Why Ray Roberts is so high on Seahawks rookie C Olu Oluwatimi

Aug 5, 2023, 9:39 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)

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Last season, the Hawks turned to Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas at the two tackle spots, and both were key parts of the team’s success in 2022.

This year, rookie Olu Oluwatimi has been splitting first-team reps at center with free-agent addition Evan Brown.

Video: Seattle Seahawks’ Oluwatimi on rookie season expectations

Former NFL offensive lineman Ray Roberts, who is now an analyst on the Seahawks Radio Network, joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday and shared why he’s very high on Oluwatimi and why he thinks the rookie will wind up starting at some point this season.

First off, why did Oluwatimi fall all the way to the fifth round despite being the best college center in the country this past season?

“This is honestly why I think that he went late. It’s because a lot of times when you’re in the draft, it’s the dudes with the big highlights and stuff, they get a lot of attention, they get a little bit more ratings and all this other kind of stuff. And Olu is just a very super consistent football player,” Roberts said. “And consistency bores people. But consistency works in NFL.”

Oluwatimi started his college career at Air Force before moving to Virginia, where he became a second-team All-American in 2021. He then moved to Michigan, where the Wolverines are extremely run heavy under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“Usually when you run the ball and you have to get your five or six yards or those three or four yards, you’re usually gonna run to the right side behind some big stud right guard or stud right tackle. At Michigan, they ran behind the center because he was that good and he was gonna get to his block, he was gonna make his block every single time,” Roberts said. “And so when they needed the yardage, they ran behind him. But he was just so consistent that he didn’t have a lot of plays where he’s dumping guys to the ground and all that kind of stuff. But he was blocking his guy and doing it effectively so they can make the run. So I really do think that the consistency and how he played – and he didn’t have like these big huge spikes of big huge highlight films – I think that kind of made this stock dropped a little bit.”

Ultimately, Roberts thinks Oluwatimi’s biggest adjustment to the NFL will be the speed of the game since defensive linemen and linebackers are much faster and stronger than in college.

Other than that, Roberts believes the Seahawks found something with Oluwatimi, especially after speaking to him.

“I talked to him after he got drafted and I said, ‘Olu, I’m about to go on to the radio and I’m going to talk about you. What is it you want me to tell them?’ And he said, ‘I’ve been successful everywhere I’ve been and I don’t plan on stopping,'” Roberts said. “And if you look at it, we talk about all the stuff about the transfer portal. He transferred from Air Force to Virginia to get a get a chance to play. He came to Virginia and was a top center in the ACC … and then he realized that with the system they ran at Virginia that he needed to be a better run blocker. So what’s the best place to go to? Michigan. So he goes to Michigan and just becomes the best center in the country. For him, the transfer thing worked because he found places to keep getting better. And so I can’t imagine him going backwards or staying in the same spot here.”

Roberts thinks Oluwatimi will benefit from the Seahawks’ coaching, too.

“I love what they do here. Just watching (the offensive linemen) today, the attention to detail to things that kind of work for the guys they have, I would imagine … if he’s not the starter at the beginning (of the season) that he’ll be the starter at some point,” Roberts said.

Listen to the full discussion with Roberts at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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