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Post-draft depth chart: Offensive line

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on June 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm with 23 Comments »
June 3, 2014 12:31 pm
Keeping Russell Wilson clean is the No. 1 job for Russell Okung and Co. / AP photo
Keeping Russell Wilson clean is the No. 1 job for Russell Okung and Co. / AP photo

On to the offensive line, with the standard caveat that it’s June.

Left tackle
Starter: Russell Okung
Backup: Alvin Bailey
Next in line: Garry Gilliam
Overview: Okung’s 2012 Pro Bowl appearance already feels like a long time ago. That’s because much of 2013 was forgettable for him. He injured his toe and missed half of the season. When he did play, he was not as effective. Much of that can likely be attributed to the injury, which led to offseason surgery. Okung is not healthy enough to participate in OTAs and won’t be back until training camp. The Seahawks have raw options behind him in second-year lineman Bailey and rookie Gilliam. For me, this is one of the positions of concern for the Seahawks in 2014. Okung could return to his prior form and give them a boost they were lacking last year. Or, health issues force him off the field again and the Seahawks are left managing options they probably don’t want playing left tackle in an important game.

Left guard
Starter: James Carpenter
Backup: Caylin Hauptmann
Next in line: Jared Smith
Overview: Carpenter’s contract is in its final year after the Seahawks did not pick up his fifth-year option. As has been repeatedly reported, he appears slimmed down for OTAs. He was continually winded last season, at times having to take a knee during drills in practice while his teammates kept going. That was midseason. In Carpenter’s defense, he was coming off two offseason knee surgeries last year. Hauptmann was around on the scout team all of last season and appears a versatile lineman the Seahawks have been pleased with.

Starter: Max Unger
Backup: Lemuel Jeanpierre
Next in line: Greg Van Roten
Overview: This may be the Seahawks’ best duo. Jeanpierre filled-in well for Unger last year when he missed three games. Unger has been named to consecutive Pro Bowls.

Right guard
Starter: J.R. Sweezy
Backup: Stephen Schilling
Next in line: Bronson Irwin
Overview: Sweezy is the clear starter here. He started 15 regular-season games last season after making three starts in 2012. Schilling, 25, played in 18 games for the San Diego Chargers since 2011. He started twice. He became a free agent when the Chargers did not offer him a tender as a restricted free agent.

Right tackle
Starter: Michael Bowie or Justin Britt
Next in line: Nate Isles
Overview: Shortly after drafting Britt with the final selection of round two, offensive line coach Tom Cable said Britt would compete with Bowie to start at right tackle. Bowie played half of last season at right tackle, filling in for the injured Breno Giacomini. Now, the Seahawks are looking for Giacomini’s full-time replacement. The advantage for Bowie is experience and familiarity. The advantage for Britt is being a second-round pick. He’s a significant investment for a team that did not end up with a first-round pick.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. SandpointHawk says:

    Just reading this lineup makes me worry…our weakest group by far…

  2. Same Shpit Different Day…

    Once again, the offensive line is a big worry, and our weakest link. However, as many others have continually pointed out, we dont have to have a top 10 line to beat the crap out of opponents and win the SB. Plus, we DO have hope, what with the awesomeness that is Michael Bowie, a (hopefully) soon-to-be-healthy Pkung and Unger, an improved Sweezy, a slimmed down and motivated Carpenter, and a group of guys to duke it out for the backup spots.

    Lem is a fine backup C, and we’re lucky to have him. I think he should have had the shot to win a G spot, but that has never been allowed. Same with Bowie; after watching his 8 games at RT, and his one game at RG and one game at LG, I cant understand why he isnt being given a shot at the G positions. He’s not a good RT and I cant see him ever having the footspeed to play well there. I think Britt takes this one from Game One. Bowie will remain a guy who should be playing G backing up the RT…sigh. Bailey is a nice prospect who should blossom into a fine T after another year or so of seasoning/adapting to the pro game.

    IF Okung stays healthy and plays well, I expect Carpenter to improve, Unger to return to form, Sweezy to improve and Britt to beat out Bowie at RT. I think the line will be better than last year, and I am cautiously excited to see them play in preseason. All my optimism regarding the line is of course predicated on Okung being healthy and hale all season. He is the one piece we cant afford to lose this year.

    I am not, however, terribly excited by the likes of Hauptmann or Shilling, but it would be awesome if they made me eat those words.

  3. pabuwal says:

    I wonder if Bailey is the LT of the future…

  4. banosser says:

    If Britt is good enough to beat out Bowie @ RT.. then Bailey and Bowie will be first off the bench at any position besides C… I fully expect Okung to be 100% prior to GB.. While not an elite unit, the line does have the possibility of being better than last yr

  5. doubledink says:

    btw, thanks for name explanation. I often wondered.

    I still think Britt will have trouble moving to the RT side of the line. My guess is Bowie wins the start. Partly my reasoning is that at his slot in the draft we were not going to find anyone who could walk on a win a starting spot on this club. So that mindset prejudices me, I’m sure. Oh well.

  6. jawpeace says:

    Agree on Lem. And I thought he did a superb job last year filling in for the injured. My guess is he is not competing at guard because of his value as a backup to Unger. I say the Center position is the second hardest to replace behind left tackle and I would not put it very far down, more like 1a and 1b.

    I too like Bowie better at guard but I am not a coach and do not have a professional eye. So hopefully the Hawks coaches know what they are doing here. I thought Bailey was better at right tackle than Bowie. I think maybe because of Okung’s injury and injury past they want a solid backup, instead of a back up that had the sad play of PM last year.

    My line projection for this season.
    RT Brit RG Sweezy C Unger LG Carp and LT Okung.
    In 2015 replace Carp with Bowie

    For the Hawks to continue their domination all this Offensive line group needs to be is average.

    Scariest thought is facing the Rams D line twice and the 49ers not as much (depends on suspensions but considering we don’t play them until week 13/Thanksgiving it will be injury factor for the older 49ers)

  7. banosser–I would hope so. Until I see otherwise, Bowie looks at the worst to be a fine backup G to have on the roster.

    doubledink–No problem. Ive posted the explanation a couple times this year, since some folks asked.

    pabs–Could be. I like Bailey. I think Seattle really liked the potential of the guy they drafted in the sixth and had to IR due to a heart condition as well. It sure appears to me Seattle is looking to have a viable LT candidate in the event they decide to move on from Okung due to cost and/or injuries.

  8. I think its utterly lame the NFL scheduled us to play the Niners 2 times in 3 weeks, and not until week 13. Thats just a totally screwed up way to do it…

    Thanks, as per usual Goodell, for hosing Seattle. Funny thing is, the more he tries to hose us, the more we win anyway…God, I loved the constipated look he had on his face while we were trashing the Broncos in the SB!

  9. Southendzone says:

    RW had really high praise for Sweezy the other day. Sorry I don’t have the quote but he said something like he’s the best guard in the league, or one of the best.

    Don’t write off UDFA Gary Gilliam from making the squad, maybe he is next year’s LT.

  10. I always fret each time I look at the OLine depth. While the team has a reasonable group as starters the backups are somewhat suspect.

    On the left if Okung can’t finally figure out how to get and then stay healthy questions need to asked if the team should be paying him after next season b/c he has sure missed a lot of football since he was drafted with ankles and toes and possibly knee issues. Carp is in the same boat and simply has never played any serious time while either healthy or close to his best playing weight. some have questioned his genuine desire On the right it’s Bowie or Britt or an undrafted player or even a player to be added. Sweezy looks to have bulked up some in the offseason and seems to be coming along well as a conversion player. This may be his year to prove he’s a genuine RG. I think the depth at OC is best of all and like each of our top 2 guys there though it would be nice to see a full season without injury from Unger.

    It may likely turn out better than it looks at present.

  11. South–RW says everyone is that good on the Seahawks lol! Besides, they dont even have pads on yet–pretty hard to see how linemen are doing just yet. I will be happy if Sweezy just performs at an average level next year. I think he will be improved, for sure. Here’s hoping!

  12. Southendzone says:

    Right, RW went down the list of players and said good stuff about all of them, but he seemed to go out of his way to really pump up Sweezy.

    Sweezy is very consistent and able to remain healthy. Seems like we will have a solid season from the OL.

  13. chuck_easton says:

    I have mixed feelings about the ‘contract year’ aspect to Carpenter.

    On the one hand, he’s playing for his NFL career at this point whether that be here in Seattle or elsewhere. He’s either going to come in and be everything we have all been hoping for or he will find there isn’t much need for his services come 2015.

    On the other hand I hate it when a guy is a total bust (Andre Smith…) his whole career only to suddenly light it up come contract year. It always appears this is the ‘guy’ that reverts back to squat just as soon as that new contract is signed.

  14. chuck_easton says:


    Not to pick a nit, oh heck I’m nitpicking and I admit it, but it bothers me when people blame Goodell for all the wrongs of the NFL.

    He is employed by the owners. It is the owners that want an 18 game season. It is the owners that want more playoff teams. It is the owners that are tired of getting sued so they want less contact.

    Goodell is the public image of 32 (31 if you don’t count publicly owned GB) very rich owners who like to have one guy be the go to flashpoint of all potentially controversial issues.

    Goodell doesn’t have anything to do with schedules. Peter King did a big write up about that. And as King said in his column, Seattle could have gotten a much more onerous schedule that would have had them play three east coast away games consecutively.

  15. Southendzone says:

    Another point on the schedule, we can bemoan the fact we have to play the 9’ers twice in 3 weeks, or relish the opportunity to demolish their dreams before Christmas.

  16. Chuck–No problem, I wasnt aware Goodell had nothing to do with creating the schedule. I still think he influenced it.

    ANd just because we could have recieved a worse schedule doesnt mean this one doesnt suck. They hosed us last year and favored the Niners, making us play so many early E.Coast games, and thats par for the course.

    Playing 3 E. Coast games in a row would be a blatant tipping of the scales against Seattle, and no one would put up with that. On a side note, I think no W. Coast team should have to play an E. Coast road game before 4 pm E. Coast time, its proven to be a disadvantage and tilts the field as much as homefield.

    Goodell is his own man. Yes, he works for the owners, but not all the owners–especially some of the Old Guard that are dying out–necessarily support everything he wants to do. The problem I have is that Goodell only cares about increasing profits to the owners–and minimizing risk, which is a back-handed way of making money. He will do ANYTHING to increase revenue, and he cares nothing for the history or culture or the integrity of the game, or Sport or Sportsmanship.

    This is who Goodell is; a guy who only cares about endlessly expanding revenue and league expansion. The guy would put NFL franchises in every country in the world and have 100 game playoff if he thought he could get away with it…and charge 1,000 bucks a ticket. Not only that, he would have no qualms about affecting the outcome of games by any means necessary if it meant making more revenue. Thats why I hate the guy.

  17. Chuck–I hear you on Carpenter. I still hope he plays well, whether or not we sign him to another contract. I doubt anyone offers him a big contract no matter what he does, and there are only a few zbs teams that use guys his size. We can cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

    But I totally agree that even if he performs well, Seattle should be wary of paying him big money after only one good year. On the other hand, how risky will it be to let him walk, especially if we end up with Bowie at RT? It would suck to break in a brand new LG all over again, after four years of frustration with Carpenter.

    So I guess Im hoping he plays well, and we sign him to a reasonable deal. Im just tired of endlessly watching Seattle LG’s stink, if he can hold his own I will be a fan lol!

  18. AZBubba71 says:

    I would like to see Bowie compete with Sweezy at RG.

    The 2013 Seahawks might have had (relatively) the worst starting offensive line of any team to win the Super Bowl. Any other comparisons?

  19. tealskin says:

    Maybe Goodell didn’t influence the schedule but somebody sure did. There’s no way that all the division games are at the end of the season without it being intentional. And my opinion is that it sucks!!!

  20. Macabrevity says:

    LT – Walking Boot
    LG – Exercise Bicycle
    C – Prune Juice
    RG – WWE Raw DVD
    RT – Ticket Booth

  21. seahawk44 says:

    Imo…..this starting lineup should be tried:

  22. I wish JP and Bowie would have been given a fair shot to win a G spot. They were not. And they wont be given one this year, which sucks. However, Im hopeful that Sweezy puts it all together this year. I think its stinks that Lynch is wearing himself out behind a sucktastic line, and believe he deserves to have a good (if not great) line in front of him. I hope it happens this year.

  23. Maca–Ive always thought Sweezy looks like Frankenstein. Ticket booth=Turnstile!! Are you saying Unger is constipated?! I thought he just needs Spinach, like Popeye!

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