Seahawks Draft: 3 interior OL prospects Ray Roberts is keeping an eye on

Mar 25, 2023, 3:32 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 2:23 pm

Seattle Seahawks draft Olu Oluwatimi...

Michigan center lineman Olusegun Oluwatimi on Nov. 5, 2022. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2022 NFL Draft was a massive one for the Seahawks, who found two long-term answers in the secondary, a 1,000-yard running back and, maybe most importantly, bookend offensive tackles.

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With the No. 9 pick, the Seahawks drafted left tackle Charles Cross. In the third round, the Hawks went local by taking Everett native and WSU standout Abraham Lucas to play right tackle. Together, those two made a combined 33 regular season starts and also started Seattle’s playoff loss to San Francisco.

In this draft, the Hawks don’t need to find long-term answers at offensive tackle, but they may look to draft interior offensive linemen as projected starting guards – Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes – and projected starting center Evan Brown are all pending free agents after the 2023 season.

During a Friday visit with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, longtime NFL offensive lineman Ray Roberts, a member of the Seahawks’ pregame, postgame and halftime shows, shared his thoughts on a few interior O-line prospects he’s keeping an eye on come next month’s draft.

Let’s start at center.

“I think there’s two or three pretty good centers in the draft that they can look at as a long-term player to kind of build around,” Roberts said.

The first name Roberts brought up is someone Seahawks fans likely know well by now.

“There’s this kid, John Michael Schmitz out of Minnesota, but I think he’s more of a like a first-round-type of dude that could sneak into the first round,” he said.

Another center Roberts likes a lot also plays in the Big Ten, but for Michigan.

“He kind of fits Pete Carroll’s mold of players that he’s looking for, and his name is Olu Oluwatimi,” Roberts said.

Oluwatimi had an interesting college career to say the least as he started at Air Force, but didn’t really play. He then transferred to Roberts’ alma mater of Virgina, where he was an All-ACC member and second-team All-American in 2021. In 2022, Oluwatimi transferred to powerhouse Michigan, where he was a consensus All-American who won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center and the Outland Trophy as the country’s top interior offensive lineman.

“So he has that kind of grit resilience story that Pete likes, and he’s a good football player,” Roberts said. “So that’s a guy who’s like a second-round or third-round pick that I think could come in and be a long-term solution at center.”

What about at guard?

There’s a notable prospect in this year’s draft who Roberts wouldn’t mind seeing go to the Seahawks with the 20th overall pick. That is Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence, a consensus All-American right guard.

“I really like interior lineman from the SEC, whether it’s offensive linemen or defensive linemen,” Roberts said. “They tend to be pretty solid football players and they’ve played in a really tough league, they’ve played in some really tough games, they’ve been under the pressure, under the spotlight, under the expectations.”

Torrence looks like potentially a better version of a player the Seahawks already have.

“From what I can remember seeing of him, he kind of reminds me of like a big Phil Haynes-type of a player,” Roberts said. “He’s a little bit more athletic, but he’s very mauling, like a mauling type-player that way. If they want to go that direction at 20, I wouldn’t be mad at it because I mean, honestly, as much as this league wants to sell itself as a passing league, if you can’t protect the quarterback and if you can’t run when you want to run, then you’re not going to go very far in the playoffs or anywhere else.”

Listen to the full fourth hour of Friday’s show at this link or in the player below.

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