31st, 63rd, 65th, 66th, 75th – these are the rankings of Seattle’s offensive linemen in their respective positions on Pro football focus. Even if you ignore the statistics, you could see the woes Seattle’s offensive line had over the course of the season. They gave up too many pressures and forced Darrel Bevell to run a conservative offence due to the lack of time Wilson had on the ball. Everyone can see that Seattle need to improve the line but a lot of disagreement is coming over when the improvements should be made.
Seattle could of course draft offensive linemen in the early rounds, after all this got the team players such as James Carpenter, Russell Okung and Justin Britt who all became starters on good Seahawks teams. The issue with such an approach is that Seattle have other team needs which are more important than an offensive lineman and with the defensive free agent class looking weak, it makes the idea of taking an offensive lineman in round one very strange and a little bit shortsighted.
The offensive linemen that we are expected to draft are guys such as Jason Spriggs, Taylor Decker and Javal Alexander, all would be a good fit but a first round pick should not be used on them. The last few draft classes have been fairly poor for offensive linemen and Seattle’s picks of Justin Britt, JR Sweezy and Mark Glowinski have hardly been convincing. Seattle are much better at drafting defence and that for now is a huge team need, especially on the frontline.
Brandon Mebane has served the Seahawks really well, but he should be moved on this summer. He declined last year and his run stopping ability became mediocre, he used to be a great plug in the 4-3 system but he didn’t have an ideal year. Athyba Rubin was a smart pickup from Cleveland and he will now likely be the key guy in the run stopping game. Regardless of Rubin’s form and Jordan Hill’s breakout, Seattle need to improve their defensive line and this draft is incredibly deep in that area in terms of first round quality. Sheldon Rankins is the person who is consistently being linked, he looks a beast against the run and his ability to destroy guards at college level is expected to translate to the NFL. Seattle would be foolish to pass up on such a talented d-lineman class to draft offensive line when there are plenty of good pieces that can be acquired in free agency.
Possible Free Agency Targets:
The list of free agency o-lineman is actually relatively deep and there are a lot of good ‘rental’ targets for Seattle. The guy the team need to actively pursue is Richie Incognito. He has done some questionable things in the past but he had an excellent season for the Bills and was one of the main reasons for Tyrod Taylor’s breakout season. Cap trouble and the need to re-sign Cordy Glenn means that the former Miami guard will likely be expendable, Seattle should be jumping at the opportunity to get him in. Not only is he a terrific run blocker who could open gaps for Thomas Rawls but he excels in pass protection and Wilson is a similar type of quarterback to Tyrod Taylor, so it wouldn’t be a massive change of scheme or scenery for him. He is also a fiery competitor and Seattle’s offensive line lacked this alongside leadership, the line was soft and didn’t earn the respect of the opposing pass rush.
Incognito isn’t the only possibility. Players like Alex Boone, Mitchell Schwartz, Evan Mathis and Brandon Brooks should all be considered by Seattle in the coming weeks as they are desperate for experience. Something that gets overlooked is that this team already has young pieces on the line, people like Patrick Lewis, Mark Glowinski and Justin Britt could easily improve so adding someone with a first round draft pick when there are other glaring team needs makes absolutely zero sense. Taking one in the second or third round wouldn’t be an awful decision, but Seattle should not waste their first round pick on a tackle because a long term replacement for Brandon Mebane is simply a bigger need.
Seattle have a defensive philosophy, they always have and they will as long as the legion of boom are around. Offensive line isn’t ever a long term need for this group of players because Wilson can make plays outside of the pocket, and the offence is extremely well drilled in all situations because of Tom Cable and Darrel Bevell. There are some great experienced guys on the waiver wire, it’s time for John Schneider to get some help for Tom Cable’s offensive line. This is arguably the toughest off-season Seattle have ever had.