Seahawks have drafted at least one OL every year since Pete Carroll arrived in 2010 and can be expected to do so again.
The words of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at the NFL league meetings last month might have caught by surprise those who think Seattle’s offensive line remains its biggest area of need heading into the draft.
“This is the best we’ve been in some time,’’ Carroll said in assessing the offensive line. “A little quietly it’s emerging that it’s a very good group and it’s going to be one that we’re going to look forward to seeing some real progress made.”
In fact, Carroll seemed to sell the idea during that media session that the Seahawks already have in place a potential starting five they’d feel good about — left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi.
The Seahawks, though, will undoubtedly add to the line in the draft — they have taken at least two offensive linemen in all but two of the eight drafts of the Carroll/John Schneider era and at least one in all of them.
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Here’s a quick look at Seattle’s offensive line as we continue our annual review of each Seahawks position group heading into the draft.
Starters (as projected by the Seattle Times if the season started today)
Left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker, right tackle Germain Ifedi.
Joey Hunt (center), Jordan Roos (guard), Rees Odhaimbo (guard, tackle), George Fant (tackle), Isaiah Battle (tackle), Willie Beavers (tackle).
Key offseason departures: Guard/tackles Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi remain unsigned free agents, guard/tackle Matt Tobin signed with the Patriots.
OVERVIEW: While the personnel up front might not undergo a whole lot of change — other than adding former first-round pick Fluker as a free-agent signee to compete initially at right guard — the line could have a vastly different look in 2018 thanks to the change in coaches from Tom Cable to Mike Solari.
And for now, that seems to be what the Seahawks are banking on the most in improving the line in 2018 — that Solari will get more out of the current players (especially younger ones such as Ifedi and Pocic) than did Cable.
Solari is expected to install a scheme that will include more man blocking, which the team thinks could better fit the likes of Ifedi and Pocic, with Pocic also having been said to have gained about 25 pounds in the offseason as Carroll aims to get bigger and more physical up front.
Carroll also has said an entire season with Brown at left tackle — the four-time Pro Bowler was acquired in a trade last October — could make a significant difference in the development of the line as a whole. The Seahawks also picked up an option on Britt’s contract in March basically assuring he’ll be the starting center for a while — the option keeps him with the team through the 2020 season.
The team is also counting on Fant to make a full recovery from an ACL injury and compete as a backup left tackle and possibly push Ifedi — who for now the team says it plans to keep at right tackle — on the right side.
Odhiambo and Roos also project as still in the long-range plans.
DRAFT NEED (on scale of 1-10): 8.5.
Seattle will almost surely add to the line at some point in the draft. Whether they do so with their first pick at number 18 — at the moment the only choice they have in the first round rounds — undoubtedly depends on who is available.
But it’s worth remembering that Seattle has hardly been reluctant to spend draft capital on the offensive line — the 16 linemen the Seahawks have drafted since 2010 is the most of any team in the NFL.
POTENTIAL DRAFT FITS
Billy Price, Ohio State: Seahawks were reported to bring in Price — generally considered as the best center available — for a private visit on Wednesday, the last day that visits were allowed. Price suffered a partially torn pec muscle while doing the bench press at the Combine, an injury that wouldn’t seem to hurt his stock. Price also started for three years at guard at Ohio State before moving to center as a senior and he could play either spot in the NFL.
Will Hernandez, UTEP: If the Seahawks go early for an OL, Hernandez might be the most logical pick who could be available at 18. Hernandez started 49 straight games at UTEP at left guard and weighed in at 327 at the Combine though he’s been listed above 340 at times in his career. You see the words “road grader” associated with his name quite a bit and Seattle could certainly use that.
Austin Corbett, Nevada: Generally considered a mid-to-late round pick, Corbett is another player Seattle had in for a private visit. Played left tackle at Nevada but expected to move to guard or center in the NFL.
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon: The Seahawks have been said to show particular interest in Crosby, who was the 2017 Morris Trophy winner as the best offensive lineman in the Pac-12 as voted on by Pac-12 defensive linemen. Played both right and left tackle during his Oregon career.
Cole Madison, Washington State: The Seahawks also had Madison in for a private visit. Generally considered a mid-to-late round pick, Madison played mostly right tackle at WSU but could be an interior guy in the NFL. Had a solid Senior Bowl to help his stock.