It’s long been known that Pete Carroll likes cornerbacks who have at least 32” arms. It’s not a “thing” that really existed up until 2011, when the Seattle Seahawks drafted the lengthy Richard Sherman in the fifth round (6’3, 32” arms) and turned him into a star, alongside a Pro Bowl season by Brandon Browner (6’3).
Here’s what former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said about cornerback length to MMQB back in 2014:
Length: “You want him to have 32- or 33-inch arms,” Quinn says. “He doesn’t have to be 6-3 or 6-4 to have length.”
One has to wonder then if Sherman’s remarkable career has sparked a change in philosophy for scouts, college head coaches, and bigger players who may be opting to switch to corner instead of receiver, because there were a lot of cornerbacks with 32” arms at the combine on Saturday. Rob Staton of SeahawksDraftBlog.com has the full list.
There were 30 cornerbacks and safeties who measured in with at least 32” arms. Some players that we’ve discussed at length on 3000 NFL Mock Draft who qualified were Washington’s Kevin King (6’3, 32”), Ohio State’s Gareon Conley (6’, 33”), Washington State’s Shalom Luani (5’11, 32”), UConn’s Obi Melifonwu (6’4, 32.5”), Florida’s Teez Tabor (6’, 32.25”), Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley (6’1, 32.25”), Florida’s Quincy Wilson (6’1, 32.25”), LSU’s Tre’Davious White (5’11, 32.15”), Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey (32.25”), and Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon (6’3, 33”).
White was the best surprise, as he reportedly had 31.5” arms at the Senior Bowl, but he must’ve gotten them lengthened? He was one of Rob’s favorite players in 2015 and opted not to declare for the draft last year. His stock may have dropped a tick and perhaps he’ll be available on day two to the Seahawks, if they’re interested.
Witherspoon is perhaps the most fascinating cornerback prospect to me at this point. He’s got the size but he also looked great on tape. King is a local player, along with Luani (a safety) across the state, and Rob has been praising them both all year so these measurements are very encouraging.
Jamal Adams, Justin Evans, Malik Hooker are players who hit the 32” mark and may be out of Seattle’s range or not be positional fits. But we’ll see. Josh Harvey-Clemons of Louisville turned out to be absolutely massive, measuring in at 6’4 with 35.4” arms. He could be a safety-linebacker hybrid at the next level. His NFL.com comparison: Kam Chancellor. He’s being projected as a day three pick after he was kicked out of Georgia for two failed marijuana tests, but the Seahawks may not be able to wait until round six (unless they trade for additional picks and get into the fourth or fifth round) if they’re interested in Harvey-Clemons.
Players who didn’t hit the 32” mark include Washington’s Budda Baker (30.6”) and Sidney Jones (31.5”), Iowa’s Desmond King (31.2”) Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore (31.25”), Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis (31.6”), and Tennessee’s Cam Sutton (30”), and USC’s Adoree’ Jackson (31.4”). For my money all of these players are off the board for Seattle, except maybe Baker because he’s a safety and Earl Thomas is of similar size with 31.25” arms. However, with bigger needs than safety, and so many great prospects at cornerback with 32” arms, I don’t see why they’d rush for Baker at this point.
The biggest highlights in this group for me are Witherspoon, White, Harvey-Clemons, King, and Conley.