BROCK AND SALK

Big Ray: How many Seahawks rookies can start on OL?

May 31, 2023, 10:54 AM | Updated: 11:02 am

Seattle Seahawks Evan Brown Olu Oluwatimi...

Seahawks offensive linemen Evan Brown, Olu Oluwatimi and Joey Hunt during OTAs. (Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

(Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

The Seattle Seahawks waited until the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft to select any offensive linemen, but just because those players were taken in the later rounds doesn’t mean they can’t contribute right away.

Can either of the two rookies the Seahawks drafted start on the O-line in 2023?

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That question was posed to “Big” Ray Roberts, a former NFL offensive lineman and current Seahawks Radio Network analyst, as he stepped in for Brock Huard on the Blue 88 segment Wednesday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Roberts said both Anthony Bradford, a guard out of LSU that the Seahawks drafted in the fourth round, and Olu Oluwatimi, the center out of Michigan that Seattle selected in the fifth round, will have a shot at winning starting spots out of training camp, but he believes Oluwatimi has the better chance to begin.

“It seems as if there’s an opportunity for at least Olu to start it at center and Bradford to be a starter at guard, but I think that if you want to kind of keep some of the continuity and kind of keep some of the progress you have going, I think it’d be good if Phil Haynes or someone else – a veteran guy – won that guard spot,” Roberts said.

More from Big Ray: Why new Seahawks center Oluwatimi can solidify OL

The 27-year-old Haynes, a fourth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2019 who played 15 games at right guard last season including three starts, re-signed with Seattle this offseason on a one-year deal. That gives the Hawks a solid option if Bradford proves to need more seasoning before being pressed into action.

Seattle has less continuity at center, however. Last year’s starter, Austin Blythe, retired following the season, and Evan Brown split time between center and guard with Detroit before coming to the Seahawks in free agency this offseason.

Roberts thinks the Hawks may have to take the early portion of the season to let their new linemen get up to speed and eventually find the best configuration to protect quarterback Geno Smith.

“I think Olu could have a good opportunity to start at center. If not, I think you’ll see them do what they did early in the season I think it was one or two years ago (when) they alternated some guys throughout the game to kind of get them some real game reps,” he said. “And then later in the season, I could see maybe Bradford having some starts.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment in the podcast below.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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Huard: How rookie Seahawks guard Anthony Bradford must improve
Three focuses for Seahawks rookie Derick Hall to develop
Jarran Reed talks Seahawks return, rookie DL and much more
Two areas where the Seattle Seahawks can take the biggest step forward

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Big Ray: How many Seahawks rookies can start on OL?