Bradley McDougald ready to take either safety position for Seahawks

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By Luke Olson

The Seahawks front office made it a top priority this offseason to sign Safety Bradley McDougald by retaining him for three more years. He stepped in when needed with injuries coming to veteran safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Those opportunities showed his value and versatility at each position.

This time around, with questions if Chancellor will ever play football again, with his season-ending neck injury last season and now with Thomas’ edict of holding out until his contract is renewed—it looks like the importance of bringing back McDougald has become more vital than ever for the Seahawks.

McDougald played in all 16 games last season, starting in nine of them. In those games, he notched 45 tackles and four pass deflections. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 77.3 as a backup safety for Seattle and an 85.9 for his pass coverage.

“It is very refreshing,” McDougald said regarding his contract renewal with Seattle. “Knowing the organization and coaches want me back here. As you can tell it’s a different era—not rebuilding—but things are changing around here and to be part of the change is an awesome feeling.”

By changing, he means the departure of key players that have been on the defensive side before the “Legion of Boom” made a name for itself, such as: Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril. With Thomas’ holdout and Chancellor waiting for more tests and the doctors assessment – it could be two more added to that list – all who made this defense so infuriating for opposing offenses.

“It’s part of the game,” McDougald commented. “Great players move on or retire—it’s just part of the game. It just gives opportunities for guys like me and young guys to step up and make a name for themselves.”

With both the strong safety and free safety positions in question, McDougald is ready to fill either position for the Seahawks. Currently, it has been McDougald, Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill working in the safety backfield. But, at OTA’s before knowing Thomas’ holdout – the coaching staff had McDougald at free safety and Hill at strong safety. Tuesday, the first day of mandatory camp they would flip McDougald to strong safety and Thompson to the free safety slot.

McDougald prefers to play at the strong position that he feels plays to the speed of his game and enjoys being up front and close to the action. He and the coaching staff discussed earlier in the year on what position he would prefer, but McDougald let them know it is “whatever they need me to do.”

“I said the same thing last year and I showed it.” McDougald said. “I keep going out there and just trying to perfect my craft.”

Here’s a clip of McDougald speaking to the press:

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