Quicker than you could say Shaquill Griffin, the Seattle Seahawks were back on the board and back addressing their secondary, drafting safety Delano Hill from the University of Michigan. Hill is a strong safety in every sense of the word - though he says he can play both spots - living in the box and around the line of scrimmage in Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverine defense. Last year showed us how the Seahawks were crying out for better depth at the backend and Hill will help in improving that.
Similar to his counterparts in Seattle’s secondary, Hill is L-O-N-G. A 32 ⅛” arm length is nice, but the real impressive measurement is Hill’s 77 ½” wingspan(!). Outside of his LOB-like length, Hill is pretty much everything you could want in a backup safety. He’s a physical run defender, he has high football intelligence - he started for Michigan as a 19-year old - and has the speed and physicality to be a standout special teamer from day one.
This offseason has been a reminder of the mortality of the Seahawks’ superstars; beginning with Earl Thomas pondering retirement and then Richard Sherman’s trade episode. While Seattle came through without losing anyone, Delano Hill is a step in the right direction towards being prepared to move on from Kam Chancellor sooner than later.
Hill may be a hedge against Chancellor’s future, but he doesn’t seem to be an exact replica. The physicality and willingness to get into the mixer at the line of scrimmage is there, but his coverage skills leave a lot to be desired. Hill ended his Michigan career with eight pass breakups and three interceptions in 46 career games, and showed a huge lack of fluidity in coverage time and time again.
Harbaugh’s former safety will be flying downfield on special teams with Neiko Thorpe in Green Bay in week one, but don’t expect him to be matched up against Martellus Bennett to fix the team’s tight end woes.