By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – For once, the Seahawks stood pat. Now, they’ll hope the offensive tackle they chose with their second-round pick is able to stand his ground against opposing pass rushers as they drafted a fifth-year senior from Missouri, Justin Britt.
Justin Britt | OT | Missouri
|• Height/Weight: 6-6, 325||• Drafted: Round 2, No. 64 overall||• Hometown: Lebanon, Mo.||• Quotable: “Anybody who can go 45-0 as a high-school wrestler and win a state title, he’s been through it, he’s suffered and he’s strained to a great degree. I think that that’s a tremendous characteristic.” – Tom Cable, Seahawks offensive-line coach|
The rationale: Seattle’s offensive line is the position group most in need of immediate help after the free-agent departures of Breno Giacomini to the Jets and Paul McQuistan to the Browns. Not only that, but offensive line is a spot Seattle has previously invested in.
The Seahawks have now used 12 picks in the first three rounds under general manager John Schneider, and Britt was the fourth offensive linemen to be selected with one of those picks. Britt played left tackle as a senior at Missouri, but will compete with Michael Bowie at right tackle according to his new position coach, Tom Cable.
“With the departure of Breno Giacomini,” Cable said, “(he’s) filling that need and then creating the right competition so that we get a good player at right tackle. This worked out perfectly.”
Britt is known for his toughness, not only starting 36 games in his college career and coming back from a 2012 knee injury, but he was a state wrestling champion in high school, going 45-0 as a senior.
It was the way Britt competed against South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney – the No. 1 overall pick this year – that really piqued Cable’s interest.
“I got excited watching him play Clowney,” Cable said. “I thought there’s a guy where it wasn’t too big. He didn’t worry about it. He was very physical with him.”
The risk: Britt is versatile, someone who said he played all five spots along the offensive line while at Missouri, though his primary position was left tackle. His play there, however, was actually a little bit of a concern to Cable.
“He did some things I thought were a little awkward at left tackle this year,” Cable said. “I wasn’t really comfortable with that part of it.”
But by that time, Cable wasn’t really thinking of him as a right tackle, a belief that was reinforced by additional research.
“As I started to dig into him, and found him playing right tackle as a junior I was like, ‘There he is,’ ” Cable said. “So it was pretty cool.”
Britt is tall, standing 6-6, and he performed 23 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds, which isn’t all that exception until you consider his height and 33.5-inch arms.