After selecting Shaquem Griffin with their first selection in the 2018 NFL Draft’s 5th round, the Seattle Seahawks remained on the defensive side of the ball for their next pick, selecting Oklahoma State defensive back Tre Flowers 146th overall. Flowers was a safety with the Cowboys, but was a prospect I had pegged as a potential cornerback conversion, and it seems as though that’s the direction they’re going to go.
Why Flowers will succeed
At 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds with 33 7/8″ arms, Flowers has ideal height, weight and length for a cornerback in Pete Carroll’s defense. Flowers’ physicality against the run, ball skills and closing speed resemble that of a Seahawks defensive back as well, and the physical tools indicate he could transition to the new position with ease. We’ve seen cornerbacks succeed well beyond their draft status in Seattle before, and everything about Flowers’ game entering the NFL should inspire confidence that he has an excellent chance to be the next to do so.
Why Flowers will fail
It’s always a challenge for incoming players to learn the kick-step technique in Carroll’s defense. Making that challenge even more difficult is that Flowers will be doing it while learning a new position all together. Additionally, Flowers lacks the change of direction and fluidity in his movements you like to see from a cornerback in the Seahawks’ defense. While he isn’t the first cornerback to enter Seattle with less than ideal movement skills, hopefully it improves with a year of work. Leading us to the next point:
Year one role
Much like Mike Tyson and DeShawn Shead, it’s highly unlikely Flowers contributes in his rookie year beyond special teams. He’ll be essentially redshirted – maybe even starting the season on the practice squad – to convert to his new position. Flowers will learn the technique, when to open up and run with the receiver and hopefully with it, his movement in the open field will improve. With Richard Sherman gone, it will be interesting to see who takes over the role of ‘teacher’ among the cornerbacks.
Fit with the Seahawks
Flowers fits into Seattle’s archetype for both safeties and cornerbacks. He’s an explosive athlete with good functional speed, only struggling in the agility testing. His physicality and length meshes with what the Seahawks target at defensive back.
— Boone Pickens State (@BP_State) April 28, 2018
Shead’s career arc with Seattle would be an ideal one for Flowers to follow: Become a core special teamer, offering the team flexibility between positions before converting full-time to cornerback — and remaining a key part of special teams. We may not get a look at Flowers in 2018 beyond the preseason, but there’s a reason for optimism in 2019 and moving forward.