#21 – Antoine Winfield

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So, remember all that stuff I was talking about yesterday regarding the Best Team On Paper In The NFL being the Seahawks?  Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the best players at every single position.  There are better quarterbacks than Russell Wilson.  There’s at least one better running back than Marshawn Lynch; plays in Minnesota, you might have heard of him.  There are better offensive line units, defensive line units, and so on.  But, there is no better secondary in the NFL than the one that plays its home games in CenturyLink Field.  (Obviously, the point of that statement was:  taken as a hole, the Seahawks are the best team, because they lack obvious weaknesses; but that’s neither here nor there).

The Seahawks are blessed with the best cornerback in football (Richard Sherman) and the best safety in football (Earl Thomas).  Brandon Browner & Kam Chancellor aren’t far behind, but that’s not necessarily what makes this unit as special as it is.

It’s the depth.  Not only is this secondary the best, but it’s the deepest.  We have guys who we’re going to release that are better than some other teams’ starters.  We have guys who might not do anything but play on Special Teams for us in 2013 who are better than some other teams’ starters.  And we’ve got nickel corners who are better than MOST teams’ starters.

This team didn’t miss a step when we lost Browner for four games last year.  If the Seahawks absolutely HAD to suffer a serious injury or two, then I’d probably be the most comfortable losing a cornerback than any other position on this team; I’m that confident in this group as a whole.

Antoine Winfield is yet another ex-Viking we have poached.  I can’t say that our track record is all that amazing (Burleson, Tarvar, Rice, Harvin, and now Winfield) and truth be told I think Winfield might be the most productive of the bunch.

This team has done quite a bit in this offseason to address some real weaknesses.  The defensive line got the bulk of the recognition in this regard, but I would argue the Winfield signing is of utmost importance.  What he’s able to do in that nickel corner spot is something I don’t think we’ve ever had in the city of Seattle.  He can clamp down on a slot receiver – which, in this day & age, is quickly becoming a valuable source of production on offense – and he can muck it up with the big boys while stuffing the run.  In short, he’s a specialist of sorts who can play up on the line of scrimmage.  Not only that, but he’s a veteran in a group full of relative infants, so he’s sure to have some tricks of the trade to spread around to our all stars in the group.

He’s not the sexiest newcomer we brought in this year, but he might be the most quietly effective.  He’s a real difference-maker in a secondary full of difference-makers.  And he should single-handedly improve our third down defense in ways we never imagined possible.

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