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Richard Sherman: Tharold Simon will be better than me

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When Tharold Simon first surfaced on the national radar, it was in the scapegoat role as Tom Brady victimized the second-year Seahawks cornerback for a pair of touchdowns in Super Bowl XLIX.

Simon went on to miss the bulk of the 2015 season with a toe injury, leading the 2013 fifth-round draft pick to concede that the upcoming contract year is a "make-or-break" campaign.

Finally healthy and yet to miss a practice since the offseason began, Simon is battling DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane for the starting job opposite Richard Sherman.

What caught our attention early in training camp, though, was Sherman's willingness to double down on a prediction from a few years ago that Simon would someday surpass the three-time All Pro as a cornerback.

"He's an incredible athlete," Sherman said earlier this week, via the team's official website. "He's going to be a great ball player. I continue to stand by what I've always said: he's going to be better than me by the time it's all said and done.

"The kid's a player, he just needs to put it all together and hopefully he can stay healthy and it'll be a fantastic year for him."

At a fluid 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds with physicality and an ornery disposition, Simon fits the Seattle cornerback mold under Pete Carroll. His potential is one of the reasons the Seahawks believe this year's version of the famed Legion of Boom secondary could be the deepest and most flexible yet.

"Physically (Simon is) the best he's been since we've had him," Carroll said this week. "It kind of shows up, he had two huge plays today. We're just going to let a lot of time go by, we'll get a lot of snaps and see how it plays out. It's really good to have that kind of depth, that kind of competition going on at that spot."

The Seahawks can thank their nucleus of talented, smart and proud veterans for their status as annual NFC superpowers. If they're going to fulfill this year's Super Bowl expectations, though, they're going to need promising breakout candidates such as Simon, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett and Thomas Rawls to realize their potential.

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