Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line coach Tom Cable wasted no time in explaining the immediate role of their second round two pick Justin Britt:
“He’ll compete at right tackle with Mike Bowie, right from the beginning. He’ll have the ability to play either guard spot… He is our kind of guy. He’s competitive. 45-0 as a heavy-weight champion wrestler in high school. He’s an ornery, mean guy that plays the game the right way. And obviously with his background and his number of starts in that league and against that competition, that’s important.
With the departure of Breno, filling that need and then creating the right competition so that we get a good player at right tackle… it worked out perfectly.”
John Schneider and Pete Carroll are incredibly trusting of Cable and allow him to do something that not many at the top allow or trust their assistants to do, which is to target his own players on the offensive line and call for them to be drafted if available at certain points. Cable said he targeted two offensive linemen within the first two rounds. Never was it mentioned who the other kid was, but it was clear to him and the Seahawks’ draft room when that player went off of the board that Britt was the guy to be honed in on.
For the sake of an intriguing argument, it’s very interesting to consider the offensive linemen that were taken before Britt in round 2 (since it’s more likely either of these second round players were who Cable could have realistically expected to have a shot at falling to them). Some of these are guys that we here at 12th Man Rising had predicted or wish listed at some point in time.
- OG Xavier Su’a-Filo – from UCLA, 33rd to Texans
- OT Joel Bitonio – from Nevada, 35th to Browns
- OT Cyrus Kouandjio – from Alabama, 44th to Bills
- OT Jack Mewhort – from Ohio State, 59th to Colts
So one of those four was another Seahawk target at one point but it sounds like three of them were never even a possible part of the plan. You also have to wonder which one it was because it makes a difference on how long the Seahawks actually risked losing out on their only other prospect. One thing is almost clear, Paul Richardson could not be passed on as he almost certainly was drafted (at 45th overall) after Cable’s first guy was gone.
Regardless, Cable was ecstatic and relieved that his guy was still there when the Seahawks came up at 64. He was very complimentary of the Mizzou product and even went so far as to say that “he is really the perfect fit for us, really what we need to have right now.”
There was plenty of speculation by the NFL Draft crew on ESPN that they severely overreached on Britt, especially with both Morgan Moses and Gabe Jackson available. But it’s interesting to realize (or at least to hear) that the Hawks didn’t have either of them as targets. Instead they chose to lay in the weeds and pounce when it made sense for them. That’s exactly how the Seahawks work isn’t it? If it’s a guy they need, they don’t worry about what the mock draft boards say.
But then you also have to realize that even if they knew it was a reach, they couldn’t chance the only OL target remaining on their board to be snatched up. Not with the run on OL that has happened in this draft, not without a 3rd round pick and not with the position as a major need they had to address. The Seahawks needed to draft Justin Britt or risk getting away from what they do and giving him away to someone else.
I’ll be honest, like most of you (and apparently most of the rest of the NFL), I really didn’t have a clue Britt was even on the Seattle radar. Thus, he was a shock to all of us and when that happens, no matter how much you trust in your organization, it will cause you to at least evaluate the pick with some form of immediate scrutiny. After hearing Cable talk about him, it’s clear that they felt they just had to pull the trigger and draft him or fail the need.
Draft him they did, and I think based on recent history in these sorts of cases with our favorite organization, we can all live with that.