By Danny O’Neil
Tom Cable’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the Seahawks’ depth chart at offensive tackle.
It should since it’s the offensive line coach Seattle is truly depending on should an injury befall either of the starters, Russell Okung or Breno Giacomini.
At guard, Seattle has four different players who’ve started multiple games for the team over the previous two years competing for two starting spots. Even Max Unger’s backup at center, Lemuel Jeanpierre, has started five games for Seattle.
Okung and Giacomini are the only two offensive tackles currently on the roster who’ve ever appeared in a regular-season NFL game. The depth at that position consists of Mike Person and three rookies, only one of whom was drafted.
Person was a practice-squad player last year whom Seattle signed to the 53-man roster midway through the season but was inactive for the final eight games. Michael Bowie was a seventh-round pick out of Northeastern State, his selection at the end of the draft a reflection of the reality he was booted off the team at Oklahoma State before his senior season began. Two undrafted rookies round out the ranks at the position: Alvin Bailey of Arkansas and Jake Bscherer of Minnesota Duluth, whose name only looks to be missing a few vowels.
That’s not to say Seattle is entirely lacking experience elsewhere on the roster. Guard Paul McQuistan stepped in at left tackle in 2011, starting the final four games after Okung suffered a pectoral injury, and Carpenter was drafted to play right tackle.
Cable has options, but there’s also the possibility that he can create his own depth at that position. After all, this was a coach who took a college defensive tackle in J.R. Sweezy and had him starting at guard in his rookie season. That being said, Seattle would prefer to go the whole season without learning about its depth at tackle because that would mean the starters hold up.
Danny O’Neil looks at where the Seahawks stand at each position group heading into training camp.
The locks to make the roster: Okung, Giacomini.
Cable said last year Okung, a Pro Bowl starter, had the best season of any left tackle in the league. Almost as important: Okung played a full 16 games after suffering injuries to both ankles as a rookie and undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in his second season.
Giacomini has been one of the true finds of general manager John Schneider. Giacomini was a former fifth-round pick of Green Bay who was on the Packers’ practice squad when Seattle signed him. He turned out to have the perfect mentality for Cable, who likes his linemen to play with an edge. Giacomini was assessed four 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness last season – most on the team – but he did show an ability to harness that as only one of the four penalties came in the final 10 games.
Either/And/Or: Person or Bowie.
Seattle could keep both. In fact, this team has carried four offensive tackles in nine of the previous 10 seasons. The one exception: last year. And given the versatility on other parts of the line and the depth at other positions like running back and receiver, it remains possible Seattle will go with three tackles on the 53-man roster.
Person has shown promise under Cable’s system, and the fact the team promoted him to the 53-man roster last year to avoid losing him shows the value Seattle sees in him. Bowie looked impressive during the team’s offseason practices, and he’s played left tackle throughout his career. Training camp will be a proving ground for Bowie as well as the two undrafted rookies.