Ugo Amadi could be forgiven for feeling frustrated about the start of his career with the Seahawks.
As a fourth-round pick in 2019, Amadi seemingly won the nickelback competition as a rookie, starting and playing 20 snaps in his first career game. Over the next couple of months, however, Amadi played sparingly until Jamar Taylor’s release in late November. An up-and-down rookie year finished with Amadi getting beaten for a crucial catch in the divisional round loss to the Packers.
After the 2019 season ended, Pete Carroll suggested the nickel job would be Amadi’s to lose in 2020. Unfortunately, the arrival of Quinton Dunbar and Jamal Adams changed the landscape of the secondary, as Marquise Blair became the new nickel. Amadi became an afterthought on defense, just months after being seen as the presumptive starter in the slot.
Amadi finally got an opportunity early on in Seattle’s Week 2 victory over the Patriots, after Blair was forced out with a knee injury. By the end of the game, Amadi finished with eight tackles, one tackle for loss, and a vital pass breakup toward the end of the game.
Perhaps Amadi’s best moment came on a Rex Burkhead carry, as he read the misdirection perfectly and was well-positioned to drop the running back for a loss.
During New England’s final drive, Amadi got caught flat-footed off the line and was forced to take an illegal contact penalty. Undeterred, Amadi would go step-for-step with Julian Edelman moments later to force a crucial incompletion.
Following the game, Carroll praised Amadi’s performance and indicated he would have an opportunity to step up massively, with Blair’s status unclear.
Pete Carroll praises Ugo Amadi in the nickel role, notes they'll be leaning on him now for as long as Blair is out. #Seahawks— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) September 21, 2020
Through the first 18 weeks of his career, Amadi has found opportunities hard to come by and has dealt with a number of roadblocks on his path to the field. An unfortunate injury to Blair has provided the second-year corner with another chance and if Sunday night was any indication, he’ll be primed to take it.