In the live chats that Hawks' beat reporters often do, people always ask about the Hawks lack of depth at the CB position. Eric Wiliams of the Tacoma News Tribune has indicated on several occasions that he thinks the Hawks have more depth there than most people give them credit for. He has mentioned a couple of young players named Marcus Brown and Josh Pinkard that have a shot at competing for a roster spot next year. I took note of this and did a little research on Brown and Pinkard to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Josh Pinkard is a USC product that has most likely been given a chance because of his prior affiliation with Pete Carroll. He played six years at USC: he was given two years of a eligibility back because he sustained major injuries in 2006 and 2007, tearing the ACL in each knee (on separate occasions).
When he did play, though, he was a very good corner. In 2008, in 12 games, he had 39 tackles, 3 deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles and an interception on his way to an Honorable Mention for All Pac-10 honors. In 2009 he improved on his numbers, managing 59 tackles, 9 passes broken up, and 2 interceptions.
According to fftoolbox.com's scouting report:
Strengths: Has a good height and the frame to get bigger. His size allows him to go one-on-one with taller receivers. Is an aggressive player with good instincts to play the run. Is smooth and has good initial burst.
Weaknesses: Injury plagued. Lacks top speed (4.66est) and a second gear. Limited range. Will have trouble against smaller and quicker slot WRs. Must improve recognition skills. Effort seems inconsistent. Lacks great lower body strength. Does not shift into gear while backpedaling. Lacks experience playing the position.
And per NFL.com's Combine analysis page:
Strengths: Pinkard is a monster at the cornerback position, combining great height with a muscular build. Reads the quarterback's eyes and anticipates in the passing game. Has reliable hands and good body control to make interceptions. Fierce competitor who seeks out contact in run support.
Weaknesses: Does not have adequate speed and quickness. Lacks the hip fluidity to stick with receivers in-and-out of their cuts and is a liability in man coverage. Takes too many false steps and overall technique is sloppy. Does not give a good shot when tackling, despite his size. Suffered a serious knee injury at USC.
Take what you will from those reports.
He had managed to play without re-injuring his knees until the finale in 2009 when he tore his ACL for the third time (2nd time in left knee). Before this injury, he had begun to make his way onto NFL teams' radars with his size (6'1, 215) and versatility (he played both safety and corner in school), but as he was rehabbing during the combine and into the draft season, he went from being a probable mid-round selection to going undrafted. To me, Pinkard is sort of similar to Walter Thurmond; a player with some potential whose stock sank because of injury concerns. Carroll has given him another chance and so long as he can stay healthy, he can provide some depth at the CB position. He certainly fits the profile as a big, physical type player with some upside and versatility.
While Josh Pinkard may lack elite speed, Marcus Brown does not. The 6'0, 190 lb Arkansas St product ran a 4.44 against the wind and 4.37 with it at his pro day. I remember Eric Williams saying in a recent chat that Brown could be the fastest player on the Seahawks. The combination of speed and size is no doubt the reason the Hawks chose to sign him when he went undrafted last year.
He's more than just an athletic freak though. For Arkansas State in 2008, he recorded 57 tackles, forced two fumbles, and returned one for a TD. In 2009, he made 50 tackles, broke up 5 passes, and forced one fumble. He's got the physical measurables and is certainly fast enough to play in the NFL. Let's see if he can develop the ball and coverage skills to make an impact for the Seahawks.
These two players, along with Brandon Browner give the Hawks some depth at the position outside of Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond and we could see one or two of them on the Hawks 53 man roster come September. Depending on who the Hawks draft, injuries, and whether they bring Kelly Jennings back, you could even see one of these guys starting in 2011.