Seahawks Draft: What high-round selections of 2 tackles means

May 3, 2022, 11:32 AM
Seahawks Abraham Lucas...
WSU offensive tackle Abraham Lucas blocks against Iowa State in the 2018 Alamo Bowl. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Seahawks went into the 2022 NFL draft with holes at both offensive tackle spots and came out thrilled with the way they were able to address that need.

Seahawks Draft Profiles: New franchise LT Charles Cross

Seattle was pleasantly surprised when Charles Cross of Mississippi State was still on the board at pick No. 9 and felt very confident in taking Abraham Lucas out of WSU at No. 72.

“We’ve never been this athletic with two guys with a shot to start,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after day two of the draft, when they added Lucas in the third round. “So it’s exciting to see how that translates. Meanwhile, what that does is send a message to our guys how competitive this camp is going to be, and the guys are going to battle for their spots.”

Cross, at 6 foot 5 and 311 pounds, has honed his skills against tough competition, earning first team All-SEC honors last season. Brock Huard, a FOX Sports college football analyst, joined The Mike Salk Show on Monday to recap draft weekend and described his first impressions of Cross.

“Every picture I see of that guy, I’m like, ‘How does he weigh 315 right now?'” Brock marveled. “This guy, he looks like an athlete. Honestly, he looks like a 6-7, 255-pound power forward. That’s what he looks like and that’s exactly what you need at left tackle athletically to move and block.”

Cross checks almost every box, with the only real question mark being his run blocking capabilities. It’s not necessarily a weakness, just an area you don’t get a lot of experience in when you play in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.

Related: Mike Leach, Cross’ college coach, details Hawks’ top pick

The Seahawks aren’t concerned with that. Carroll has made it clear that they believe Cross’ intelligence and athleticism will allow him a to make a smooth transition.

“If you’re hurting at left tackle, you’ve got problems,” Carroll said. “That’s why we’re all championing this decision to have a chance to get Charles to come here, because I think we all know how valuable that spot is. He’s got all of the tools, he’s got the quickness and the sweet feet and the length and all of the stuff it takes. He’s been coached well coming in. All of that adds to hopefully solidifying a really crucial area.”

Lucas is another Leach product, having played for the coach at Washington State before he moved to Mississippi State after the 2019 season. Checking in at 6-7 and 320 pounds, the Everett, WA native earned Pac-12 honors in all four of his seasons at WSU. Lucas is also known for excelling at pass blocking but brings a lot of athleticism across the board.

“He’s north of 320 lbs, and he’s just what you want in a right tackle,” Huard said. “He is the clay that (new Seahawks offensive line coach) Andy Dickerson needs to mold. He’s going to get out with those long arms and reach guys. He’s athletic, he ran a sub-5 (seconds) 40-yard dash. He ran faster than I did at the combine. Both of these guys did. They’re tremendous athletes.”

The focus under new offensive line coach Andy Dickerson appears to be tackles with more athleticism, great footwork, pass blocking ability and speed. And with the selections of Cross and Lucas, it seems likely that we won’t see the return of free agent veterans Duane Brown and Brandon Shell.

Related: Huard on why first-round pick Cross is a lot like Duane Brown

“It’s really in some ways like Charles Cross is Brown, just 15 years younger,” Huard said. “Abe Lucas is like eight years younger than a Brandon Shell, and healthy, and athletic. If you had Duane and Brandon right now at this stage of their careers go through a combine, they wouldn’t look like these two. You shouldn’t when you’re 38. It’s very different than when you’re 20 and 21. These are two pretty special pieces of clay to mold.”

So what are the Seahawks looking to mold these two “special pieces of clay” into? Well, don’t let the pass blocking skills fool you. We know what Carroll wants to prioritize the most, as he explained Friday after 75% of their first four picks were at positions critical in the run game – Cross, Lucas, and second-round running back Kenneth Walker III.

“Three of the four picks really make a statement about the emphasis of what we’d like to get done,” Carroll said at the time. “We wanted to shore things up on the edge, and with Kenneth coming in… Kenneth is an explosive and exciting running back to add to what we’ve got. It rings true that we want to run the football, we want to be good at it and complement our whole football team with the way we approach it. This was an opportunity to do that, and it just felt right. These guys will come in blazing, and I think it sets the tone for the camp coming up.”

More from Brock Huard: Seahawks draft, especially Walker pick, is favorite since ’10

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Seahawks Draft: What high-round selections of 2 tackles means