The Seattle Seahawks are known for their tackling. Not just the frequency and strength of hard hits, but for the form of their tackles and the requirement that all players tackle—including cornerbacks. In March, Seattle cut Richard Sherman whose readiness to step up and attack the run made him an all-time great tackler at the position. Perhaps looking to fill that void, the Seahawks reportedly aim to convert Oklahoma State safety Tre Flowers to cornerback within Pete Carroll’s defensive scheme.
As mentioned elsewhere, Flowers has the speed to play outside, and he’s recognized as a superb tackler. But can he excel at Seattle’s specialized, Rugby-style tackling that asks defenders to aim for the runner’s base and wrap up rather than approaching ballistically, like a missile? After transitioning from strong safety to the deep safety spot for the Cowboys, Flowers’s tuned himself to target gaps and play dramatically downhill rather than make the looping-back style tackles out of coverage more frequently required from even slot corners. Likewise, Flowers’s most memorable highlights are crushing hits, including this one against tight end Mark Andrews from the OSU-Oklahoma “Bedlam” game in 2015, and in 2017 Flowers got ejected from the Cowboys’ win over Iowa State for lowering his head and “targeting” a receiver’s helmet according to the NCAA rules.
Those plays can happen to anyone, and certainly aren’t absent from the NFL or the Seahawks either. But Flowers is so used to tackling face-first he even damaged his nose ring in practice one time, according to this great profile from Oklahoma State sports blog Pistols Firing, which sounds troubling in addition to painful.
We know Flowers doesn’t mind the pain. “I’ve woken up sore since middle school,” he told a reporter from the Tulsa World. “I’m probably sore right now and don’t even know it. You have to be violent. Football is a collision game. You’re either going to be the hammer or the nail. I’m not trying to be the nail.” Nobody wants to be the nail, but the angle of arrival matters too. How well Flowers transitions his technique to Seattle’s standards might determine his fortune in the Seahawks legendary secondary.