Every year, it’s seems like it’s the same old story – the Seahawks need a lot of help on the offensive line. Then again, you could say the same thing about every other team in the NFL. Pick a team, any team, and improving the offensive line is probably one of their top two priorities. The Seahawks hold the 25th pick in this year’s draft, and selecting an offensive lineman is a strong possibility.
The Seahawks’ offensive line is in yet another state of flux. Russell Okung will likely be the only holdover from the unit that started at the end of last season. Sean Locklear will be playing elsewhere next season. Chris Spencer will probably not be re-signed. Chester Pitts cannot be relied upon. Tyler Polumbus and Mike Gibson have shown to be serviceable backups, but neither seem to be worthy of starting.
Max Unger will return from injury to play one of the interior positions, most likely center. Ray Willis returns from injury, as well, and he is a possibility to start somewhere on the right side. The coaching staff speaks highly of Stacy Andrews, but he failed badly when given the opportunity to play at right guard last season. I’ll be surprised if he makes the team this year.
As chaotic as the offensive line situation seems to be, the Seahawks are actually in better shape than most teams in the NFL because they have someone firmly in place at the most important position of left tackle. That is, as firmly as Okung’s ankles allow him to be.
If the Seahawks do select an offensive lineman in the first two rounds, it will be the third consecutive draft that they have done so (Unger was selected in the second round in 2009, and Okung was taken sixth overall last year). Hopefully, major improvement as a unit will begin to materialize whether an offensive lineman is taken early or not.
It’s almost fortunate that the Seahawks are drafting 25th this year (because they won the NFC West) instead of the 8th spot their record would warrant if they indeed intend to take an offensive lineman in the first round. Interior linemen and right tackles are never selected that early, but there should be several players who could help the team at those positions available at 25. Plus the team wouldn’t have to commit nearly as much money to the player drafted.
The possibility exists that the Seahawks could trade down and even out of the first round entirely to acquire more picks in the later rounds. The team has a multitude of needs, and there should be enough players (not just offensive linemen) with similar draft grades that they could conceivably trade down eight to ten spots and still get a player they would have been content to select at 25.