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Strength the key asset to Seahawks with O-line pick Rees Odhiambo

Seahawks offensive line draft pick Rees Odhiambo had a checkered injury history at Boise State. (AP)

RENTON – Among the accolades listed on Rees Odhiambo’s Boise State bio is the “Ultimate Goon Award”, which the offensive lineman won as a redshirt freshman in 2011.

“That award was based off a bunch of competitions in the weight room at the end of the week,” Odhiambo explained Friday after the Seahawks chose him with the last of their three third-round picks, No. 97 overall. “I basically won the most times to win the overall thing at the end of the year.”

The Seahawks made Odhiambo the second offensive lineman they drafted among the first three rounds following their selection of Germain Ifedi at No. 31, and his strength was the first thing general manager John Schneider mentioned when asked what offensive-line coach Tom Cable saw while putting him through workouts at his pro day.

“Strength. Strength and flexibility,” Schneider said. “Tom felt, at the end of the day, that Germain and Rees were the strongest guys that he put his hands on throughout the spring.”

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The Seahawks feel Odhiambo is best suited to play guard, even though he’s never done it and played exclusively tackle in college.

His selection is a risk given his extensive injury history, especially considering how high of a draft pick the Seahawks used on him. Odhiambo never played more than 10 games in a season due to injuries, including a broken ankle he sustained last year.

And he has a backstory that is both interesting and heartbreaking. He and his family moved from Nairobi, Kenya to Texas when he was 7 years old. His dad had passed away a year earlier and his mother died when he was 17.

Schneider called his selection a “very emotional deal” given all he’s been through.

“Rees is an extremely talented guy who’s had a string of bad luck the last two years, and has lost both his parents, and has overcome a lot in his life,” he said. “We’re really excited to have our people be able to get their hands on him and help him out with coming off his injuries and everything.”