What Should The Seahawks Draft? — Offensive Line

First of all, I don’t really DO mock drafts.  I liken them to Bracketology:  what’s the point?  Is it to give casual fans some information on who they might logically expect their favorite teams to draft?  Or is it just to give some sports guy something to do the other 364, 363 362 days of the year when we DON’T have the NFL Draft?

Regardless, mock drafts are stupid, and scoring them (i.e. seeing how many you had right in advance, when for some reason you write out dozens upon dozens of these throughout the weeks leading up to the big days) is a complete waste of time that involves so much luck it’s unbelievable.

Basically, mock drafts are just an excuse to praise teams who picked the way you think they should pick, and to belittle them when they don’t.  In that sense, maybe mock drafts aren’t such a bad idea!  Either way, I don’t know nearly enough about the college game or its individual players (outside of the University of Washington), so predicting who the Seahawks are going to take at Pick #25 would be asinine.  I’ll forward you to the “experts” for that.

On here, I’m just going to focus on where the Seahawks are lacking (and here’s a hint:  it’s pretty much everywhere).  To start:  offensive line.

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Along the offensive line, right now, the Seahawks have exactly 1 sure thing.  Russell Okung, Left Tackle.  Not a bad place to start, to tell you the truth, but every other spot on that line is up for grabs going into the 2011 season. 

We need to shore up Left Guard; I’m getting tired of going week-to-week with replacement players at that all-important position. 

Chris Spencer is up for free agency and I see him coming back as a 50/50 proposition. 

Max Unger is the real wild card in all of this.  He missed all of last year due to injury AND he was drafted by the previous regime.  If they agree with Ruskell, then he’s our center of the future (i.e. 2011).  If they re-sign Spencer (or sign someone else to play ball-hiker), then Unger could easily slide back to his Right Guard spot.  If he doesn’t heal, or if they just don’t believe in his ability, then Unger is gone and we need to fill BOTH guard spots (i.e. Worst Case Scenario that doesn’t involve Okung suffering through another injury-plagued season).

Hopefully they listen to my cries and dump Locklear to the wolves.  Then, theoretically we could slide Stacy Andrews back to his natural Right Tackle position and wouldn’t necessarily need to shore that up via draft.

Either way, we need 2 linemen.  Ideally, at least one of them via the first round of the draft.

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Now, I know a lot of the sports pundits are screaming for a Quarterback to be taken with that 25th pick (indeed, I’ll make the argument for QB in the next in this series), but if all things are equal (i.e. the lineman we covet AND the QB we covet are both available when we’re finally on the clock), I would prefer we draft the lineman.

My rationale being:  a great offensive line can make just about ANY quarterback look good.  They’ll open gaping holes for the running game, which in turn will allow the offensive co-ordinator to call more running plays.  THAT, in turn, will reduce the opportunities for our quarterback to screw up.  And, if they’re as good at pass protection as they are run blocking, then even Charlie Whitehurst with enough time could pick teams apart with a smart, steady game plan (i.e. the opposite of anything Jeramy Bates cooked up last season).

If I had it my way, we would make Robert Gallery priority number 1.  That locks down our left side for at least five years.  Then, draft the best-available tackle you can find and pen him into our starting lineup on the right side with either Unger or Andrews at guard.  Finally, if he’s cost-effective, re-sign Spencer.  If he’s not and/or Unger isn’t healthy, then sign the best-available past-his-prime-but-still-somewhat-effective veteran to a 1-year deal and hope either his knees or some scrub we pick up off waivers can do the job until we expend yet ANOTHER draft pick in next year’s draft on O-Line.

My point being:  don’t stop drafting O-Line.  Don’t EVER stop making them first round picks, until you’ve got a good stable of 6 or 7 hosses at all times.  Because the fat guys are the most important; and because something ALWAYS goes wrong at the position you have the least amount of depth.  Offensive Line is the single position you can ill afford to have no depth.

(again, some might argue QB here, but let’s face it, you pay your Number 1 QB the big bucks BECAUSE he’s irreplacable.  If you lose your Number 1, your season is likely over no matter WHAT team you are … unless, of course, your O-Line is awesome).

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