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Ex-NFL OL Geoff Schwartz: Why Seahawks’ selection of Stone Forsythe may signal change for offense

The Seahawks were able to draft offensive tackle Stone Forsythe in the sixth round. (Getty)

It took until the sixth round, but the Seahawks did address the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft, taking Florida offensive tackle Stone Forsythe with the 208th pick.

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While some fans may have been upset that the Seahawks waited so long in the draft to add to their line, according to one former NFL offensive lineman, Seattle got great value by selecting Forsythe when they did.

“When you look at his size, his ability to move and his athleticism, he is a freak of an athlete,” Geoff Schwartz, a nine-year NFL offensive guard who is now an analyst for FOX Sports and Sirius XM Radio, said of Forsythe on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Tuesday. “He’s a guy who was way under-drafted compared to what I thought he would be.”

Schwartz isn’t the only analyst or media member to think that about the 6-foot-8, 315-pound Forsythe, who started at left tackle for the Gators in 2019 and 2020.

In many post-draft articles, Forsythe has been seen as perhaps the Seahawks’ best pick due to where he was selected. Many analysts had Forsythe going as high as the second round with many mock drafts having him go in the third or fourth rounds.

It’s unclear if a medical issue pushed Forsythe down on draft boards, Schwartz said. If it wasn’t medical, Schwartz sees only one reason why Forsythe slid to the Seahawks so late in the draft.

“I don’t know why Stone fell other than possibly teams looked at his run blocking and were concerned that he wasn’t physical enough in the run game, which is a concern of mine,” he said.

Despite the knock on Forsythe’s run blocking, Schwartz said Forsythe fits into today’s NFL.

“The name of the game now is pass protection and that’s where he excels,” he said. “You maybe hope (his run blocking improves) as he gets older and a little stronger, but you’ve got to pass protect now and that’s where he excels.”

Pass protection may be especially key for the Seahawks in 2021, Schwartz said. Seattle’s addition of Forsythe in the draft, as well as the offseason trade for guard Gabe Jackson and last year’s selection of guard Damien Lewis, has Schwartz seeing a particular style of offense for the Seahawks in 2021.

“That feels like they’re maybe prepping to throw the ball a little bit more than they have in the past, which I know Russell Wilson will be very supportive of if that’s the direction they go,” he said.

Wilson stirred up some drama this offseason by saying he was upset with the Seahawks’ inability to protect him in the passing game. No quarterback has been sacked more than Wilson since he entered the NFL in 2012, and he’s on pace to be the most-sacked quarterback in league history.

Despite Wilson’s comments, Schwartz isn’t sold on the offensive line being the main problem when it comes to the Seahawks’ high sack numbers.

“(The line is) not great, but I think they look worse because Wilson doesn’t help them out very much,” he said. “… And it’s not just a Seahawks problem. A lot of these quarterbacks are very athletic and think they can do it with their legs. They get a little antsy in the pocket and they want to leave out the back of the pocket most often and roll out and buy themselves a little more time. When you do that and you don’t allow your offensive linemen to set the width of the pocket … 10 yards is about as deep as an offensive tackle can protect before (the defender) is on the quarterback, so I think you see that sometimes from Wilson.”

Listen to the full conversation with Schwartz, which includes more of his thoughts on Seattle using a pass-heavy offense in 2021, at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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