The draft figures to yield at least one offensive lineman, though maybe not more considering the Seahawks at the moment have just seven picks and that this is generally regarded as one of the worst groups of OLs available in the draft in some time.
As was the case a year ago, there will be no more scrutinized position group for the Seahawks in 2017 than the offensive line.
Fair or not, the line was generally regarded as the team’s biggest weakness in 2016 and one of the worst units in the NFL.
But coach Pete Carroll cautioned at the end of the season not to expect a massive overhaul. And while there have been changes, many of the same faces will remain in 2017, with Seattle hoping in part on improvement from within to form a sturdier front this season.
The draft, though, also figures to yield at least one offensive lineman, though maybe not more considering the Seahawks at the moment have just seven picks and that this is generally regarded as one of the worst groups of OLs available in the draft in some time.
In fact, longtime NFL exec Gil Brandt, who now works for SiriusXM NFL Radio, Tweeted Friday that “while there’s depth, I’m not sure I’ve seen a poorer collection of offensive linemen in one draft.”
So maybe hopes for massive improvement coming via the draft should be muted.
First, a review of how things currently stand.
PLAYERS CURRENTLY ON ROSTER
Starters (Seattle Times projection): LT Luke Joeckel, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Oday Aboushi, RT Germain Ifedi.
Backups: C Joey Hunt, LT George Fant, LG Rees Odhiambo, RT Robert Myers, G/C Will Pericak, C Ross Burbank.
Key offseason losses: RT Garry Gilliam (signed with 49ers as restricted free agent).
OVERVIEW: The Seahawks made two big moves in free agency to aid the line, signing Luke Joeckel, who the hope is will take over at left tackle, and Oday Aboushi, expected to take over at right guard. Justin Britt returns at center as the most sure thing on the line after moving there and making that spot his own last season.
Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick last season, is expected to move to right tackle, a spot that could be all his now that Seattle let Gilliam walk to the 49ers, declining to match an offer sheet tendered by San Francisco.
Glowinski could be in a battle with Odhiambo, a third-round pick last season, at left guard.
The Seahawks could well be in the market for another veteran, especially with Gilliam now gone, with one possibility being former Seahawk right tackle Breno Giacomini, who was released by the Jets. Seattle also had left tackle Ryan Clady in for a visit and he remains unsigned.
With the departure of Gilliam, Seattle has just 11 offensive linemen on its roster as of Friday and would seem likely add four or five or so before training camp begins via either the draft or free agency.
DRAFT NEED (on scale of 1-10): 9. The Seahawks sure certain to add an offensive lineman at some point in the draft. But there aren’t considered more than a handful of players who appear likely to step in and make a big impact right away and Seattle could look more to the middle rounds to add depth and players to groom for the long haul.
FIVE POTENTIAL DRAFT FITS
• OT Garett Bolles: The Utah grad is considered one of those who could step in and start right away — he’ll be 25 in May so the learning curve may not be as steep as for some others. He has an intriguing story, having overcome a bevy of personal issues involving drugs and alcohol before turning his life around and truly beginning his college football career at the age of 22. Was the best among offensive linemen at almost all of the agility drills at the NFL Combine.
• OT Zach Banner, USC: The biological son of former UW standout Lincoln Kennedy, Banner is considered more of a likely mid-round prospect, due in part to concerns over his weight (weighed 353 at the combine, most of any player). But height (almost 6-9) and long arms project well for being a tackle. Went to Lakes High and said at Combine it’d be a dream to play for Seahawks.
• OG/C Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky: A college teammate of Fant’s, many regard Lamp as being as ready as any of the offensive linemen in this draft to step in and play immediately. But one question is where — he was a left tackle at WKU but height and arm length project more to playing inside in the NFL. Seattle doesn’t appear to need a center, as long as Britt is in the plans to extend, and the Seahawks might not want to spend a first-round pick on a player who could end up at guard for the second straight year, even if Ifedi now appears to be moving to tackle.
• LT Cam Robinson, Alabama: Robinson is among the players most often projected going to the Seahawks in mock drafts, even if many now also think he won’t last until 26. Robinson spent just three years in college but was a starter for all three, allowing just 10 sacks in three years and only one in 2016 when he won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football.
• LT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin: A former walk-on who began his career at the Division III level, Ramczyk blossomed into one of the best OLs in the nation in 2016. He also had hip surgery following the season and some wonder if he may not be a better fit as a guard. That he played in a pro-style offense, though, will be attractive.