Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 7, C Justin Britt
Each day until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is talking with an NFL analyst and counting down the 25 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. “Two-a-days” continued with the ESPN’s Mark Dominik as the guest and Justin Britt as the seventh-most intriguing Seahawk. The segment on Britt is embedded above. My thoughts are below.
• Position: C
• Height/Weight: 6-6, 315
• Experience: Third season
• Acquired: Second-round pick, 2014
Overview: Three seasons, three position switches. That’s been the story so far of Britt’s NFL career. He played left tackle as a senior at Missouri but was moved to right tackle before his rookie season. He started all 16 games there with mixed results. Ditto for last season at left guard, where Britt moved following a preseason shuffle of Seattle’s offensive line. Now he’s the favorite to win the starting job at center over incumbent Patrick Lewis and rookie sixth-round pick Joey Hunt. Is it now or never for Britt? “This has got to work for Justin,” Brock Huard said. “It’s got to be a fit at center or he’ll just be a swing, backup guy that kicks around the league a couple more years.”
The intrigue: Will it work? Huard believes center may be the position that best suits Britt’s skill-set. One of the biggest issues Britt has had over his first two seasons, according to Huard, is that while he’s plenty athletic, he’s had a hard time holding his own in one-on-one situations against bigger, stronger defensive linemen. “His weakness is he is just not stout at the point of attack, whether that was at right tackle, where he’s bull-rushed, or whether that was at left guard against the freak shows that he’s got to play (against),” Huard said. The thinking there is that Britt won’t be left in as many of those situations at center. Coach Pete Carroll noted that one of the reasons for the move is that Britt has the most experience in Seattle’s system of any of the team’s offensive linemen. The team believes that will help with communication, which is a responsibility of the center and something at which Lewis hasn’t always been strong. “The captaining of that language and the identification and all of that stuff, that’s part of the reason why we want to see if Justin can handle this at center,” Carroll said. “He’s the guy that’s been around the (longest), communicates the best with (offensive-line coach Tom Cable). There needs to be a level of communication between Tom and that guy that makes the calls that’s really out there so that they can stay ahead and stay abreast of the challenges that happen in games and during the course of the season, all that. So we’re trying to get that really nailed.”
2016 outlook: That the Seahawks shook up their offensive line after the first preseason game last summer should tell you that nothing is set in stone heading into training camp. That said, the starting job at center appears to be Britt’s to lose. If he hangs onto it, he’ll be in the middle of an offensive line that could have three new starters and not one player at the same position as last season. That group will need all the reps it can get in order to get on the same page. And with Britt still learning a new position, expect him to get more action in the preseason than you’d typically see from a starter.
Most Intriguing Seahawks: 25, DL Quinton Jefferson; 24, WR Kasen Williams; 23, WR Paul Richardson; 22, G Mark Glowinski; 21, TE Nick Vannett; 20, CB Jeremy Lane; 19, DT Jordan Hill; 18, RB Alex Collins; 17, S Tyvis Powell; 16, G Germain Ifedi; 15, QB Russell Wilson; 14, FS Earl Thomas; 13, CB Tharold Simon; 12, WR Doug Baldwin; 11, WR Tyler Lockett; 10, LT Garry Gilliam; 9, DL Michael Bennett; 8, DB Brandon Browner.