It’s always good to run through different scenarios and we’ll continue to do that leading up to the draft. However, I think after listening to John Schneider on Seattle Sports yesterday I’m going to go back to what I said a while ago.

Don’t overthink this.

The Seahawks need to do some major repair work to their offensive line. They’ve already invested in the defensive line, by spending huge money on Leonard Williams and signing Johnathan Hankins. They traded for a quarterback in Sam Howell and retained Geno Smith, who they’re now regularly stating is ‘the guy’.

Meanwhile, they’ve filled in other holes at linebacker and safety.

The one position group that has had minimal attention is the O-line. And here we are, preparing for a draft that is universally considered to be one of the best ever for offensive linemen.

Although the Seahawks are determined to avoid drafting for need, it doesn’t really matter in this instance. It’s quite possible the Seahawks already know that the best player available at #16 is almost certainly going to be an offensive lineman based on their grading. Or, at the very least, the linemen will be graded so similarly to other players at other positions that it won’t matter.

This would explain how they’ve approached free agency because right now, they’ve done everything they can to set up an O-line draft.

In Schneider’s latest radio appearance, I got the sense he wanted to shout through the microphone that he had a plan for the O-line and it involved the draft. He confessed that he’s very aware of what the sentiment is within the fan base and media. So what could the plan be?

I’ve thought for a long time that their preference would be for one of Troy Fautanu or Taliese Fuaga to last to #16. They both ideally match the physical style they want to create up front, they’re both athletic and they’re both excellent players. For me, they’re the best two offensive linemen in the draft.

I think the Seahawks will have both comfortably graded higher than Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu. That’s my hunch, anyway.

The problem is, I don’t think either will make it to #16. So this brings me on to something Schneider said about who might be available at that position, versus who might be available if they move down.

What’s the best option? Take the best offer on the table to move down and potentially select from a group that includes Graham Barton, Jordan Morgan and Jackson Powers-Johnson, or stay at #16 and look at J.C. Latham, Amarius Mims or Tyler Guyton?

I don’t think the Seahawks will be tied to a specific O-line position. All of the players I just mentioned can play multiple spots — although Powers-Johnson is strictly an interior blocker.

Take Latham for example. He’s an athletic man-mountain. He could easily play guard or tackle. If you take him, you bring him in and work things out in camp.

Typically when I write this, someone jumps in the comments to say Latham and Abe Lucas are too tall or too big to play guard. Let’s get this out of the way then. Washington last season had Nate Kalepo at guard. He’s 6-6 and 327lbs and a former High School tackle. Before that, Jaxson Kirkland — who is 6-8 and 321lbs — played guard after shifting inside from tackle. Clearly, Scott Huff is very comfortable using big, tall interior linemen. There’s no reason to think players like Latham or Lucas couldn’t kick inside in this scheme.

Schneider did say guards get over-drafted and overpaid. He didn’t say that about tackles or players with the ability to play both positions. Drafting a player with the ability to play tackle long term could also be vital insurance if, sadly, Lucas’ career is cut-short due to his knee problem.

Doesn’t this just make sense? Their plan being, all along, to take advantage of the O-line options in this class — meaning they spend their free agent money elsewhere.

I think this also speaks to a broader possible plan to be young and aggressive up front. From what I can tell, athleticism is critical to Huff’s scheme. Therefore, they were never likely to sign older linemen towards the end of their careers for decent money. George Fant hardly fits that description either. His cap-hit in 2024 is $3.4m. He’s basically a very useful (and cheap) swing-tackle who can play various spots when called upon.

A line in 2024 that includes Charles Cross, another first round pick and Abe Lucas has potential — especially if the likes of Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford can also be coached up.

The other benefit here is consistency. Someone asked me the other day about the most important feature for a good offensive line and aside from the obvious answer of talent — having five players who understand each other, can work together as a unit and communicate is critical. Very few teams are patient enough to build and grow a line. Consistency is vital and it’s one of the reasons Philadelphia’s line succeeds, on top of their investment.

If you asked me to put $100 on a prediction for Seattle’s draft plans today — my bet would be something like this:

1. Are Fautanu and Fuaga available at #16? If so, one of them will probably be a Seahawk.

2. If not, you have to compare the next group — which could potentially include the likes of Latham, Mims and Guyton — versus trading down and getting more stock. The quality of the offer or offers dictates your interest in trading down.

3. If they do move down, it brings the Barton, Morgan and Powers-Johnson types into play. Or they could pivot to a different position and potentially target Roger Rosengarten on day two.

Everything is set up for the offensive line to be the focus. The quality of the O-line players in the draft, the fact they’ve already reinforced the defensive line, the fact they’ve added a young quarterback, the fact they’ve signed linebackers and safeties.

I seriously wish they had more picks because there are so many players at a variety of positions you’d love to add. It’s going to be painful watching so many of them leave the board for other teams.

Ultimately though, I think the Seahawks will be O-line centric early on. They’ll likely add a tight end at some point (there are several who hit the targets for 10-yard split & great agility testing) and they’ll add depth at linebacker too (they are meeting with two great options in Nathaniel Watson and Tyrice Knight).

A final point on the defensive line — like other people, I love the idea of turning it into a dominant force and adding a high pick to this unit. I generally think you’re better off trying to build one great unit instead of trying to create an unrealistic full-roster balance.

Isn’t it just a numbers game, though? They have Leonard Williams, Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, Johnathan Hankins, Cam Young, Myles Adams and Mike Morris. I appreciate Jones might be trade bait later in the year to create cap space — but even then, this is a lot of investment to also throw in a first or second round pick. They have a rotation here, plus they clearly believe Williams can be a star performer based on the investment in him. I’d be open to adding another player if they truly believe in one of the bigger names available — I’m just not sure they will.

Likewise at edge rusher. They recently paid Uchenna Nwosu a handsome salary, while investing high second round picks in Boye Mafe and Derick Hall. They also used a second rounder on Darrell Taylor and just re-signed him too. If you spend a first round pick on an edge rusher, doesn’t that just put a road-block in the way for Mafe and Hall? While fans might not mind that, the man who made those two picks is still in charge and probably hoping his new staff can get more out of the players he’s already invested in. Remember, the Seahawks’ official website revealed they had a firm first round grade on Hall last year.

With the recent news that they have some interest in Randy Gregory, he might end up being someone who comes in as part of the rotation — rather than a top pick being used on another edge rusher. Mike Macdonald succeeded with an ageing Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy (who’s still available) in Baltimore, so I’m not convinced another edge rusher is a priority (but it’d obviously depend on how they grade the available players).

At linebacker, they certainly need competition. Do they spend a high pick, though? Just because Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson are on prove-it deals? I’m not sure they will think that way, rather than look for depth and competition later on.

Philosophically you can look at it two ways. On the one hand, the Seahawks matching their biggest need with the biggest strength in the draft makes sense. On the other, are they ever going to be able to make one side of the ball elite by essentially trying to match-up a way to create a complete roster in free agency and the draft? Or do they have to pick their poison and attack offense or defense? What’s your identity? Being great at one thing, then building from there, also makes sense.

Arguments can be made for either view — but I do think if you take a step back, don’t overthink things and just look at what’s available in this draft class — it seems very obvious what the Seahawks will do with their first pick. It will be an offensive lineman, short of a dramatic trade down that changes the complexion of where they’re picking in a big way.

Signing Laken Tomlinson or Cody Whitehair is unlikely to change that.