The Legion of Boom is gone, passed on to the realm of NFL legend and mystique that the ‘75 Bears and 2000 Ravens hold in our minds. No longer do Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Brandon Browner hold down the back end of the Seattle Seahawks defense. Browner has been gone some time, leaving a revolving door of Byron Maxwell’s, Jeremy Lane’s and Shaquill Griffin’s in his place. Chancellor and Thomas sustained injuries serious enough for both to consider retirement. Sherman is now on the rival San Francisco 49ers. The run from 2012-2014 of the Seattle defense imposing terrifying force upon offenses is a thing of memory, with the last remnants of the past offering a faint reminder of what was.
In steps All-PAC-12 second team defensive player Quenton Meeks.
Meeks has racked up 115 tackles, seven interceptions and 17 passes defended in his collegiate career at Stanford. During his junior year, he posted 61 tackles and seven passes defended which were both career highs. He stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 209 pounds. At the Stanford pro day, he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, which would have placed him in the top 10 times posted at the combine amongst defensive backs. Meeks is also the perfect corner to slide into the Seahawks system.
Stanford runs a two-high safety look, with the strong safety cheating into the box and playing down on tight ends or running backs. Since the Cardinal end up with a lone free safety, Meeks found himself left on an island (any of this sound familiar?). Since Meeks had success on the island, the Cardinal moved their dynamic piece around the chess board for maximum success, keeping him incredibly hard to gameplan around.
In plenty of games, Meeks trails his man all over the formation and covers from the inside out. His size and speed give him the added bonus of coverage that can play up on the line to press or play on a cushion.
But the Stanford system gave him a few more tools in the shed than the average defensive unit in college. Meeks is not only versatile in his spot he is also a fantastic defensive mind. Look at him bait on this play against Kansas Stat’s Jesse Ertz.
Here, Meeks does a really good job switching back to his man in a zone coverage look, as opposed to the usual man-to-man look the Cardinal show. He plays up on the line to give the impression of the one but fades back to the other. The really beautiful part is the timing. Meeks stay on his original man long enough to bait Ertz into an ill-advised throw, resulting in a pick.
Here against Oregon, Meeks baits yet another quarterback into a poor throw. Sticking with his man a second longer before passing him off to the safety and coming down on the top of a go route. Savvy work from the junior.
This pick also just makes sense. Meeks falls into the blueprint of who the Seahawks are after. Defensive backs with high football IQ and versatility that they can mold. Seattle is no stranger to finding talent for the secondary in the rough.
Sherman and Chancellor were taken in fifth rounds. Maxwell and Lane were sixth-round selections. This team is no stranger to cultivating talent outside of the top two rounds. In that crop are represented eight Pro Bowls and 57 interceptions. The Seahawks have taken talent development to an entirely new level, snatching up players destined for special teams duty on most rosters, turning them into major contributors.
Meeks is projected by NFL.com to go in the fourth or fifth round. There is not a team in the league that would be better suited to turn Meeks into a starter than Seattle. With his raw ability and upside, combined with their system, this is the match made in heaven.