Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the Earl Thomas era ending in Seattle coincided with back-to-back drafts which were low on centerfield-playing safeties. In the 2018 NFL Draft, with trade rumors swirling around Thomas, just Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates fit the mold of Pete Carroll’s deep safety. Bates went to the Bengals in the second round and Thomas played out the final year of his contract with the Seahawks. This year, with Thomas now a Raven, it’s possible that just Delaware's Nasir Adderley fits into that mold—and we’ll find out for sure on Friday.
Adderley’s weigh-in at January’s Senior Bowl was eagerly anticipated and then, from a Seattle perspective, disappointing. The wiry safety weighed in at just 195 pounds—10 pounds less than the Seahawks’ threshold. Concerns over his ability to come down and play the run physically were legitimized. Worse still, the Raiders’ coaching staff toyed with him throughout the week in Mobile, playing him as a slot cornerback and around the back end, trying to display his versatility, but it did more harm than good.
Some two months later at the Scouting Combine, Adderley weighed in at a very solid 206 pounds. However, an ankle injury suffered during the season held him out of workouts, despite toughing through the same injury during Senior Bowl week. Conspiracy-minded people may suspect Adderley’s absence from drills was because some explosiveness was lost while adding 10 pounds. At Delaware's pro day on Friday, Adderley will participate, and we’ll finally have a clear idea whether or not the best center fielder in the draft is in Seattle’s mold.
The numbers Adderley will need to hit to clear the Seahawks’ thresholds are: 9-foot-5 in the broad jump, 32” in the vertical jump, sub-7.1 seconds in the three cone, sub-4.3 in the short shuttle and a 40-yard dash quicker than 4.6 seconds. If Adderley clears most of those, while weighing around 205 pounds, Seattle may consider him as a successor to Thomas. What about other options?
The second name most often thrown out as a possibility for the Seahawks is Alabama’s Deionte Thompson. Thompson wasn’t healthy enough for the Crimson Tide’s pro day on Wednesday, and will do all the drills on April 2. But it shouldn’t matter in relation to Seattle’s draft; Thompson’s anticipation as a deep safety is worrisome, as was his end to the season.
A third option for the Seahawks could be Washington’s Taylor Rapp. The former Husky tested terrifically at the Scouting Combine, topping all safeties on the Seahawks Draft Board in the short shuttle and posting the third fastest three cone. However, Rapp doesn’t seem to trust his instincts as a deep defender—there isn’t the early breaks in his game like Thomas was, and still is renowned for. Rapp’s determination to keep everything in front of him could appeal to Carroll’s no-explosive-plays mantra, but his arrival in Seattle would be as a project. Certainly a highly intriguing one, but a project nonetheless.
Now, all of the conversation surrounding Seattle’s potential interest in a safety during the draft could be pointless. We have little reason to think the Seahawks and Carroll are ready to give up on Tedric Thompson, despite some serious questions surrounding his long-term fit as a deep safety. However, with the mystique of draft season, that could be exactly why Earl Thomas’ successor will land in Seattle next month.