By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The Seahawks are going to try and get it right on the offensive line.
Three years after the Seahawks sought to settle that side of the line for years to come, they have doubled back with the second-round selection of Jordan Britt, an offensive tackle from Missouri.
We pause now to interrupt the annual discussion over the Seahawks’ drafting acumen. Yes, Britt was tabbed as a later-round selection by most draftniks. And yes, Virginia’s Moses Morgan – an offensive tackle seen as a potential first-round pick in some circles – was still available.
But if nothing else, the past four years have proven the bona fides of the Seahawks’ scouting department and the team’s draft decision-making. So when offensive-line coach Tom Cable says this worked out perfectly for the team, we shouldn’t assume it’s just draft-day puffery.
We’ll learn whether Britt was worth his selection at No. 64 over the next few years. What’s most telling about the choice right now is how Seattle picked him to come in and compete with Michael Bowie to start at right tackle.
That’s the spot James Carpenter was drafted to play back in 2011 when he was the team’s first-round pick. Guard John Moffitt was picked two rounds later, and before that draft was done they were announced as the starting right side of Seattle’s line.
Carpenter moved to guard after his rookie season, Moffitt was traded before his third season and in Schneider’s five-year tenure as general manager that right side of the offensive line remains one of the only spots that has been anything less than overwhelmingly successful.
Schneider was asked Friday night what he learned from those picks.
“That’s a very hard question to answer because of the situation they were put in,” he said.
That was the year of the lockout, Carpenter arriving for training camp noticeably out of shape. The fact that two rookies were playing side by side without the benefit of offseason work only compounded the issues, and then both suffered season-ending knee injuries in November.
In fact, it may be only now that Carpenter is feeling fully healthy.
“We’re excited in that here a guy seems to be completely through the injury,” Cable said.
Seattle hopes James Carpenter’s weight and injury issues are behind him as he enters a make-or-break season. (AP)
Carpenter is a left guard now, and while he hasn’t exactly laid claim to that position, the Seahawks haven’t given up on him, either. However, the team did not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which means that he’s entering the fourth and final year of his deal. This is a make-or-break year.
“He’s got his weight under control,” Cable said. “His work ethic has really come on. He smiles every day. So there’s a peacefulness about that big guy that I start to see why we took him. And he’s healthy. And I think that’s really key when you’re a big person, is feeling good about your legs and your body.
“I’m excited for James. I think it’s going to be a really cool year.”
But on Friday, the Seahawks picked a rookie to come in and compete for the job they once hoped Carpenter would fill. Britt is a tackle who’s tough and ornery, more of a technician whereas Carpenter was a road grader.
And while Carpenter was the presumptive starter, Britt will be competing for playing time at right tackle.
Now, it’s only time that will tell if the Seahawks got it right this time.