- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Redskins might poach off Seattle’s defensive success, taking a look at two players who helped create the "Legion of Boom."
Washington will host free- agent defensive backs Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, both of whom last played for the Seahawks. Browner, though, missed the Super Bowl championship run because he was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. However, the league recently reinstated him.
Thurmond, too, was suspended four games this past season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He’s only started eight games, including three this past season. But he was a key defensive back for them in the postseason and is considered good in the slot, an area of need for Washington. With DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson on the outside, the Redskins need someone who can cover inside. They like to blitz from this position as well. Thurmond’s age – 26 – is appealing as well.
Browner, at 6-foot-4, is a big corner who is very physical. If the Redskins want to play more press coverage in 2014 – they did it a decent amount last year – then Browner would fit in. He’s definitely more effective if he can get his hands on a receiver, but at his size he can have some problems in off-man or zone. Still, Browner, 29, made the Pro Bowl in 2011. He was limited to eight games last season, partly because of the suspension but also because of a hamstring injury.
As part of Browner’s reinstatement, he will be suspended for the first four games of 2014. He is visiting Thursday with New England.
Here's a look at Thurmond from ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount (this was originally on a blog post by Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky examining free agents):
From ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount: "Thurmond is an outstanding cover corner. When Brandon Browner was hurt with a hamstring injury, Thurmond came in and played as well or better than Browner was playing. But he isn’t the physical corner Browner is.
"The marijuana suspension hurt him. That gave Byron Maxwell his chance to start and he shined, four interceptions in the last four games. Maxwell couldn't have played better. When Thurmond returned, he had lost the starting job to Maxwell, but still played well as the nickelback.
"The suspension certainly hurt his dollar value as a free agent, which could make it easier for Seattle to keep him. They like him, and his chances of returning are a little better since Browner is done, but I'd still say it's less than 50-50.
"The secondary is the deepest part of the team with Jeremy Lane, Jeron Johnson and DeShawn Shead waiting in the wings. And Seattle has far more important free agents they want to keep in Michael Bennett, Golden Tate and Steven Hauschka.
"Thurmond is a good guy and really well-liked in the locker room. Very bright guy. He takes a lot of teasing for his wild attire on game days. After one game last season he wore a top hat and tails. Richard Sherman called him the Monopoly man."
From ESPN.com's resident scout Matt Williamson: “Surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast, Thurmond had a very good season for the Seahawks, where he was their nickel cornerback. But Thurmond has the ability to play every down."