Seattle Seahawks Position Battle: Cornerback

NFL News And RumorsAnalyst IJuly 16, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 26:  Ken Lucas #21 of the Seattle Seahawks intercepts this pass in the end zone against Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field December 26, 2004 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Seahawks' pass defense was an obscure abomination during the 2008 season. They finished ranked dead last in passing defense, yielding 259.3 yards per game. They hit rock bottom, and anything will be an improvement over last season's campaign.

This is a stark contrast to the 2007 secondary that gave up the league's fewest passing TDs (15).

Marcus Trufant is a lock at No. 1 CB. He plays at a Pro-Bowl level and is in the upper echelon of the league's CBs. He played the majority of the 2008 season with a cast on his wrist, and was still moderately productive, tallying 64 tackles, one INT, and 13 pass deflections.

His INTs dropped because teams rarely threw in his direction last season.

The Seahawks brought back former CB Ken Lucas in free agency after the 2009 draft. He was the starter opposite Marcus Trufant during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He left for a lucrative six-year/$36 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, and was recently a salary cap casualty.

Lucas has been practicing with the Seahawks' first-team defense thus far in offseason mini-camps.

He is a big, physical CB (6', 210 lbs.) who can match up with bigger WRs like Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. Tall, physical WRs have made mincemeat of Seattle’s small CBs Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings.

Wilson showed flashes of play-making ability in 2008. He picked off four passes, recorded 78 tackles, and forced three fumbles (although two INTs came in one game against the Jets in week 16).

He showed great improvement over the 2007 campaign in which his only stat-line was seven tackles. Wilson was sometimes burned by bigger WRs and was a non-factor when it came to jump balls (WR and CB go at it for possession).

Wilson will compete for the No. 2 CB job with FA addition Ken Lucas. The job appears to be Lucas’ to lose. I do not expect Wilson to roll over and die, so look for him to give everything he’s got to retain his starting status.

Kelly Jennings was the Seahawks first round pick in 2006 and is labeled a bust by many Seahawks fans. He only has one INT in his three-year career.

In the 2007 playoffs, Jennings was burned by Chicago Bears WR Bernard Berrian for a 68-yard TD pass. The Seahawks would go on to lose the game 27-24 in OT. In 2008, he repeatedly got burned and outmatched by WRs and was benched in favor of CB Josh Wilson.

Jennings will most likely be the Seahawks' dime back. Wilson made tremendous strides in 2008, while Jennings regressed in the same time span. I don’t see the disappointing former first-rounder beating out the loser of the Lucas/Jennings battle for the No. 3 job.

The top CB position appears to be locked up. The true battle will be the No. 2 CB job between Lucas and Wilson. The loser will determine how the depth chart dominos fall for the nickel and dime slots.

The secondary has to step it up in 2009, or it could be another long, disappointing year for the donners of the bright green.