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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



August 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

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Position paper: Safety first

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Well, after this week's earlier breakdown, the one position that needs to be reconsidered is safety. Specifially, some revisions are in order to my thumbnail sketch for the roster spot.

First, a simple swap:

On the bubble: Jamar Adams.

Uphill climb: Kevin Ellison.

Ellison has experience, having started nine games for the Chargers last year as a rookie. He also has history with Seattle's coach, having played at USC under coach Pete Carroll.

But Ellison has consistently played for the third-team defense, there are questions about the long-term health of his knee and of the six safeties in training camp, he probably has the longest road to travel to get a spot.

Adams on the other hand, has worked with the second-unit defense, has familiarity here having been with Seattle for the past two years. Is he a lock? Now. But he has a strong chance.

The next revision is a bit trickier. Kam Chancellor was listed on the bubble. That's probably not accurate. Chancellor was a fifth-round pick, he intercepted a pass in the first exhibition game, and his size makes him a potentially unique safety.

In the previous five years, only one player picked in the fifth round failed to make the team, and that was Tony Jackson of Iowa in 2005. He was a tight end in college, drafted to play fullback by Seattle and Leonard Weaver beat him out for that spot.

Looks safe: Kam Chancellor.

Now, the last player to consider is Jordan Babineaux. He is a potential backup to both safety positions, someone with starting experience in Seattle. Given that one of Seattle's starting safeties is 36 and the other is a rookie, it's probably in Seattle's best interest to have a capable reserve waiting in the wings.

But there's one other thing to consider: Babineaux triggered escalators in his contract with his playing time in 2009, something detailed exquisitely by Brian McIntyre of Scout.com. Now, there's no salary cap and the difference of $1.3 million is hardly going to capsize Seattle's payroll projections. However, it's a relatively big number for a backup safety, and not only that, but general manager John Schneider's history in Green Bay illustrates the value placed upon youth. So it's not just money, but would keeping Babineaux come at the cost of a spot for a younger player?

It's a question worth asking though let me be clear that I still would list Babineaux as someone who looks safe. He just doesn't look as safe as Chancellor does.

Now, as for the questions concerning linebacker, I'll stand by that breakdown, and say that I think there is a very large question as to whether Leroy Hill is on this team for the first game. In fact, it would surprise me if he was.

2009200820072006
4454
S Deon GrantS Deon GrantS Deon GrantS Ken Hamlin
S Jordan BabineauxS Brian RussellS Brian RussellS Michael Boulware
S Lawyer MilloyS Jordan BabineauxS Jordan BabineauxS Jordan Babineaux
S C.J. WallaceS C.J. WallaceS C.J. WallaceS Oliver Celestin
  S Mike Green 
2005200420032002
4345
S Ken HamlinS Ken HamlinS Ken HamlinS Reggie Tongue
S Michael BoulwareS Terreal BierriaS Terreal BierriaS Terreal Bierria
S Marquand ManuelS Michael BoulwareS Reggie TongueS Marcus Robertson
S John Howell S Damien RobertsonS Curtis Fuller
   S Harld Blackmon

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