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Commentary: For the first time under Carroll/Schneider, cornerback should be Seahawks top NFL Draft priority

With the NFL Draft later this week, there’s no doubt the Seahawks have some holes to fill and some depth to gain. But I’d argue, for the first time ever under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, when it comes to the draft, cornerback should be the top priority.

Now, wait a minute. The offensive line allowed 42 sacks last year – the sixth most in the league. Russell Wilson still doesn’t have much time to throw. Garry Gilliam is now on the Niners, Bradley Sowell’s not coming back. George Fant is still learning, and Luke Joeckel is a total wild card! Offensive line has to be the priority, right?

Maybe, except most experts say this Offensive Line class is short on top talent. You don’t want to reach if you don’t have to.

That’s not the case at cornerback – a position experts say is loaded with talent in this year’s draft.

And let’s be honest: Even with Richard Sherman, the Seahawks are in need of top-tiered depth at corner. DeShawn Shead isn’t expected back until mid-season. Jeremy Lane is the projected starter opposite Sherman, with Neiko Thorpe and DeAndre Elliott backing them up. In a pass-happy league, how comfortable does that make you feel? Probably about as comfortable as we felt in the divisional playoff game in Atlanta last year.

Now, here’s the rub: In seven years under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, the Hawks have had 31 total picks in the first four rounds of the draft. They’ve used just ONE of them on a cornerback.

This year, they have five picks in the first three rounds. I think at least two of them should be at cornerback.

And here’s why: Even though Schneider and his staff are exceptional at finding diamonds in the rough, the odds of finding quality depth and future starters are much better when a proven shut-down college cornerback is available in the higher rounds. This isn’t about making Richard Sherman expendable; it is about re-stocking the cornerback depth at the highest level possible. And it’s about making your roster as immune to injury as possible.

Plus, even if Sherman stays, he only has two years left on his current deal. He won’t be here forever. Now is the time to groom his successor. And best case? Sherman hangs around more than two years, and has a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback on the opposite side.

So, come Thursday and Friday night, I’ll be doing something I never have before: hoping the Hawks dive head first into the talent available at corner and picking the best one or two they can find. I’m not discounting their need at other positions – especially up front – but I am highlighting an area that for years has hardly gone wanting.

The Legion of Boom doesn’t need replacements – but it does need reinforcements. And this week’s draft, in my opinion, is the perfect place to find them.