Will CB Simeon Thomas Become Seahawks Latest Late-Round Success Story?
Last offseason, the Seattle Seahawks underwent a dramatic overhaul in the secondary, jettisoning cornerback Richard Sherman, losing strong safety Kam Chancellor to a career-ending injury, and eventually replacing an injured Earl Thomas at free safety.
While there’s far more stability in Seattle’s secondary one year later, plenty of significant changes could be happening at the cornerback and safety positions for a second consecutive offseason.
The inevitable departure of the disgruntled Thomas will grab the most headlines, but the Seahawks could also potentially lose starting slot cornerback Justin Coleman and special teams stalwart Neiko Thorpe as unrestricted free agents. Versatile defensive back Akeem King will also be a restricted free agent and could garner interest from other teams as well, leaving gaps on the depth chart.
With only four picks in April’s NFL Draft and several stars set to receive extensions that could limit the team’s ability to spend in free agency, Seattle could turn to cornerback Simeon Thomas to help replenish depth at the position.
Entering the NFL as a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Thomas didn’t record any statistics during the preseason for the Browns. The team waived him on September 1 with hopes he’d slip through the waiver wire unclaimed and they could re-sign him as a member of the practice squad.
However, the Seahawks wasted little time swooping in to claim the 6-foot-3 Thomas, seeing a lengthy, athletic defender who fit the mold for what the team prefers at the cornerback position.
After playing only 25 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns at the college level due to a myriad of academic issues, Thomas broke into the league as a raw talent lacking polish. Despite possessing elite size and 4.47 speed, he proved to be an inconsistent tackler and lacked ideal ball skills for an outside cornerback, though he showed significant improvement as a senior with 12 passes defensed.
But the Seahawks claimed Thomas, who will turn 25 in September, with eyes on the future, believing in time they could develop the athletically-gifted cornerback into a quality player in their system.
Though he didn’t suit up for any regular season games as a rookie, Seattle was able to bring Thomas on board to begin mastering the kick-step technique during the season as a practice squad player. After being granted a valuable head start, the Seahawks re-signed him to a future deal in January with intentions he’ll compete for a roster spot next summer.
Thomas won’t be in the mix to replace Coleman if he leaves as a free agent, as his length makes him best-suited as a press corner on the outside rather than the slot. And given his lack of college reps and how long it takes players to learn the kick-step technique, he may still be another year away from being ready to contribute defensively.
But if Seattle thinks Thomas can pick up some of the slack on special teams and remains confident he’ll progress technique-wise under secondary coach Nick Sorenson, he would provide a cheaper, younger alternative to Thorpe while also offering more long-term upside as a development cornerback.
Assuming the Seahawks lose at least one of their free agent corners, if not more, Thomas should have a realistic shot at carving out a role on the 53-man roster and should be an intriguing player to watch once offseason workouts begin in April.