The 2016 draft looks pretty healthy for offensive lineman. That’s good news for the Seahawks.
Not only is the O-line in need of some care and attention, three fifth’s of Sunday’s starting line against Arizona is out of contract in the off-season. Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy are hitting the market. Patrick Lewis is a restricted free agent.
It seems unlikely both Okung and Sweezy will depart. The line has suffered enough thanks to a lack of cohesion and continuity. Three inexperienced new starters in 2016 looked like a recipe for disaster and so it has proved. The Seahawks are just hoping they can hold it together enough to avoid derailing a key season in the middle of the teams Championship window.
Even so, they could be facing at least three more changes in 2016. If Okung moves on, Gilliam could swap to the left tackle position. He’d need time to make that adjustment. That would create a hole at right tackle. It seems likely another face will be starting at center.
Adding more youth and inexperience isn’t an attractive proposition. More than ever young lineman are struggling to adapt to the NFL. Even the players drafted in the top ten are having a hard time making the transition. An apparent sure thing like Jake Matthews has been fairly ordinary. The insane upside of Greg Robinson hasn’t provided St. Louis with a fantastic left tackle yet.
The Seahawks would benefit from some choice veteran additions in free agency. Can they afford Alex Mack if he voids his contract? That would be a start. It’s unlikely to prevent at least one rookie starting next year. They don’t have a bottomless pit of cap space to fill the line with experienced vets.
Their ability to fill a hole in round one will be down to draft position more than anything. The later they pick, the harder it’ll be to get at the best group of tackles which for me includes Shon Coleman, Laremy Tunsil, Taylor Decker and Jack Conklin.
There will be options later on. Jason Spriggs is a largely unspectacular, solid blocker for Indiana with a shot to play right tackle at the next level. Joe Dahl is out with a foot injury for Washington State but has excelled in pass protection when healthy.
Time to throw another name into the mix.
Pittsburgh left tackle Adam Bisnowaty is extremely mobile with excellent, ideal tackle size (6-6, 300lbs). He ticks several boxes for the Seahawks. For starters, he’s a wrestler who was still competing as of 2011 (Tom Cable previously highlighted Justin Britt’s wrestling background). He’s a blue collar type who spent his youth fishing and hunting. He played basketball too — a testament to his athletic potential.
He was a former four-star recruit and one of the more heavily recruited prospects from Pennsylvania in recent memory.
He recently caught my eye watching the Pittsburgh vs North Carolina game. There’s no Bisnowaty tape on Draft Breakdown, but there’s plenty showing off Tyler Boyd. Including the UNC game:
Bisnowaty plays LT and wears #69.
So what stands out? He has a very fluid kick slide. Although he was never really challenged by speed in this game, he showed ample mobility and balance. He delivers a fantastic initial punch and showed off the ability to dominate and finish when squared up 1v1. It’d be very interesting to see how he’d adjust to guard where he can focus on downfield blocking where he should excel. I still think he has the mobility and range to play tackle.
There’s a willingness to get to the second level and he moves well laterally so he can pull and kick across easily enough. He passes off blockers and transitions with ease. There’s an awful lot to like here. Attitude, toughness, strength, size, mobility. A lot more to like than someone like Ronnie Stanley or Jerald Hawkins, that’s for sure. Stanley is a borderline first rounder for me, while LSU’s Hawkins has barely warranted a draftable grade (watch the Alabama game).
If the Seahawks wanted an upside prospect who could potentially man a tackle spot or move inside to guard, Bisnowaty is one to monitor. He’s a redshirt junior so should theoretically declare for the draft. He has a chance to rise. The skill set is there.