Talking guards — the 2014 class and is it a need?

UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo might be the best guard available in 2014

To answer the question on whether guard is a need — I don’t think so.

Not a crucial need, anyway.

But I know a lot of people disagree.

I think J.R. Sweezy gets a rough deal from fans, much in the way Breno Giacomini became a bit of a scapegoat last season. Every mistake is accented.

“This guy isn’t good enough”

We want our offensive linemen to be flawless, when really very few are.

I still maintain that every time you don’t notice a particular linemen, it’s probably because they’re doing their jobs. Everyone likes a key block to break off a run, everyone likes to see top-tier pass rushers getting shut out.

But it’s the little plays that are the most important. When all they do is follow the script. And for the most part Sweezy appears to be getting the job done.

Sure, there are mistakes. What do you expect though?

This is his first year as a full time starter. We’re only a year removed from his original switch from defense to offense.

I doubt even Tom Cable and Pete Carroll expected the finished product by 2013. Their faith in Sweezy appears to be intact. And because of that I have no reason to think they’ll target a new right guard early in the 2014 draft.

On the left side, I’ve actually been impressed with James Carpenter.

It can’t have been easy playing next to Paul McQuistan (himself a guard) at left tackle. McQuistan did his best, but when you’re consistently giving up pressure on the left edge, it’ll always leave your guard exposed.

Pass protection isn’t Carpenter’s superior attribute at the best of times, mainly because he is a massive human being. I think he’s also lost a step with all the injury issues he’s had.

But as we saw at Alabama and now in Seattle, he is a terrific run blocker. And for a team that wants to run all day every day, it’s no bad thing that he’s stayed healthy and got some time on the field this year.

He too is making a transition from tackle to guard. Let’s not forget that.

And here’s the thing — the line has still performed. The running game has been incredibly productive despite all of the injuries.

The pass-pro problems can be placed squarely at the absence of the two starting tackles. For me, the success of the running game can be largely pinned on Cable’s running schemes and the performance of the two guards.

I haven’t charted specific plays to give you examples here, but over and over again during games I’ve noticed Carpenter and Sweezy making a big block to spring Marshawn Lynch for a nice gain.

You can’t argue with the stats. Seattle runs the ball frequently and productively. They average 148 yards a game — good for #3 in the NFL. Despite the laundry list of absentees.

When Russell Okung and Giacomini returned against Minnesota, we also saw a substantial improvement in pass-protection.

With Alvin Bailey also capable of playing guard and the general success of finding both Sweezy and Bailey on the cheap, I’m not sure an interior lineman will be considered a priority next year. Even if McQuistan — a free agent — is likely to depart due to necessary cap savings.

The biggest problem for me will be the right tackle position. Michael Bowie flashed in some games and struggled in others. I’m not sure whether we’ve seen enough to feel completely comfortable about him being the full time starter. Cable and co may have more faith there, I guess we’ll find out in due course.

But if Giacomini has to depart in free agency to save money, the right tackle position becomes something of a priority on a loaded team. Getting someone who can also cover at left tackle — as we’ve discussed — could also be needed to avoid another situation like we’ve seen this season.

To add to this, there are many good tackle prospects likely to be part of the 2014 draft. Enough that one or two good ones might just hang around until the late first round.

All of this is kind of reassuring, because I’m not a big fan of the eligible guards.

Of the group I’m probably most excited by UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo and Alabama’s Arie Kouandjio. Neither is expected to be a first round talent. Su’a-Filo is athletic enough to maybe work into that area, but seems more likely to fall in the rounds 2-3 range. He’s a big time athlete but needs to become more technically adept.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see Su’a-Filo battle Arizona State this weekend, including defensive tackle Will Sutton.

Kouandjio lacks his brothers upside but would be a solid mid-round selection.

Of the others, the hype factor is in over-drive. There may not be a position in football that gets hyped as much as guard. Every year someone will identify “the next Steve Hutchinson”. Very rarely does that prove to be the case.

The thing is, it’s a tough position to judge. Tackles can mostly be measured by athleticism and watching them go 1v1 against the big-time speed rushers. It’s hard to make the same judgements on guards.

In some cases it can be easy. Last year was unique because we genuinely saw two players who were worthy of the hype in Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack. They deserved to go as early as they did.

But this year I fear we’re going back to old habits and overrating a couple of guys.

Baylor’s Cyril Richardson looks heavy and I’m scared to death of the scheme he plays in. It’s the ultimate spread and usually the ball gets out very quickly. How can you judge pass protection properly? And the way the prolific passing game dominates, it doesn’t half open up a defense inside for the running game.

Guys like Jason Smith and Danny Watkins looked great at Baylor, then flopped as first round picks. It doesn’t mean Richardson will go down the same route, but you have to be a little suspicious.

He’s massive at around 335lbs and might have some of the same issues we’re seeing with James Carpenter. In terms of body type they look incredibly similar. In terms of lateral agility he looks slow. This is a problem when any pass rusher stunts inside. When he’s not squared up with a guy, he’s sluggish. And more and more NFL teams are using stunts and big time athletes to collapse the interior.

I like him against a bull rush or standard straight up block. He absorbs defensive linemen and is rarely beaten in that situation. But as I say, it’s different in the NFL. And he has an obvious weakness when he needs to move around off the spot.

He’s a former left tackle. I’m always a little concerned when a guy is considered a better fit inside in college and they aren’t fantastic athletes (like Su’a-Filo). Tackles converting to guards in the NFL I get. Tackles who move inside in college because they’re too big — that’s when the alarm bell goes off.

Richardson is tough and appears to love the game a lot more than Watkins, but he might be most effective in the running game where his size and toughness are most effective.

If you’re looking for an upgrade on Carpenter in pass protection, I’m not sure this is your guy.

Stanford guard David Yankey is another player getting pumped up in the media. I went back and watched the USC tape this week and wasn’t quite as impressed as I was after the first viewing.

He pulls well, that’s to be expected. It’s integral to the scheme. David DeCastro did it, Yankey does it. The next guard who comes in at Stanford will be good at it too. It’s bread and butter Cardinal football.

I don’t like seeing Yankey pull as often as he does because he’s not going to do it in the NFL. I want to see him lining up 1v1 at left guard, driving people away to open up running lanes and sitting in pass pro. He’s a lighter guy (around 6-4 and 305lbs I’d estimate) so his body type is ideal for protection.

Yet when he does go 1v1, he looks inconsistent. He hasn’t got the sheer power to dominate versus the run and he’s far from unbeatable looking after the quarterback. I’d say he’s a pretty good player. But I’d struggle to invest a first round pick in him.

He looks like a prospect who could get stronger in the upper body and develop into a decent starter. But if you’re taking a guard early — you want someone who can dominate. Someone who is going to take your line to the next level. Few guys can do that.

So right now, I prefer the idea of Xavier Su’a-Filo or Arie Kouandjio in the middle rounds. Either that or I’d consider drafting Notre Dame’s Zack Martin — who I like as a tackle — and move him inside.

But I’m not blown away by this guard class on the whole, even if it’ll almost certainly get big licks from the internet draft community — just like every year.

I don’t mind the idea of Bailey or Carpenter starting at left guard, with Sweezy continuing on the right side in 2014. There are probably bigger needs and better players out there for Seattle.

It’s still early though…


  1. AlaskaHawk

    I’ve been free to express my dismay at various penalties, missed blocks, and just standing while the defender rushes by them. With the injuries we have had the offensive line has been very inconsistent. It is really hard to judge the quality of the players we have when they are only playing “part time”. Even though some games have looked really, really bad- somehow the two lines we have used have gotten the job done.

    Since the Hawks still claim to be a rushing first team – even though we get double the yardage and touchdowns through the air – lets take a look at one of our worst performances.

    Action Seahawks vs St. Louis
    First Downs 7 vs 23
    rushing yards 44 vs 200
    yds/rush 2.9 vs 5.4

    passing yards 91 vs 139

    when you have a game like that, it makes other people suggest that a few new linemen should be added for competition. And those sort of games have happened through out the first half of the season. With starters and with backups. Considering the OL injury history and certain individuals penalty history there is every reason to pick some high to mid round players for the offensive line. If they are good they will become a starter or backup. Competition is good right?

    • Rob Staton

      I think we need competition (depth) but in the early rounds I want impact. I find it very hard to judge the offensive line so far because the injuries have been unbelievable. For me it kind of starts now – with the two tackles back. I thought the line played very well against a Minnesota team that really went after the run and yet got nowhere near Russell. And I can’t judge the guards harshly when McQuistan and a 7th round rookie are playing tackle.

      I think the bigger needs for depth are at tackle, at least right now. Much depends on what happens to McQuistan and Breno in free agency. But there’s just so much more early round talent at tackle and not much at guard.

    • Cade

      Good run first offenses will have double the passing yards than rushing yards. A 100 yard rushing day for a lead back is a good day for any rushing team. 200 yards passing in the same game isn’t anything to make a point off of.

      Having a strong running game dictates defense and opens up big plays in the passing game. It sets the physical tone of the game. If you don’t have a decent running game the defense can get one dimensional and as a result the passing game suffers.

      I agree with Rob that OL isn’t a screaming need for this team yet they have some pronounced needs. They will likely go with a primarily BPA again in the draft with a focus on specific immediate needs and long term cap management.

  2. Cysco

    When you look at the first picks in the PCJS era there’s a common thread. This front office looks for physically unique players that have a chance of being real difference makers.

    2013 – Christine Michael – Check
    2012 – Bruce Irvin – Check
    2011 – James Carpenter – Check (may not be an impact player, but he is/was a physical freak)
    2010 – Earl Thomas – Check
    2010 – Russell Okung – Check

    Taking the best available guard or tackle just doesn’t seem like their style. Unless that offensive lineman has a truly unique physical attribute, I just don’t see it happening. As it currently looks any offensive lineman that would be available in the late first is probably going to be a guys best described as a “solid football player.” That’s just not what our FO goes for. They can get tons of “solid football players” in the middle rounds. They want to swing for the fences early.

    • Michael M.

      Well said.

    • KyleT

      This is a good point and it also makes it hard to predict our 1st round pick before the combine.

  3. Stuart

    More quality depth, agreed! With the success of converting Sweezy, maybe this will be another draft to try this, lightning striking twice.

    Breno and his pending FA and Carpenter having a track record of injuries are both concerns. I would love to get an OT early in the draft who could be a difference maker. Adding another stud makes us so much deeper.

    10-1 with devastating injuries. Cant wait for the Saints game!

  4. Attyla the Hawk

    I’m a huge Richardson fan. Probably in much the same way that Rob is smitten with Kouandijo at tackle.

    Richardson is massive. But unlike Carpenter who looks like a beached whale laboring to bend his joints, Richardson is awesomely smooth. He really looks like he could be the first 300 lb. middle linebacker if he so chose.

    Very athletic and light on his feet. At Baylor, he cut blocks pretty frequently and does so excellently. Baylor runs an offense a lot like the Huskies. Quick tempo at the line. His conditioning is beyond superb.

    He does tend to stand upright in pass pro, but despite losing leverage often, he has astounding strength in his hips and legs, and resets his position very quickly. Leverage is something that he could afford to improve on.

    His greatest/unique asset is his brute gorilla strength. This guy has massive arms, with amazing hand placement/discipline. He is what I would term as ‘country strong’. When he gets into a player in a drive block/seal situation he moves people yards from where he starts. When he engages players, he just simply erases them from the field. In run situations, when he gets on his man, they vacate their space quickly and almost without fail.

    Where I see issues with him, is not unlike with Carpenter. When he is on the move or doesn’t have a clear assignment, he seems hesitant — maybe even a shade lost. He doesn’t decisively recognize who else to get as a secondary block. He combo blocks well when it’s by design. But assignments can seem to confound him if the defense does some exotic stuff.

    He does occasionally show cases where he kind of plays to the raising of the whistle instead of the echoes. Not always, but generally in cases where he thinks the play is over he can be seen quitting on his blocks.

    For a team that wants to win at the LOS, Richardson is in my estimation a better prospect than Iupati was coming out. Iupati didn’t have the leverage questions Richardson does, but he didn’t have Cyril’s athleticism or strength. Richardson is a guy, who if he hones his game at the pro level, is going to attend pro bowls as long as injuries and age are willing. His strength, both in his upper body and in his hips/legs is NFL dominant at this point already. His athleticism and conditioning are top shelf for the entire OL class at any position.

    He doesn’t display Hutch’s mean streak or smarts. But his ability to drive big grown fat men clear of a contested space is Hutch’s equal. Richardson would be a worthy upgrade/successor to Carpenter whose last year of his deal is 2014. A player I’m not sure any Seahawks fan expects to be resigned or extended. Even drafting Richardson could allow Seattle to simply cut Carpenter at a savings of 1.5 million after dead money. That move would allow us to tender Doug Baldwin.

    • CC

      I’m just not a fan of the Alabama lineman. Carpenter has been mediocre at best. At times he plays well, then is MIA. Injury prone as well. The injury bug is the thing about Alabama’s linemen that concerns – look at last year’s class. I think they run them hard in college, and they break down. I don’t know if drafting a lineman high is really needed. We need to restock some other areas that we might lose through FA. I can see a WR or CB in that first round draft spot. I really like what Justin Gilbert does – CB OSU – don’t know where he’ll rank out so he may not be there for us.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        Richardson is playing at Baylor.

        Honestly though, I just hate smearing prospects with the failures of past alumni. These guys aren’t tethered together in that way. While I do think that prospects can be overhyped due to where they play — astute analysts can make that difference.

        Fluker is a guy I really didn’t like and he’s probably the second best OL pick in last years’ class. Warmack has played acceptably and should be a stalwart for the Titans. Barrett Jones was garbage and I didn’t like him at all. He’s basically been no better than Jaye Howard at cracking an NFL active roster. He’s essentially redshirting this year but not by injury.

        Rob made the case that Baylor OL prospects have struggled in the pros. And I won’t deny that much. And I can certainly accept the notion that a spread offense by nature doesn’t allow us to see prospects perform in a system they’ll likely play in the NFL. But I also don’t think because Watkins and Smith were fantastic failures, that every Baylor OL prospect is doomed to similar fate.

        As to your point about restocking — I would defy anyone to list another unit on this team that is going to have as many defections/cap casualties as our OL will. We have 3 UFAs in our 2 deep — probably lose 2 of them. We also have Carpenter who will likely be lost after 2014. Two starters and two valuable backups. We are going to need talent there. It doesn’t have to be day one — but we’re going to need more than the 7th round project types.

        Seattle was willing to go OL early last year. But I bet we didn’t anticipate hitting on Bowie and getting a freebie in Bailey. Getting those two was like getting two late day 2/early day 3 additions. We added good talent there. It’s entirely possible that those two guys eliminate the desire to go OL early this year. I can’t say with any certainty how we view it. But I can expect that our assessment of the groups’ need is different as a result.

        CB is a good alternative too. I do think we’ll find a way to keep one of Browner/Thurmond however. Probably just add a day 3 project like we do every draft. Let Thurmond ascend and Simon/Lane/Maxwell to take a bigger role next year. Just keep that conveyor belt of talent moving along.

        • Rob Staton

          In fairness I made the point of saying just because Watkins and Smith failed it doesn’t mean Richardson will. I also made the point that my issue was with the scheme.

          • Attyla the Hawk

            I was trying to say we were saying the same thing. My wording failed me. I think we see that situation eye to eye.

  5. RKB

    I’m partial (based on what I’ve read anyway), to Center Travis Swanson, from Arkansas. Plays guard too. Provides depth at two positions.

  6. Chris

    Sure, maybe our guards might be “ok”, but why is just okay good enough? With a better line, RW and Lynch would go from being good to straight up lethal.

    If I had more faith in this regime to find quality linemen (which I unfortunately have zero faith in now), I’d want some serious capital put into the position. There isn’t much else left on the team to fix anyway.

    OL and maybe DT seems about it.

    • Michael M.

      I think the team is past the point of trying to “fix” things, and it now becomes much more about planning ahead for the inevitable loss of key contributors. I tend to think that adding depth to our most important position groups, even if it is already considered a strength, might be a smarter approach than trying to “fix” every weakness.

    • Rob Staton

      Again, it’s hard to judge the guards in the current environment with all the injuries. And there aren’t any obvious upgrades in this draft anyway IMO.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        I do think there are upgrades to be had. This draft is pretty good for guards. Not just in round 1 either.

        Guards I think would be strong competitors capable of unseating Sweezy or Carpenter:

        Zach Fulton (Tennessee)
        Chris Watt (ND)
        Zack Martin (ND)
        Brandon Thomas (Clemson)

        Those guys are going to be day 2/3 prospects. This would be in addition to Richardson or Jackson who would assuredly start at either position handily. Martin and Thomas are currently playing LT for their respective teams. So there would be some position versatility with both of them.

        Specifically, Jackson/Richardson/Fulton should be strong upgrades to our pass protection. They are very strong in that role.

        • Rob Staton

          I like the idea of Thompson later on and I’m a big fan of Zack Martin — but I truly believe Martin can play tackle at the next level.

          • Attyla the Hawk

            I expect he could too.

            Although if we’re talking early, then I have to think we’re looking at a guy who could play LT in a pinch. Bailey surely could be that guy, but I am concerned that Pete doesn’t agree. Obviously, McQuistan was a raging dumpster fire of a LT and yet we barely saw Bailey out there on the edge. Pete is a coach famous for allowing youth to play when the opportunity presents itself. Yet he didn’t in this case. I’m left to speculate why that would be. It certainly wouldn’t be because McQuistan was holding his own out there.

            Okung, at this point, is what he is. A very good, even elite pro bowl left tackle who we should probably come to expect will have durability issues throughout his career. The onus is now on the organization to plan for that eventuality. We may well be in the market for a guy who grades as an acceptable LT option who will man the RT spot when at full strength and slide over to LT in the event that Okung goes down again.

            Martin to me seems like a RT/OG swing pick. Like Carpenter but not the upside/potential. Martin certainly doesn’t possess the brute strength of Richardson nor the squat/lower body stoutness of Jackson. To me, he seems like a more polished Sweezy with significantly less athleticism and a bigger frame. He doesn’t play particularly long, in that he doesn’t display much of a punch or ability to keep his frame clean from pass rushers. He does display good footwork/balance and can lock up/ride pass rushers past the QB with good form.

            We’ve kind of gone for high reward/potential guys with our early picks. Guys who flash some kind of dominant athleticism or feature. Martin doesn’t show that to me from what I’ve seen. Although Long didn’t last year either and by process of elimination and from what we’ve pieced together — it appears he was the OL prospect we wanted at #56.

  7. Ben2

    One of the reasons our secondary is so awesome is because we draft miltiple mid-and late round players, let them compete and let the cream rise to the top (great scouting is another reason – but if the hawks knew a guy like Sherman was going to be all-world you wouldn’t risk drafting him as late as the 5th round….there’s something to be said for getting a multiple guys and seeing who’s got the biggest chip on their shoulder!) I think the reason this strategy isn’t as prevalent with the o-line is because cohesion and consistency or so important….I foretell no Giacomini or McQ for cap reasons with Bailey & Bowie taking their spots with competition brought in (from draft)from mid-to late rounds.

    And here’s a question: why not try Bowie at guard? Blah blah leverage….our center is 6’5″ and played some tackle in college. Seems like Bowie’s problem is WHO to block on complex blitz schemes- are these crucial decisions lessened on the inside ? I’m not sure, but if they are his physical talents might warrant a look-see.

    • Michael M.

      “…if the hawks knew a guy like Sherman was going to be all-world you wouldn’t risk drafting him as late as the 5th round”

      One could argue that they knew Russell was gonna be “all-world” and still had the discipline to wait until the 3rd. I get your point about the number of late rounders this FO likes, and of course no one ever “knows” what they’re getting in a draft pick. Still, it seems to me PC/JS have been very good about picking guys as late as possible, and not “reaching” on players. Some would throw Bruce Irvin out as an example to the contrary, but I would remind those people that we traded down before making that choice, and there was plenty of talk about the Jets also having interest.

      • Ben2

        I thought about this argument when I wrote my post- JS and PC seem to know when to get a guy/when a guy will go. That being said, after the 4th round I feel it’s a real crapshoot because it’s a lot cheaper for teams to trade up/leapfrog, so if you feel like a guy is going to be a pro-bowl corner you avoid getting too cute and waiting too long.

  8. KyleT

    I’m amazed anyone could be concerned about Bowie but say our guards are good enough. If you watch every play of every game focused on the OL with all-22, count up missed blocks and assignments there is a massive gap between Bowie and both guards.

    With that being said I would be surprised if we picked a guard first, but I do think we might hit someone on day 2.

    • Rob Staton

      Presumably you’ve thoroughly studied all-22 tape then?

      • KyleT

        Yeah. Bowie has had some highly visible screw ups but has been more consistent then the two guards at picking up assignments in both pass and run blocking. He has been beaten far less in his 1on1’s

  9. Bruce M.

    Pro Football Focus continues to rate Carpenter poorly, both as a pass blocker and a run blocker…

    Of all the linemen, he’s the one I see as having the biggest gap between what his coaches say about his performance and what third party evaluators say.

    • Rob Staton

      And without wanting to bang this drum over and over, I don’t trust PFF’s way of ranking and grading players. It doesn’t take into account opponent, doesn’t recognise that JC had to play next to McQuistan. It’s the same system that ranked Earl Thomas the 29th best safety in football last season.

      • KyleT

        PFF cannot be expected to get the complex scheme stuff right. However evaluating the line is mostly watching 1on1’s with some more interesting stuff mixed in. I have noticed PFF be pretty close in how they rate lineman on both sides of the ball.

        • JW

          PFF measures strike me as a far better metric for o line play than rushing yards which has a slew of other variables involved.

          You can, actually account for competition- you can look at individual game scores for each player and their opponent. And, their game refocus details their matchups.

          I don’t take PFF as gospel but at least it’s a systematic recording of the “eye test” rather than vague recollections of them.

          I’d also be surprised if they take a guard in the early rounds. I think the draft to grab early interior line on both sides was last year. I have to think they’re looking at edge players early.

          • Rob Staton

            A flawed system is a flawed system. And any system that judges and ranks a guard without acknowledging a) whether he’s playing against JJ Watt or an UDFA rookie and b) whether they’re starting on a line where 4/5 starters is injured is MASSIVELY flawed.

            • williambryan

              Agreed. PFF can be fun for debate but the only scores or grades that count or the ones the coaching staffs hand out on mondays, which unfortunately (…maybe not…) we don’t have access too. Using my eye test, Carp stands out the most with his devastating run blocks. Hard to say the OL is a need and I personally think Bowie and Bailey are going to be mainstays for the hawks with positive results for a long time, and don’t forget their added value to the team with a 7th round and undrafted contracts each, especially with the big extensions looming.

              • JW

                Again, their game refocus examines exactly their matchups.

                Also, the system doesn’t try to account for draft status or reputation, or contract. It tries to measure how they perform in competition. The scoreboard, the coaches, the opposition, the refs, none of those things care who you are. What matters is performance. I just don’t see the sense in this kind of a critique of ‘accounting’ for an UDFA vs. an MVP. What matters when the ball is snapped and the game is played is how the play unfolds. Period.

  10. Colin

    It never fails to amaze me the obsession with having a flawless offensive line. As soon as we move on from Carp and Sweezy, people will bitch about their replacements. Just as they bitched about how injury prone Russell Okung is and how Breno Giacomini isn’t a starter caliber lineman. It drives me nuts.

    I’m not a fan of Carpenter’s pass pro, but his run blocking is stellar. He moves men and it’s terribly fun to see what he does when he pulls- often leveling guys. He may never develop into good or even solid pass protector as a Guard, but does that mean he needs replaced? I’m not sure. I think at this point, if it’s convenient to replace him, you do so, but replacing him to replace him is silly. The number of flawed guards out there makes a pile a mile high. The gold standard offensive line talk runs rabid, and yet its one of the most flawed arguments out there. You need a good, capable offensive line. You don’t need Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson.

    I don’t believe for a second you can look at Carpenter or Sweezy and Giacomini and say “they MUST be replaced ASAP”. They have their flaws and their shortcomings, but they’ve also been integral parts to why this team has been so successful the last 15 months.

    If it’s convenient to replace them, you do so. But replacing them does not guarantee you get an upgrade.

    • MJ

      Spot on. Couldn’t have said it better. OL play will never be “good enough,” because the only thing that gets attention is a bad play. It’s only after the fact that you look back and go wow, the OL did pretty damn good. We had a great running game and one of the most efficient passing attacks in the NFL. They must not have sucked that bad, huh?

      • AlaskaHawk

        My take is that we have a great running game because of Marshawn Lynch, not the inconsistent line. Marshawn has suffered through good and bad offensive line play. As for finding replacements, they are available every draft so why not check a few out?

    • Attyla the Hawk

      “It never fails to amaze me the obsession with having a flawless offensive line. As soon as we move on from Carp and Sweezy, people will bitch about their replacements. Just as they bitched about how injury prone Russell Okung is and how Breno Giacomini isn’t a starter caliber lineman. It drives me nuts.:

      I concede there are plenty of fans who seem to fixate on getting the next Jones/Hutchinson combo. It’s almost assuredly never going to happen again.

      I also concede, that our run game and passing attacks are good to even great. Despite that, I think we can probably agree that has more to do with the individual talents of Lynch and Wilson. We don’t have the same juice clearly when Turbin runs the ball. And we’ve seen what other QBs have looked like behind the pass pro of this line.

      This team is undeniably built in the fashion of the Dallas Cowboys teams of the 90s. That kind of team and talent appears to be our philosophical goal. That offensive line was incredibly strong. Seattle has accumulated enough playmakers offensively to pin 30+ points on just about any team when Wilson is afforded time to throw and Lynch can get yards in chunks.

      This team looks like a completely different caliber of team when the OL performs well. That performance has been inconsistent. And not simply because of injuries. In the interior, we continue to see cases where Carpenter and Sweezy just flat out get beat in their 1 on 1 assignments. We were full strength against Carolina and they really put it to us.

      I’ve had this conversation before and it usually goes something like, “Well that’s Carolina and they have one of the best defensive fronts in the league”. To which I respond, well they didn’t last May until they invested heavily in the line to turn a position of strength into a position of dominance. Carolina wasn’t great before this year, and their ascension to the elite stratosphere in that unit wasn’t by chance. It was by design. And by significant investment.

      Seattle will have the opportunity to infuse high level competition to the OL if they choose to. There are players in this draft who should be capable of winning starting positions at RG/LG. Our OL isn’t broken when healthy. It has good depth. But it’s really in virtually the same shape as the Panthers’ D Line was last draft. Seattle could make a similar leap in quality on it’s offensive line. There are players in this draft to make that happen.

  11. Hay stacker509

    Rob, side note you need to start keeping your opinions of who the hawks need to draft to your self, j/k. It seems like people are maybe starting to clue in on your blog?!
    I’m watching the LSU vs Texas A&M and the whole first half the announcers have been saying off and on how awesome beckham is and they just need to get him the ball more and all I keep envisioning is all other 31 teams drafting him. It sucks because your right,the way he plays would be perfect for Seattle. Of course it all depends if we get Tate to stay
    Sorry I posted this in the wrong feed

  12. Hay stacker509

    Rob, for another TE, Jake Murphy out for the Utes, their playing the cougs and their D isn’t spectacular but he’s nimble, can block decent and has some speed, in the 4th qtr he’s 5-107yds 2 td’s

    • Rob Staton

      I’ll check him out. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. RKB

    To clarify my earlier post about Travis Swanson, I believe the debate about Carpenter’s worth is besides the point. He’s from Alabama. He’s living clear across the country from his family and he’s a free agent in 2015. Short of him becoming a franchise tag worthy left guard (I’m pessimistic about that), I think next season is his last in a Hawks uniform.

    Jeanpierre is assumed to be leaving this off season as well. While no one can accurately predict the future, I believe it would be prudent to pick up a guard and a center this off season. Or better yet, someone who can play both.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m glad we didn’t write off Golden Tate and Max Unger in this way…

  14. Nathan

    I’d like to see Bailey at Left Guard because of his pass pro skills and Carpenter at Right Guard because of his run blocking skills. Seems like the best fit to me.

  15. RKB

    Unger was born in Hawaii and went to the University of Oregon so he wouldn’t have as much problem with the west coast. You’re right about Golden Tate though. He was born in Tennessee The difference would be that they both have earned the big contract extension. If Carpenter doesn’t have a pro bowl year next year we may be less interested in tagging him to keep him around. I’m not writing him off so much as I’m acknowledging that many young Americans like to be close to home. Or at least closer than 3,000 miles away. There are exceptions. He also probably grew up a fan of an NFL team well East of Seattle.

    • Rob Staton

      This just sounds like pure speculation based on zero evidence. We have no idea whether James Carpenter is home sick or not,

      And the thing about being a fan of another team is irrelevant.

  16. RKB

    We were speculating about Guards and whether drafting them is worthwhile. I’m simply pointing out that unless we plan on tagging him that there’s a good chance he’s gone anyway so drafting a replacement might be worthwhile. I don’t like the idea any more than you do. I’d prefer to see skill position players or other dynamic defenders drafted instead.

    By the way, we have no evidence that Cable agrees with your assessment of our offensive line play either.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure, but speculating on whether the team may/may not draft a guard is very different to speculating on whether a guy is/isn’t homesick isn’t it?

    • Attyla the Hawk

      “By the way, we have no evidence that Cable agrees with your assessment of our offensive line play either”

      I think that we do. If we consider that Seattle was looking at spending one of their top picks on the OL in last years’ draft. Obviously there was an opinion that we needed to invest in that unit. If they were looking early in the draft for that, then if would follow that they were looking for guys who would start. Not be merely depth/project players.

      I wouldn’t expect the additions of Bailey or Bowie to change that assessment. Neither of those guys have really pushed the incumbents or challenged for starter snaps. Even Moffitt was able to force his way into a time share arrangement with Sweezy. This unit is essentially unchanged from last May, and I’d say it’s even more likely since Giacomini and McQuistan are UFAs that may not be retained due to needing cap relief for other players.

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