Questions about Kristjan Sokoli, the offensive line and UW receivers in our latest Seahawks Twitter mailbag.
Our latest Seahawks Twitter mailbag addresses the offensive line, Kristjan Sokoli and the odds of UW receivers making the final 53-man roster.
Q: @ToddASmith7 asks: As of today who are the 5 OL starters and at what positions?
A: Assuming everyone was healthy, then I think the offensive line would look like this — Garry Gilliam at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Germain Ifedi at right guard and J’Marcus Webb at right tackle.
I think the most set positions are the tackle spots — Terry Poole appears the current backup at RT and Bradley Sowell at LT and it seems it’d take an awful lot for Webb and Gilliam not to end up the starters (or a position move elsewhere). The RG spot also appears to be Ifedi’s to lose with the Seahawks having moved Glowinski to LG, where he is competing with rookie Rees Odhiambo.
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The most intriguing position is center, where the team moved Britt to compete with Patrick Lewis, who ended last season as the starter.
There’s a long way to go with the transition of Britt and I don’t expect the team to make a decision on how that has turned out until a few games into the preseason at the earliest.
I think the Seahawks think they know what they have in Lewis so I’d expect Britt to get a really good, long look at center, and especially in some game situations, before anything is settled. Whoever doesn’t win the center job would likely be something of a sixth man, able to serve as a backup at several spots along the line — remember that the Seahawks typically have only seven or eight linemen active on gamedays so they need players as backups who can handle more than one position.
The real wildcard at center is if rookie Joey Hunt emerges as a legit option. I wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s too early yet to say it will happen. If it does, though, that could again shake things up.
Q: @jordancda asks: What’s going on with Sokoli? He was in conversation for future center last year and has had zero mention this off-season.
A: It’s a curse of backup offensive linemen to often go unmentioned and I’d caution that sometimes how much you may hear about a player — especially an OL — may not have anything to do with what the team thinks of him
Both head coach Pete Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable have talked about Sokili in pretty positive tones in recent weeks when asked. Sokili, recall, was a sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Buffalo, where he played on the defensive line. Since he was making a conversion to offense, the team knew he was more of a long-term project, and as such it was never really thought he’d make a big impact last season.
This shapes up as a more critical training camp for Sokoli to show progress since he is now in his second season and the team has also made a lot of additions to the line.
Sokili is being used at both guard and center and what might the best-case scenario is that he would emerge as a swing backup type this season.
Here’s what Carroll said Solokli last month: “I just want to see him go, just want to see him develop. He’s got tremendous ability, he’s the fastest, most flexible athlete we have on that side of the ball and he’s going to play guard and center. We’ve got to make sure we don’t log-jam him out of the center spot because he has the potential to be a really big-time player and we’ll see if we can bring that to the front, but he’s the one transitioning from the other side so it takes a little bit longer unfortunately.’’
And here’s what Cable said this week: “He’s another guy who has taken a big jump forward. He’s a guy I’m really excited to get to camp and just see how far he’s come. But he played center (Tuesday) and was fantastic and has played guard a bunch. He’s on it. So it’s good.’’
Q: @GMT27 asks: Over/under Husky wide receivers making the 53 man roster for Game 1: 1.5.
A: Well it’s at least one — Jermaine Kearse is a lock.
So from there it’s what happens with Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams, who were each on the 53-man at the end of last season when spots opened up when Chris Matthews was waived and Ricardo Lockette and Paul Richardson injured.
Their experience give Smith and Williams each something of a lead in the race for the final receiving spot or two. But it also figures to be a pretty competitive battle that may not be decided until the final week.
The Seahawks will keep at least five receivers and could keep as many as seven, with things such as Jimmy Graham’s recovery and how many of the rookie running backs make it factoring in.
Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett can be inked in on the roster and I think Richardson is just about a lock, as well, as long as he stays healthy.
That would leave Smith and Williams competing with the likes of rookie seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler and a few other free agents such as Douglas McNeil and Deshon Foxx for a final spot or two.
Carroll said last week that Smith and Williams are helped “a great deal’’ by their experience of last season. “Both of those guys have put together great off-seasons, so they are in a great position to compete for another roster spot. We will just sit back and kind of see how (it turns out). … There are so many opportunities between now and when we have to make those choices. There is no rush to that.’’
As is always the case, special teams could be the deciding factor as the final couple of receivers on the roster have to be players who can contribute on multiple special teams (it goes without saying the impact Lockette had on special teams, and Matthews also initially broke onto the roster in part due to his play there).
Carroll made a somewhat interesting comment on that topic when discussing Smith and Williams recently.
“I don’t think either Kevin or Kasen got a lot done in that area last year,’’ Carroll said. “They started to but didn’t really break in. This is really an important part of the camp for the, that they can find a spot and find roles in that. And also for Kenny Lawler. Those guys all have to find their way. Doug McNeil is a guy we have seen do a pretty good job on special teams so he’s going to try to take that edge into the competition. So it’s going to be fun to see how it turns out.’’