Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency Talk With Twelfth Man Of Seattle – Byron Maxwell

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Nov 23, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell (41) talks during early pre-game warmups against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tiger Cornerback Byron Maxwell

I wanted to understand how he ended up on the team in the first place. How did he evolve into 25% of the best defensive backfield of the NFL? And most importantly, just how well can he play without three elite defensive backs surrounding him?  Are the Seattle Seahawks just that good at finding gems in the rubble of the NFL draft, or are other teams just that bad?

So I had to set the calendar to 2011, and travel back to the year where the Philadelphia Eagles still had head coach Andy Reid.  It was the spring after the Philadelphia Eagles had just finished their ten win six loss season.  While the Philadelphia Eagles selected cornerback Curtis Marsh, offensive guard Danny Watkins, and safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, the Seattle Seahawks were selecting a stiff hipped corner back from the University of Clemson with the right size, right pop, but wrong scouting report by the name of Byron Maxwell.

His scouting report was a mixed bag.  At six feet one inch height, and 202 pounds weight, his size was ideal.  His speed was rated better than average as well.  He was strong in run defense and in shedding blockers. But scouting reports went on to elaborate how Maxwell gave up too much separation and give receivers a step on him.  He had poor technique, with rigid hips and playing on his heels.   Every report on the guy indicated he never demonstrated that he knew his role in college, and would take patience at the NFL level if he were to have any chance of making the roster, even if just as a good special teams player.

That seemed like a kid who was a definite long shot.  But Seahawk fans pointed me in the direction of his combine workout film footage.  Check it out.

2011 Combine Workout: Byron Maxwell

And there is always the opinion of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

"“Byron has been a fantastic player for us whenever we’ve given him his opportunities. When he’s played for us in all situations, coming off the bench and on special teams, he’s a fantastic player. He’s well-schooled. He’s totally versed in our style of play. And he’s had a great season working here for us, we have nothing but confidence in him.So he’ll jump right in and I don’t hesitate saying he’ll play really well this game.” – Pete Carroll"

Play really well indeed. In his first start, he faced New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and never flinched. Knowing he would be the target on that Monday Night Football game, Maxwell simply held Brees to a quarterback rating of 39.6 against him. He outright defended both passes thrown his way. In fact, Maxwell did so well that evening that the Seattle Seahawks gave him the nod against rival San Francisco 49ers.   Maxwell responded wtih two more passes defended, and an interception.

His preparation was solid.  He prepared each game to be the starter.  Eventually he became that starter and he answered the bell, decisively. Before he took the field to face the New Orleans Saints in his first official start, he was asked if he was nervous, or even if he feared failing in front of the home crowd.

"“I take everything the same as I’ve been doing. So this is a little bigger deal to everybody else than it is to me. I prepared like a starter, even when I wasn’t. So it’s cool.” – said Byron Maxwell"