The offensive line has been a work in progress for Seattle ever since cornerstone offensive tackle Walter Jones went down with a knee injury that required microfracture knee surgery in a Thanksgiving 2008 game against Dallas, essentially ending his career.
The Seahawks used 10 different starting offensive line combinations in 2010, a year after using six different starting offensive line combinations in 2009. Neither one of those teams ran the ball well, with Seattle finishing 31st in rushing last season.
However, the Seahawks appear to have added their cornerstone offensive tackle of the future in Russell Okung. Although he missed time with high-ankle sprains on both ankles and played in only 10 regular-season games, Okung more than held his own when healthy. Now, like Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson in Seattle’s hey day with Shaun Alexander, Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, believes it is time for Seattle to draft a dominant left guard to pair with Okung.
And that’s why he currently has Seattle selecting Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey, the twin brother of talented Pittsburgh rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, with the team’s No. 25 overall pick.
“Should one of the upper-echelon quarterbacks fall to Seattle at this spot, the Seahawks would be wise to think about their future,” says Rang. “Rather than panic if they aren’t however, the team can address its weakest link – interior offensive line play. Pouncey’s size, strength and agility would make him an immediate upgrade.”
Pouncey slid down to play center for the Gators this year with his brother leaving for the NFL, but Rang likes him better at guard.
Rang considers Pouncey the only first-round talent at guard, but also likes Baylor’s Danny Watkins and Florida State’s Rodney Hudson as second-round selections.
Rang: “He’s a physical player. He’s a tough player. And so you see the athletic ability and you see the toughness. Certainly he has had a high level of competition in the SEC throughout his career. So those are some of the things I think make him a legitimate, first-round talent at guard.”
Rang: “He’s a spectacular talent, but he’s a guy who only has four years of football experience. He didn’t play in high school, and he’s actually 26 years old because he spent some time in Canada actually volunteering as a fireman, so he’s got all the intangibles you’re looking for. At the same time he’s obviously an older prospect. So are you willing to invest a first-round pick in a guy who enters his NFL career at 26?”
Rang: “I like him in a zone blocking offense, which obviously Seattle has run a lot of. He makes a lot of sense, I just don’t think he’s a first round caliber player. Certainly in the second round, I would be very surprised to see him slip into the third. I think he’s a very good football player, it’s just because he’s as small as he is, perhaps he’s going to be forced to move inside to center, and I think with Max Unger you have potentially the center of the future, or of course Chris Spencer. I feel like the Seahawks are stronger at the position than they are at guard.”