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The contenders to play corner opposite Shaquill Griffin

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last Wednesday the Seattle Seahawks signed cornerback Dontae Johnson away from the San Francisco 49ers to a very minimal contract, and some fans have wondered why the team would add such a player. Statistically Johnson was was one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL last season playing in a system basically identical to the one the Seahawks use, but in terms of his physical attributes, Johnson is almost a carbon copy of the other players competing for the starting cornerback role opposite second year corner Shaquill Griffin.

To show you what I mean by this, first I’ll show the athletic profiles of four former Seattle corners with whom most readers should be very familiar, including Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane.

Athletic profiles of former Seahawk cornerbacks (*denotes pro day result)

Player Height Weight 40 time Bench Vertical Jump Broad Jump Shuttle 3-cone
Player Height Weight 40 time Bench Vertical Jump Broad Jump Shuttle 3-cone
Richard Sherman 6025 195 4.6 16 38 125 4.33 6.82
Jeremy Lane 6000 190 4.48* 12* 42* 130* 4.14* 7.02*
DeShawn Shead 6011 220 4.53* 24* 38* 121* 4.23* 6.76*
Byron Maxwell 6002 202 4.52 24 33 124 4.49* 7.12*

These cornerbacks share physical and athletic profiles very similar to one another. This is likely not much of a surprise for Seahawks fans who are aware of the tendency of the Seattle front office to add players who fit a specific mold based on their position. In addition, the similarities are just as striking when one considers what the competition for the second cornerback spot is going to look like.

To demonstrate just how strong these potential preferences of the front office are when assembling their roster, here’s a table of the five cornerbacks currently on the roster that are competing for that coveted second starting spot, along with their physical and athletic profiles.

Cornerbacks fighting to start opposite Shaquill Griffin (*denotes pro day result)

Player Height Weight 40 time Bench Vertical Jump Broad Jump Shuttle 3-cone
Player Height Weight 40 time Bench Vertical Jump Broad Jump Shuttle 3-cone
Neiko Thorpe 6012 198 4.39* 4* 38* 137* 4.22* 7.13*
DeAndre Elliott 6007 188 4.55 12* 41 125 3.94 6.93
Mike Tyson 6007 204 4.52 17 33 118 4.26* 7.14*
Akeem King 6014 215 4.43* 20* 37.5* 122* 4.39* 7.08*
Dontae Johnson 6021 200 4.45 12 38.5 124 4.24 6.82

In short, what those tables seem to show me are that the Seahawks have flooded the cornerback spot with players who have the physical build and athleticism the team is looking for, and now they’re out to see which of those five names can best fill the gaping void left by Sherman’s departure. Maybe it’s Johnson. Or Maybe it’s Neiko Thorpe, Mike Tyson, DeAndre Elliott or Akeem King. Or maybe it’s a cornerback the team selects in the draft in Dallas next week or adds as an undrafted free agent.

The only things I know are that the team has expressed a desire to let young, hungry guys compete and to play the winner, and that this is a list of five young(ish) and hungry players. Any of these players could have significant upside potential, or they could all be no more than special teamers. We won’t know until the team takes the field for the preseason in August, but at this point it certainly seems like the plan is to take a bunch of guys who fit the athletic and physical requirements and to put them in the arena to duke it out amongst themselves.

And that only leaves one question: Are you not entertained?