During each show until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is counting down the 20 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. The countdown continued with right tackle Germain Ifedi. The segment on Ifedi is embedded above. John Clayton’s thoughts are below.
Germain Ifedi has the skills and attitude that Tom Cable wants on his offensive line. He’s big (6-5, 311 pounds). He’s athletic. He’s powerful. And his attitude is to dominate his opponent at the line of scrimmage. That’s why the Seahawks were willing to invest a 2016 first-round choice on him. Because he came from a spread offense at Texas A&M, Ifedi wasn’t necessarily going to be ready to start at his most natural position in college, right tackle. Numerous offensive-line coaches around the NFL accept that it is better for a spread tackle to get the feel of blocking in the pros by getting off to a solid start at guard. Spread linemen don’t put their hand on the ground to set up for their blocks. In college, they stand upright, so they don’t have the leverage and balance needed to properly adjust to the NFL game. Talking to him during OTAs, Ifedi acknowledged it might have been tough for him to start at right tackle as a rookie. Further complicating things was that he suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the season and another one late. Year 1 was tough, but this year Ifedi feels great being back at right tackle.
By the numbers
Pro Football Focus wasn’t kind to Ifedi as a rookie. The analytics website rated Ifedi 72nd out of 73 guards in the NFL in 2016. Only Earl Watford of Jacksonville rated lower. The biggest criticism was in pass blocking. PFF gave him a 29 on pass blocking, tied for the worst in football, and a 47.4 on run blocking. Stats Inc. wasn’t so harsh on Ifedi. They credited him with giving up 5.5 sacks in the 13 games he played. Coaches will sometime criticize analytics sites in their evaluation of blockers because only the coaches know the actual blocking assignments of the players. The expectation for Ifedi is that he should be one of the most improved players on the team. He’s at his natural position, and he’s entering training camp feeling confident. For the Seahawks’ offensive line to improve, Ifedi needs to be the second-best lineman on the team behind Justin Britt.
Here’s one notable stat that offers some hope: Seattle last year averaged 6.39 yards per rush behind right guard, second-best in the league. The problem was they had only 23 rushing plays at guard. In fact, the Seahawks ran only 107 times to the right side of the line, third-fewest in the league. That will change with Ifedi and Mark Glowinski playing on the right side.
Ifedi brings nastiness to the offensive line. In training camp last year, he didn’t back down from Michael Bennett and got into several skirmishes on the field. If a defender did anything to Russell Wilson, Ifedi came to the rescue. Many feel Ifedi has a little bit of the Breno Giacomini attitude.
Ifedi, when asked about Bennett after one of their scuffles last training camp: “He knows I won’t back down, the team knows I won’t back down. That’s why they drafted me. We’re just out there competing, were trying to make each other better and he’s trying to make me the best player I can be. Off the field he’s been a great mentor to me; we have a great relationship. But on the field he knows he’s going to give it his all to make me the best player I can be.”
Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 20, WR Jermaine Kearse; No. 19, K Blair Walsh; No. 18, S Bradley McDougald; No. 17, RB Thomas Rawls; No. 16, DT Jarran Reed; No. 15, DE Frank Clark; No. 14, WR/KR Tyler Lockett; No. 13, WR Amara Darboh; No. 12, CB C.J. Prosise.