Big plans: Germain Ifedi adds more size to Seahawks’ offensive line
The Seahawks have big plans for their offensive line.
As in 6 feet, 6 inches, 335 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan.
Those are the specs for Germain Ifedi, the right tackle the Seahawks chose out of Texas A&M with the 31st and final pick in the NFL Draft’s first round, and he’s the shortest of the three offensive linemen Seattle has added this offseason. With the free-agent additions of 6-8 J’Marcus Webb and 6-7 Bradley Sowell, that should give you an idea of the size of Seattle’s plans up front.
Reciting heights isn’t going to overshadow the worries about an offensive line that gave up 31 sacks in the first seven games last season and then lost to its two longest-tenured starters in free agency when J.R. Sweezy signed with Tampa Bay and Russell Okung went to Denver. Tight end Jimmy Graham – who is coming off a knee injury – will make $9 million in 2016, which is more than all of Seattle’s offensive linemen combined prior to the addition of Ifedi.
His selection doesn’t fix all the problems on Seattle’s offensive line, though it should temper the hand-wringing over how little the Seahawks have spent on the position it is trusting to protect the team’s most valuable asset: quarterback Russell Wilson.
Seattle has now chosen five players in the first round during the seven drafts in which John Schneider has served as the general manager, and three of those five first-round picks have been on offensive linemen: Okung in 2010, James Carpenter in 2011 and now Ifedi.
But more than anything, the selection speaks to the size that Seattle is amassing along its offensive line. And anyone thinking the Seahawks are going to become a more pass-oriented offense as Wilson matures should take another look at the type of players Seattle is putting up front.
“An ass kicker.” That’s how Schneider referred to Ifedi when talking about Texas A&M’s decision to leave him on the right side of the line. (Of course, Schneider affixed the same description to John Moffitt after the Seahawks drafted him in the third round in 2011, and Moffitt was gone two years later, but let’s not dwell on the past and get back to the selection of Ifedi.)
“This is a big man,” Schneider said. “He’s a power player.”
The Seahawks aren’t looking for a man they can build into a mountain. They want to make a line of mountains capable of moving men. Left tackle Garry Gilliam is 6-5. Left guard Justin Britt is 6-6. Right guard Mark Glowinski is 6-4.
Four years ago, everyone would have been wondering how Seattle’s little quarterback was going to be able to see over his line let alone Uncle Rico a ball over them mountains. Now, the question is whether that wall of humanity is going to be agile enough in pass protection to keep defenders from slipping through the cracks.
This is a line built to move defenders off the ball, something that is critical to Seattle’s run game. So with the Seahawks’ first pick in their most important draft in four years, Seattle found a mauler that will come in and compete with Webb to see who starts at right tackle.
In some ways, they’ll stand toe-to-toe and see almost eye-to-eye.
“These guys are really similar,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They’re both very, very big guys.”
No doubt about the size of Seattle’s offensive line. Now, we’ll see if these players can chop down the magnitude of the worries about that position.