Seattle Seahawks Position Breakdown: Safety

NFL News And RumorsAnalyst IMay 30, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 9:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals fights to make a catch against Deon Grant #24 of the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field December 9, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. The ball fell incomplete. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Starters:

Deon Grant, SS

Grant came to Seattle during the 2007 off-season when they signed him to a massive six-year, $31.6 million dollar deal. At the time he was the third highest paid S in the league.

During his two years in Seattle he has been a solid, averaging 78 tackles, and 2.5 INT’s per season. He has great athletic ability and possesses the leadership the Seahawks secondary sorely lacked before his arrival.

In addition to his leadership qualities he is also a great cover man who hits extremely hard. His tackles sometimes draw comparisons to hard-hitting Bengal’s S Roy Williams.

He played the majority of 2008 with a torn hamstring insisted on toughing it. The result was posting a career high 79 tackles, along with eight pass deflections and two INT’s. He has contributed to a bi-polar Seahawks secondary that relinquished the fewest passing TD’s in 2007 (15), but also finished 2008 dead last in passing defense (259.3 YPG).

If healthy Grant can play at a Pro Bowl level, stepping up his play would go a ways to revitalizing the leagues worse pass defense from 2008.

So far he has done what the Seahawks have asked of him, and earns his big pay-check (FA’s are overpaid, but still…).

Brian Russell, FS

Russell was also brought in along with Grant in 2007 to help stabilize the Seahawks secondary. He now serves as the scapegoat of the Seahawks porous 2008 output.

I tend to think criticizing one player for a units failure is unfair, and find it puzzling it is even Russell. The entire secondary suffered from mediocrity in 2008, and lets not forget this was the exact same unit that gave up the leagues fewest TD’s in 2007.

Russell was just “one of” the contributors to 2008’s horrible pass defense. Despite his scapegoat status, he only finished with six less tackles then fellow S Deon Grant (72).

His responsibility on the field is to be the field general, and that has brought about mixed results. He is not the fastest S and is often burned by faster WR’s. He is a solid tackler, and makes up for his lack of speed by keeping plays in front of him with the great angles he takes in pursuit of the ball carrier.

With the heaps of criticism flung in Russell’s direction he should be out to prove he can still play at a high level. A player with something to prove always performs better, Russell should be no different.

The Best Of The Rest

Jordan Babineaux, S

He warrants the nickname “Big Play Babs” with his knack for making game changing plays. A prime example is in the 2006 Wild Card game when he made a shoestring tackle of Tony Romo when the QB botched a field goal snap and was on his way to instead scoring a TD.

Bab’s is a as good a backup as you can find, he could be a starter on several teams if he was to ever test the market. He recorded 60 tackles in 2008 despite only starting one game.

He has a good blend of size, speed, hard hitting, and pass coverage abilities. He could edge out Brian Russell for the starting job with a good training camp.

CJ Wallace, S

Wallace has tremendous upside and made the roster as an undrafted rookie FA prior to the 2007 season. With Deon Grant locked in, and Russell/Bab’s battling it out for the other starting spot, it does not appear Wallace will crack the starting lineup.

He is still a young, raw player who needs some seasoning before he steps into a starting capacity. For now he is a solid Special Teams player who contributed to a much-improved unit in 2008. Look for him to be a sponge and absorb everything he can from veterans like Grant, and Pro Bowl CB Marcus Trufant. The future is bright for this emerging prospect.


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