Rost: Calm, cool and collected Stone Forsythe ready to help the Seahawks
New Seahawks offensive tackle Stone Forsythe wasn’t sure when he’d be drafted. Frankly, neither did most draft analysts.
The colossal ex-Gator – Forsythe is 6-foot-8 and 308 pounds – was the starting left tackle for a Florida offense that led the nation in passing yards per game (378) and saw two pass catchers drafted in the first round last week (tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall, and wide receiver Kadarius Toney at No. 20). His size, length and speed are obvious; former NFL guard and current FOX Sports analyst Geoff Schwartz called him “a freak of an athlete” during an interview with Danny and Gallant earlier this week.
Exactly when he’d be snatched off the draft boards remained a mystery, though, in large part due to knocks about his run blocking. In defense of Forsythe and Florida’s offense, the Gators spent comparatively little time on a ground-and-pound approach. They finished with the fifth-fewest rushing attempts in the SEC, a total that’s skewed thanks to a trio of games against Arkansas (45 carries for 208 yards) and Vanderbilt (40 carries for 173 yards) and a finale against Oklahoma (39 carries for 250 yards).
The uncertainty of Forsythe’s draft grade in the eyes of scouts and general managers is probably why general manager John Schneider decided to trade up on day three to select Forsythe – who had been projected to go as early as round two – in the sixth round.
“He’s not a real outspoken individual,” Schneider told Seattle reporters of Forsythe afterward. The Seahawks learned more about him after they sent Hall of Fame offensive guard and current Seattle consultant Steve Hutchinson to Florida to work him out. “He’s just a real quiet, like, confident, calm guy.”
That demeanor was obvious this week when Forsythe joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy to talk about his first week as a Seahawk. And while the rookie sounds calm, cool and collected, fans shouldn’t mistake it for a lack of confidence. Take his answer about what aspect of his game he most prides himself on:
“Just using my size and my length to my advantage,” Forsythe said. “I know if I’m playing at the top of my game I really can’t be beat. So, I know if I get out there and win that first initial set on that guy and get my hands on him, I know that rep’s over.”
Forsythe knows he received knocks for run blocking but said he’s eager to hone that skill. He’s also eager to pick the brain of fellow tackle Duane Brown. With Brown anchoring the left side of the line, Forsythe’s best shot at the roster this season is as a swing tackle. Thankfully, it’s a skill he’s honed over the last few years, having cross-trained at Florida, and spent starting reps at both tackle spots.
“I’m definitely training,” Forsythe said when asked how he’ll spend the next few days before rookie minicamp on May 14. “I know I’ve got to get up there and work and compete and kind of just prove myself to the rest of the team and earn respect from those older guys.”
All that work pays off
Forsythe was with his loved ones in Florida when he got the call from Seattle.
“It’s hard to describe it,” He said of his feelings that day. “Just because, all the work you finally put in, you finally get the opportunity to go to an NFL team. And then, now the work’s starting again. But I had my close family, my girlfriend and her mom there. It was a long day. There was some talk that I’d go on the second day so were were kind of ready for that, but I didn’t get my hopes up too much. So, it was just a long waiting game. And when that call finally came it was just unbelievable. It was something you can’t take away from me because it just hits home, all that work finally paying off.”
For all the talk of Russell Wilson’s comments about the offensive line, it wasn’t the first thing that came to Forsythe’s mind when he realized he was going to be a Seahawk. Nor was the first thought of Seattle’s current stars or Pete Carroll’s program. Instead, it was about the roughly 3,100 miles he’d be away from home.
The excitement came afterward of course – Forsythe said he thinks Seattle is a great fit – but having a college friend already with the Seahawks should help make the transition smoother.
“(Wide receiver Freddie Swain) told me I’d like the town, like the city,” Forsythe said of his friend and former Gators teammate. “There are some good guys on the team, so they’ve already kind of reached out to me. Freddie knows I like fishing a lot so he talked to some of his teammates and as soon as I get up there we’ll go on a charter. So it’ll be nice to meet those guys, they’ve kind of welcomed me with open arms.”
Listen to the full interview with Forsythe at this link or in the player below.