of the future, or at least as possible safeties of the future.
“Those guys have looked like they’ve been playing with each other for a very long time,” Richard said. “Disguising, moving around, doing all that cool stuff. They picked it up really fast.”
3, Speaking of Bradley McDougald, expect the Seahawks to use him in a variety of specified roles.
That’s not a shocker, but it will be interesting to see how, exactly, the Seahawks use McDougald, a veteran safety who has been a starter.
A guess: The Seahawks use McDougald like they talked about using Brandon Browner last offseason. He can be a guy who can match up against tight ends or bigger receivers. This is what Pete Carroll said to 710 ESPN about Browner last year: “We’re going to play him at safety in base downs and then in nickel, we’re going to use him to match up in different spots to play. So we may be able to develop a really unique role for him.”
Obviously, McDougald is injury insurance for Chancellor or Thomas, but as long as those two are healthy, the Seahawks are going to find ways to get McDougald on the field.
4, The Seahawks keep talking about how unique Malik McDowell is.
McDowell, the Seahawks’ second-round pick, still doesn’t have a specific home. Richard said he could play defensive end or three-technique (a defensive tackle). But wherever McDowell ends up, Richard said he would bring “a level of athleticism there that it’s been a while since we’ve had around here.”
With young players, the Seahawks typically like to pick one specific role for a guy early and then build out from there (Think Tyler Lockett, who was pegged as a returner as a rookie until he proved he could handle more duty as a receiver).
So McDowell might get the same blueprint, even if it’s not quite clear yet what that blueprint will look like come the start of the season.
5, New quarterback Austin Davis is a ‘pro’
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke for the first time since the Seahawks signed Davis, and that’s the first impression he gave: That Davis is a pro.
That’s one of the reasons the Seahawks liked Davis. He is experienced, he knows the league, he gives a counter balance to the raw upside of second-year backup Trevone Boykin.
With Davis, you know what you’re going to get. With Boykin, he’s a wild card. The Seahawks have to decide which one holds more weight at the end of training camp.