#23 – Walter Thurmond

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2013, click here.

The Seahawks were pretty good on defense last year, so I don’t want to sit here and rip them too much.  But, as with anything in life, they could stand to be better in certain areas.  Pass rush is probably at the top of that list, with their nickel defense a distant second.

Bottom line:  the Seahawks need to get stops.  It’s funny, because you don’t want to be known as the defense that gives up a bunch of big plays to opposing offenses.  You do that, and your record is going to reflect poorly upon you.  But, there’s something to be said for not being that “Bend/Don’t Break” defense, which the Seahawks seemingly were at times last season.  Truth be told, I don’t know what’s more demoralizing:  giving up a 2-play, 70-yard touchdown drive; or holding an opposing team on first and second down, only to give up a third & long conversion to keep a drive alive.  Too many times last year, it seemed like we only forced a punt because of an offensive mistake rather than something great that we were able to do.  It would be nice to lead the league – or at least be AMONG the leaders – in Three & Outs.

And, as I alluded to above, pass rush would be a big part of that.  But, also, simple great coverage on opposing teams’ slot receivers & tight ends would do the trick too.  That’s where Walter Thurmond comes in.

People tell me he’s one of the best pure cover-corners on this team.  They tell me he’s got the wingspan of a much taller man.  He’s got some of the best recovery speed on the team.  And, truth be told, if he had been able to stay healthy, he would probably be one of this team’s starting cornerbacks.

He’s good.  He’s damned good.  He’s another one of those guys you can’t necessarily count on – and you’ll be kicking yourself if you keep him over someone else and he promptly goes out and gets himself an ouchie in the first week of the season – but he’s a guy that can dramatically help this defense in its quest to go from “pretty good” to Elite with a capital E.

It appears he’s at a disadvantage to start, as Antoine Winfield is the “starting” nickel cornerback, but I think it’s only a matter of time before he supplants the aging wonder (last Thursday’s sub-par pre-season game notwithstanding).  Either way, it’s plain to see we’re looking at the greatest secondary in the NFL, and a big piece of that has to do with our depth.  If this team continues to struggle to get to the quarterback, we’re going to have to rely on this secondary even more this year.  And that means we’re going to be asking for perfection from not only guys like Sherman & Browner, but guys like Winfield & Thurmond.  It’s a testament to how good these guys are that I don’t think perfection is out of the question.

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