BROCK AND SALK

The changes Big Ray sees in Seahawks OL Olu Oluwatimi

Jun 8, 2024, 12:03 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2024, 12:18 pm

Seattle Seahawks Olu Oluwatimi center Cardinals 2023...

Olu Oluwatimi of the Seattle Seahawks blocks against the Cardinals in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There’s been plenty of investment and retooling amongst the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line this offseason.

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The Seahawks are likely to feature at least two and potentially as many as four new starters on the unit when the season kicks off in September, which is partially dependent on the health of right tackle Abraham Lucas. One position across the front Seattle will definitely have a new starter at is center, which opened up after Evan Brown’s departure in the offseason. A top candidate to fill that role is second-year lineman Olu Oluwatimi.

The Michigan product was a topic of discussion Friday when former Seahawks offensive lineman Ray Roberts joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk for Blue 88. Co-host Mike Salk was curious as to if Roberts thinks Oluwatimi is ready to take on the responsibility of starting center.

“Yeah, I think so,” Roberts responded. “I was at practice yesterday and just watched him a lot, and it seems like his body has changed a little bit. And then I think (offensive line) coach (Scott) Huff has him really being a little bit more explosive out of his stance, especially in the run game.”

Growing pains

Roberts noted that physicality was a facet of Oluwatimi’s game that he thought needed improvement from last season. When entering the draft, strength was supposed to be one of the more NFL-ready aspects of the Upper Marlboro, Maryland, native’s skill set, but Roberts explained why that doesn’t always translate to the NFL right away.

“The thing is when you’re in college and you’re a dominating like offensive line player, a lot of times once you get your hands on a guy, those dudes kind of know that they’re done and they kind of stop trying,” Roberts said, “In NFL, those dudes keep playing. So you have to keep driving, moving your feet, leaning on them, pressuring them with your hands and those types of things. I think last year he fell into a little bit of like, ‘Hey, this is how I did it at Michigan.’ And then sometimes the guys would fall off his block at the line of scrimmage and get the tackle.

“… So trying to fit into the block and then finish the block I think is where his improvement needs to be at on this level, and from watching the drills and the teaching that’s going on with the offensive line, I think they’re working really hard and bringing that out of him.”

Oluwatimi appeared in 16 of 17 games and made one start last season. He was in on 13% (129 plays) of the team’s offensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference.

Prior to arriving in Seattle, he was standout on the nation’s best offensive line at Michigan. The Wolverines won the Joe Moore Award, given annually to the country’s best O-line, during Oluwatimi’s final collegiate season, and he won the Rimington (best center) and Outland (best interior lineman) trophies for his efforts as the linchpin of the group. The standout season with Michigan came after Oluwatimi spent three years as a starter at Virginia. So he has plenty of playing experience.

“The intelligence part of it, I have no problem,” Roberts said. “He’ll get all the calls right, he’ll be able to communicate to the offensive line and those types of things, but I did think that last year he needed to be a little bit more physical, and I think that they’re working on that in the offseason.”

Find the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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