Since becoming the Seahawks general manager in 2010, John Schneider hasn’t been afraid to make trades prior to the start of the regular season.
Most notably, Schneider has made multiple last-minute deals to bolster Seattle’s slot cornerback position, including acquiring Justin Coleman from the Patriots for a seventh-round pick prior to the 2017 season.
The addition of Coleman proved to be one of Schneider’s best trades at the helm, as he played all 32 regular season games for Seattle and earned 10 starts in two seasons with the Seahawks. After picking off three passes and scoring three defensive touchdowns during that span, he landed a record-breaking deal with Detroit in March.
That’s great news for Coleman, but his departure left a significant departure for the Seahawks to fill in their secondary. And apparently, Schneider and coach Pete Carroll weren’t thrilled about how a four-player competition to replace him played out, leading the team to trade a conditional seventh-round pick to the Jets for cornerback Parry Nickerson on Saturday.
Nickerson may not be a household name, but neither was Coleman. After playing extensive snaps as a rookie in New York, Carroll believes the latest addition to his secondary can have a similar impact in Seattle.
“We’re going to see if he can play the nickel spot. We’re anxious to see it.” Carroll said on Monday. “He played a lot of snaps last year. I could see him on film and see him do the things we’re looking for. You can’t help but to see the similarities from when we got J.C. [Coleman] a while back, and they looked very similar about this time in their careers.”
Starring at Tulane, Nickerson intercepted 16 passes and recorded 31 passes defensed during his illustrious career with the Green Wave. He then ran a blazing 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, showing off his elite wheels despite suffering a hamstring injury in the process.
The Jets took a shot on Nickerson, selecting him in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He appeared in all 16 regular season games, and as Coleman did during his rookie season with the Patriots, he gained valuable experience with two spot starts. He wrapped up the year with 21 tackles and a pass defensed.
Though New York didn’t see him as part of its future plans, Carroll saw more than enough on film to indicate the 5-foot-10, 182-pound Nickerson could jump into Seattle’s slot cornerback competition and vie for playing time right away.
“We’ll see what he can do with him, we’re excited though. He’s really fast, he’s aggressive, and I’ve seen him do all of the things our guys have to do on film, so there’s no guess work there. It’s just helping him understand and letting him compete, and we’ll see what happens.”
With the regular season opener just five days away, Nickerson likely won’t see the field defensively against the Bengals. For now, the Seahawks will likely roll with the combination of rookie Ugo Amadi and veteran Akeem King to handle slot cornerback duties on a by-committee basis.
But given his combination of adequate size, elite athleticism, and quality ball skills for the position, the Seahawks are hoping Nickerson will swiftly moving up the depth chart as Coleman did two years ago. If he manages to meet those expectations, that’ll be a huge coup for the team moving forward.