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Finding Free Agents: A trio of low risk, high ceiling nickelbacks the Seahawks could bring in

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking to reporters at the Scouting Combine, Pete Carroll made it sound as though the nickelback spot was Ugo Amadi’s to lose. Even so, the Seahawks should look to add some non-guaranteed (salary-wise) competition there. Whoever Seattle adds for competition should have upside, however, after last season where Jamar Taylor was a veteran who had never played above replacement level and Akeem King was simply a disaster. Luckily for the Seahawks, there’s a number of potential reclamation projects set to be free agents later this month.

Vernon Hargreaves

The former first-round pick flamed out of Tampa Bay in 2019, and finished the season playing nickelback for the Texans. Hargreaves has legitimately short arms (30 5/8”) but otherwise good size, at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds. More relevant, however, is Hargreaves’ athleticism: As a prospect, he tested in the 97th percentile with great explosiveness and change of direction.

If Seattle projects him inside, where he played decently well for Houston, his athleticism should make up for a lack of length.

Anthony Brown

A sixth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2016, Brown has spent the last two seasons playing under Pete Carroll protégé Kris Richard. Brown started 10 games in each of his first three seasons, seeing the majority of his snaps at nickelback. In 2019, with his snaps beginning to dwindle in favor of Jourdan Lewis, Brown suffered a triceps injury that ended his season nine games in.

Now, Brown will enter free agency with experience inside and out in Richard’s pass defense. A move to Seattle would be seamless for Brown and he could offer legitimate competition for Amadi.

Cyrus Jones

The second-round pick of the Patriots in 2016 has had a brutal start to his career. The processing errors which haunted him at Alabama only continued in New England. Three weeks into 2018—after Jones missed all of 2017 with an injury—he was released, having been unable to crack the lineup consistently. After a quick trip between the Ravens’ practice squad and then back to the Patriots, Jones returned to Baltimore where he spent the next 13 months. In November, the Ravens waived Jones. He was then claimed by the Broncos but put on the NFI list after undergoing open heart surgery.

Still just 26, Jones wants to continue his NFL career and could find a fresh start with the Seahawks. It has yet to come together for Jones as a pro, but he has the physical makeup of a player who could find success in the slot. If Seattle wants to add low risk, high reward competition for Amadi and others in camp, Jones could be an option.