Nothing Is More Important To The Long-Term Greatness Of The Seahawks Than The Offensive Line

I’m pretty excited about the possibilities of where this defense is headed. As I noted before, I think there can be some immediate and impactful developments with the new coaching staff and a few player additions. Am I still worried about the defense? Of course. But, if I had to rank the units I’m most worried about, the defense wouldn’t be at the top.

If you asked the fans, they’d probably be the most confident in the wide receiver room, followed by the running backs. We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money pumping up our skill position guys; they should be fine.

I also think, if you polled the fans, they’d probably have Starting Quarterback as their biggest concern, for good reason. Backup Quarterback? We’re solid. But, the worry here is the fact that we’ve got two very good-to-elite backup quarterbacks, but neither are good-to-elite starters.

As we always talk about, though, there are ways around this problem. You can get by with a Just Okay quarterback, if you’ve got the kind of elite talent everywhere else to make up for it (especially the offensive and defensive lines). Look at the 49ers last year. Granted, they ran into the buzzsaw that is Patrick Mahomes, but the 49ers gave the Chiefs everything they could handle.

If the Seahawks can replicate on defense what the Ravens were able to do under Mike Macdonald, I don’t see any reason to doubt his abilities in whipping that side of the ball into shape. And, with our lack of an elite passer holding us back, that means there’s only one area of concern we have to get right, if we’re ever going to be a serious contender for the Super Bowl in the next five years.

The offensive line is the single most important unit on this team. If we can’t do better than what we’ve done from 2015-2023, we’re never going to go anywhere. BUT, if there’s a way for the Seahawks to build a young, impressive O-Line and keep them together for a few years in a row? Then I would say the sky is the limit for this team.

The offensive line is what makes the team go. In that sense, I’m right there with Jim Harbaugh in his line of thinking. Offensive linemen ARE skill position guys. So, what are we looking at for 2024?

Assuming health is not an issue, we’re going to roll with our bookend tackles of Charles Cross and Abe Lucas. Cross, I would say, has been good-not-great. He’s never showing up on PFF lists or talked about like some of the other elite left tackles in the league, and I would say that’s a problem. We took him 9th overall, that guy NEEDS to be talked about in the same breath as the game’s best. This will be his third year in the league, so it’s now or never. Because going forward, he’ll be looking for his second contract. The best of the best get that taken care of before they hit their fourth season. If we have to go into next year not knowing if he’s even worth the fifth year option, I’m going to be extremely upset.

As for Lucas, obviously he missed most of last year with a chronic knee injury. By all accounts, he’ll be ready for training camp, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Based on what the Seahawks did in the draft and free agency, I think they feel the same way.

As veteran insurance, we have George Fant (newly signed to a 2-year deal) and Stone Forsythe (entering into the final season of his rookie contract). Fant is obviously a known quantity, and a very good backup plan for either tackle spot, should the injury bug hit. Forsythe, I think, played better than expected last year. But, he also seemed to be overwhelmed at times, and the team definitely sped up the offense to take some of the strain off of this line. Was that more because of Forsythe’s ineptitude? Or the interior linemen replacements? Or a combination? My guess is that Forsythe will enter training camp as this team’s fourth (and final) tackle, but will need to work his ass off to keep his job, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him cut at the end of the pre-season.

As younger insurance, we have two sixth round draft picks in Sataoa Laumea and Michael Jerrell. We’ve also got a couple of practice squad-ish type guys we signed to battle it out this year, but obviously I’m more interested in the rookies. I don’t think BOTH of the rookies will make the team out of camp, but one certainly might. Laumea obviously has a lot of fans out there among the amateur scouts who did their research on this draft class. Of course, there’s always a chance that he slides inside and competes for guard, which a lot of people think will be his destiny. As for Jerrell, he’s as big of an unknown as it gets. So, given that, maybe we shouldn’t quite discount his chances. After all, he chose to go to a smaller school and stay there, rather than move up in the college ranks. He might actually be great! We don’t know.

With the guards and center spots, it looks like an absolute free-for-all. Laken Tomlinson is the only veteran of the bunch, but he’s here on a cheap one-year deal, and he’s never really been a star in this league. The Jets signed him to some reasonably-big money in 2022, but he obviously didn’t make it to the end of that 3-year deal, so how good could he be?

The obvious starter in the interior is third round draft pick Christian Haynes, but at this point, we don’t know where that’s going to be. I think someone said he was a right guard in college, but that he’s smart and talented enough to play on the left side. Someone on the radio even suggested he might be converted to play center, so who the hell knows? Tomlinson, apparently, is a left guard, but again, he has no guarantees.

There’s also a holdover in Anthony Bradford, who got some play as a rookie last year. Clearly, he didn’t impress enough to win himself a job with that effort, but he’ll obviously be in the mix. I hope, for his sake, that he put in a ton of work this offseason, as there likely won’t be a more important period in his professional life.

An interesting name – aside from some of the other practice squad pick-ups we’ve got as likely camp fodder – is Tremayne Anchrum, who has been with the Rams the last few years. He was by no means a regular for them, but does have some experience, which could at least give him a leg-up as a backup.

Then, that takes us to the center spot, which looks like a two-man race at the moment. We’ve got holdover Olu Oluwatimi (a rookie last year, who also got some playing time taking over for injured guys) and newly signed Nick Harris (a former Husky who has spent most of his professional career on injured reserve with the Browns). I would think this is Olu’s job to lose, but again, the whispers of Haynes sliding over and joining that competition are pretty interesting. I don’t think that happens unless Olu looks bad, or if we’re just so strong at guard, we don’t necessarily NEED Haynes there. Regardless, I see Haynes as a starter for this team for the next 4 years.

Everyone else? Your guess is as good as mine. Ideally Cross will take the next step and be worthy of a big money left tackle contract, that crosses off two spots on the line. Even if Lucas manages to play through his knee all year, I have serious doubts about him sticking around for a second contract. Right tackle is going to need to be addressed (if it hasn’t already with one of these young guys we snagged).

My hope is, with Ryan Grubb’s scheme, and Scott Huff coaching them up, our neverending O-Line woes will finally be part of the past. But, they need to get this figured out in a hurry. Because I don’t want to be sitting here five years from now lamenting the fact that our offensive line is STILL the God damn worst.

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