Yesterday, Colin Cowherd mentioned in passing that the Seahawks were going to be targeting O-line in the draft…
This isn’t an explosive revelation. I think most people would expect Seattle to do this. Cowherd’s connection to Russell Wilson, as evidenced by his comments earlier in the week, make this info more interesting than it otherwise would’ve been though.
It’s not a stretch to think the Seahawks have told Wilson they intend to draft a left guard with their top pick, following his recent complaints about the offensive line, and that this information has fed its way to Cowherd.
I still believe that a major transfer of resources from linebacker and safety to the trenches is required, otherwise the Seahawks are destined to face a very similar fate in 2021 that they’ve experienced over the last few years. This could, in turn, accelerate Wilson’s desire to move on.
However, whatever they do or don’t do in the coming weeks, drafting a guard with their top pick makes a lot of sense this year.
The need matches with the strength of the draft.
In order to try and emphasise this, I’ve put together a rudimental horizontal board.
This is completely underdeveloped. With limited or no testing data it’s going to be virtually impossible to deliver anything close to a worthwhile board throughout this process unfortunately. I don’t run a scouting department, I run baths for my kids. I haven’t seen every eligible player, although I have watched all of the names listed on the board and feel comfortable passing comment on them.
There are several players who would otherwise move up or down based on the combine. So take this with a rather large pinch of salt. It’s really just an opportunity to show what I currently think about certain players and emphasise the point I’m making on the offensive line.
Click on the image below to make it bigger:
I have 11 interior offensive linemen listed in either the second or third round. The four players listed in the third round are fringe second rounders and I’d be comfortable drafting any in the second frame.
It’s not the only area of strength. At receiver their are many good options too. If they had the three picks in the first two rounds they had last year, they could easily address guard, center and receiver with this draft class.
They could’ve done that a year ago too. It was another strong WR/OL draft (plus running back) but by pouring more resource into linebacker and trading up for a pass rusher with serious injury flags, they opted to go in a different direction.
Now they’ll have to find options with fewer resources in terms of cap and picks. The Seahawks face a real challenge this year, as do many franchises, to create the kind recourse necessary to plug holes and find ways to make improvements.
While it’s true that the NFL will find it harder than ever to evaluate prospects and make the best possible decisions in the draft, it’s also true that the draft is the best opportunity to fill holes on the cheap. For example, Jordyn Brooks (drafted in the late first round) had a cap-hit of $2,224,656 in 2020. Damien Lewis’ cap hit was just $891,298. Their combined salaries cost less than Jacob Hollister. It’s hard to find that kind of value in free agency, probably even in a tumultuous year like this.
What type of guard will they look for?
I don’t expect the Seahawks to go full-Rams with Shane Woldren’s arrival. After all, Mike Solari is still the offensive live coach. I think we’ll see a meshing of ideas and concepts.
I suspect they will try to emulate what worked with Lewis. He was huge and had the +33 inch arms they like, he had an extremely successful college career, he was an explosive tester and he excelled at the Senior Bowl — grading out as one of the top-performers at any position.
From Quinn Meinerz to Trey Smith to Alex Leatherwood and Aaron Banks — they all performed at the Senior Bowl and have some of the traits that made Lewis a success-story as a rookie. D’Ante Smith also had a brilliant Senior Bowl and can play guard or tackle. Ben Cleveland hurt his ankle in Mobile and only participated on day one but he’s an incredible monster of a blocker.
If they want to target a center, there are options there too.
The simple fact is this 2021 draft is well set up for the Seahawks to find a starting left guard, possibly even after trading down from #56, much in the way they were able to with Damien Lewis.
Now, it’s just a question of who it’ll be.
And that’s one of the things we get to talk about for the next two months.
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