If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That would be Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s sentiment toward the suggestion that Seattle break up the team’s Pro Bowl safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor by drafting a safety in the first round and moving Chancellor to outside linebacker.
“We usually try not to move Pro Bowl players to different positions,” quipped Schneider during an interview on 950-AM radio.
Of course, Schneider shouldn’t be interested in moving Chancellor to linebacker after how impressively he played in his first year as a starter.
However, Schneider’s sound reasoning does not rule out the possibility of Seattle selecting safety Alabama’s Mark Barron if he’s the best player on the Seahawks’ draft board when they select at No. 12 on Thursday.
Although safety certainly isn’t a need position for Seattle, coach Pete Carroll said the team has considered every possible scenario for a player worthy of drafting at No. 12, which includes the availability of Barron.
“We’ve discussed every option and opportunity at great length, so we’ve already cleared our way through that decision,” Carroll said. “You obviously can do it for the first 12 picks, and as you get farther down along, things change. At this position early in the draft and in the first round here, we’re going to get through every one of them, and we won’t be surprised by the opportunity that is presented.”
Although safeties rarely go in the top half of the first round, the 6-foot-2, 213-pound Barron is considered a top-10 talent because of his ability to cover a lot of ground as a deep safety and his strength and size, which make him a potential impact player as a run defender.
“He’s got great character, very mature and very well-respected by his teammates,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said about Barron. “(He) doesn’t say a lot – a little bit quiet – but a very, very effective leader.”
Barron finished with 66 tackles – including five for loss – two interceptions and one sack in his final season at Alabama.
Barron has had some injury issues. He tore a pectoral muscle in 2010 and missed the NFL scouting combine in February with a sports hernia. But he ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash at his pro day last month.
His athleticism, instincts and ability to make plays on the ball have caused draft analysts to gush about him.
“Barron is intelligent, tough and capable of making an immediate impact versus both the run and the pass,” said Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com.
“Barron is one of the best players in this draft, and I think he’s going to go between (picks Nos.) 10 and 15,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.
“I think he’s one of the elite players in this draft,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said.
If the Seahawks are not interested in selecting Barron, they could receive interest from teams looking to move up to select Barron. Dallas, which has the No. 14 overall pick, is considered a likely landing spot for the Alabama safety unless another team trades up to pick before the Cowboys.
Teams that need an impact defensive back – such as San Diego, Tennessee, Philadelphia and New England – might be willing to give the Seahawks the draft capital that Seattle would want in order to move down to the second half of the first round.
“If something were to happen where people came to us with something that was a great option for us, then we’d have to do it,” Schneider said. “But otherwise, I just think we’re in a really cool spot.”
DEFENSIVE BACKS TO CONSIDER
First round, 12th pick: Stephon Gilmore, 6-1, 190, South Carolina
Rob’s rationale: An athletic cover corner with the size and physicality to be successful in Seattle’s press scheme, Gilmore’s stock is on the rise as the draft approaches.
Second round, 43rd pick: Alfonzo Dennard, 5-10, 204, Nebraska
Rob’s rationale: Struggled through injury-plagued season after a terrific junior campaign; viewed by some as a natural nickel back. Arrested over the weekend for assaulting a police officer.
Third round, 75th pick: Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 204, Montana
Rob’s rationale: A dominant performer with the Grizzlies, the only thing that might push Johnson out of the draft’s top two rounds is concern about his off-field decisions.
Fourth round, 106th pick: Brandon Hardin, 6-3, 217, Oregon State
Rob’s rationale: A standout at cornerback in 2010, Hardin missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury. With the size to potentially convert to safety, Hardin is nonetheless highly regarded.
Sixth pick, 181st pick: Sean Richardson, 6-3, 216, Vanderbilt
Rob’s rationale: Possessing an elite combination of size and athleticism, Richardson is intriguing – though frankly he wasn’t the player on the field that his measureables would indicate.
Seventh round, 225th pick: Donnie Fletcher, 6-1, 199, Boston College
Rob’s rationale: Physical and having proven more athletic during his Pro Day than scouts anticipated, Fletcher makes the most sense for clubs using a press scheme – like Seattle.