By Corbin Smith
The Seahawks still have Sherman and Maxwell manning the top two corner spots, but Carroll loves having extra bodies in the secondary. After losing steady veterans Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond during free agency, the team needs to replenish the depth chart through the draft. Corner is not the team's biggest need by any stretch, but 6'2 prospect Stanley Jean-Baptiste could be enticing enough to warrant drafting with pick #32.
Like Sherman, Jean-Baptiste started his college career at Nebraska as a wide receiver. He's still learning how to play the corner position, and film study shows that he still gambles way too frequently on the outside. He's been vulnerable to double moves at times, and Seattle would need to focus on helping him improve at route recognition. He doesn't possess elite athleticism, and if he gets beat initially, he lacks the recovery speed to make up for it. He's also a work-in-progress as a run defender, although he showed quite a bit of progress in that area this past season. He did record 41 tackles as a senior in 2013, which was a marked improvement over just 24 tackles the previous season.
While there's no doubt that Jean-Baptiste would enter the league as a developmental player, his upside remains high if he ends up in the right system. He has great instincts for a player lacking experience, and Seattle's coaching staff could work wonders with this physically gifted defender. He's at his best pressing at the line and re-routing opposing receivers, which would make him an ideal candidate to develop in Dan Quinn's defensive scheme. He has great ball skills thanks to his receiver background and showed his play-making ability hauling in four interceptions this past season for the Cornhuskers. He's also shown to be durable, playing in every game for Nebraska the past two seasons.
With Sherman, Maxwell, and Jeremy Lane entrenched in the top three spots and Tharold Simon potentially playing his way onto the field, Seattle would not have to rush developing Jean-Baptiste. He could work his way into the lineup as a special teams player as a rookie and then be groomed to replace Maxwell, who most likely will leave after the 2014 season for a monster pay-day elsewhere. It's no secret that Carroll and Schneider covet big corners, but with Sherman and Maxwell both coming from later rounds, it remains to be seen if Seattle would use a first rounder to draft one.