Simon making his case
By now, it’s no secret that the Seattle Seahawks defense was the best in the National Football League last season.
The stellar 43-8 Super Bowl drubbing of the top offense in football history left even more wondering if this nasty Seahawk defense could be one of the best EVER. On top of that, though, is the fact that this defensive unit could be even better this year.
With Byron Maxwell effectively taking over the hole left by Brandon Browner (and Walter Thurmond III…sort of) last season, you would think the secondary didn’t need any more tinkering. Enter Tharold Simon.
Drafted in the fifth round in 2013 out of LSU, Simon had quite a few characteristics that the front office desired. He is big and tall with a long wingspan and is able to keep up with the speedsters. What he ALSO had in common with the new-look Seahawks was a history of injuries, a silly arrest and a diverse playing background (he played WR in high school) that helps him play his current position of Cornerback with added perspective.
Simon spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list after dealing with separate injuries to both of his feet.
The Seahawks knew before the draft the he was going to need a little time and they were fully ready what happened. It appears to be paying off now.
Already drawing some high praise in the first round of mini camps, Simon looks to be healthy and ready to compete for a spot this season. If you’ve kept up with mini camp so far, Simon has been seen making some spectacular defensive plays. He has multiple interceptions and passes defended.
You see Richard Sherman shouting advice and cheering him from the sidelines during camp. You have Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn praising his play, among many others.
But what might be most surprising to some is his speed.
His wingspan is already an asset, but if you pair it with the speed to use it effectively, you essentially see a resemblance to Richard Sherman. For example, one particular play saw Simon line up against Ricardo Lockette, one of the fastest guys not just on the team, but in the entire league. Not only did Simon keep pace with Lockette, but he was able to bat down the Tarvaris Jackson pass and break up a near touchdown.
These are the glimpses we are all getting of Tharold Simon. While they are only glimpses for now, it begs the question: can he get on the field?
It’s hard to imagine Simon getting a ton of playing time, honestly. He is going to have to fight hard to either steal the third Cornerback spot from Jeremy Lane or to show that the team can effectively use a 4th corner to help in passing situations.
If what we are seeing from him early holds up, though, we may see some special packages designed specially to get Simon on the field alongside Sherman, Maxwell and possibly even Lane.
One thing is for sure: Pete Carroll isn’t afraid to go with the best guy. If Simon keeps his intensity high and stays consistent, this “Always Compete” mantra will have paid off yet again.