The Seahawks don’t need Germain Ifedi to be an immediate Pro Bowler, but ideally he becomes a starter and shows he can hold down a starting spot for the foreseeable future.
With the Seahawks set to report for training camp on July 29 (practices begin the next day), it’s time to look at who I feel are the players most pivotal to the team’s success in 2016.
Call it “16 for ’16’’ as we count down the 16 most important Seahawks in 2016, unveiling one new player each day from now until the team reports.
We start with the team’s first pick in the 2016 draft, and Seattle’s first first-round choice since 2012: offensive lineman Germain Ifedi.
Player: Germain Ifedi
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Position: Right guard
2016 contract status: Ifedi is in the first year of his slotted four-year rookie contract, with a base salary of $450,000 in 2016.
Expected role in 2016: Ifedi worked as the starter at right guard throughout the Seahawks’ offseason program, and he is the front-runner to win that spot this fall.
Why he’ll be so pivotal to Seattle’s success in 2016: The Seahawks are in complete rebuild mode on their offensive line and Ifedi is one of the key pieces of that for the present and the future.
When Seattle drafted Ifedi, it was the first time the Seahawks had used a first-round pick on an offensive linemen since James Carpenter in 2011. He played right tackle his final two seasons at Texas A&M, and many anticipated that’s where he would begin with the Seahawks.
Instead, the team quickly moved him to guard to compete for the vacancy created when Justin Britt was moved to center. Those moves are part of a remaking of the line that could see the Seahawks starting a new player at each of the five offensive line positions in 2015.
For the present, Ifedi needs to hold down that spot to make the re-vamped line work. Really, that could be said about every position on the line right now, as any failure could potentially create a domino effect of more moves to try to make up for those that don’t work.
For the long term, Ifedi’s progress is critical for the Seahawks as they attempt to put together an offensive line that could stay together for a few years.
Each of the projected five starters at the moment is under contract through at least 2017, meaning Seattle could enter next offseason not having to worry about losing an offensive line starter to free agency.
But that’s only a good thing if the line comes together the way the team hopes.
As mentioned earlier, Ifedi represents Seattle’s biggest draft investment in five years. While Seattle has drafted exceedingly well overall during the John Schneider/Pete Carroll era, the offensive line picks have been a little more hit and miss.
Some league observers raised a little bit of an eyebrow when the Seahawks moved Ifedi to guard, a spot not typically valued as highly in the draft as tackle. The Seahawks have said Ifedi could eventually move to tackle but that for now, he’s a guard. Draft analysts will be watching to see if that pays off for Seattle.
The Seahawks don’t need Ifedi to be an immediate Pro Bowler. But ideally he does become an immediate starter and show that he can hold down a starting spot for the foreseeable future.