Moore: Seahawks should go O-line over cornerback early in the draft
There’s a huge difference between what I hope the Seahawks will do in the first round and what they’ll actually do.
I want them to keep the 26th overall pick and take the top offensive lineman available, whether it’s Cam Robinson from Alabama, Ryan Ramczyk from Wisconsin, Garett Bolles from Utah or Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky.
But this won’t happen. As rumored, the Seahawks will probably switch first-round positions with Atlanta and pick at No. 31 instead of No. 26. That will also give the Seahawks another draft choice in the third or fourth round, I’m guessing.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider frequently trades down to get more picks, and this year he’ll do it again because he doesn’t like having only seven picks going into the draft, including none in the fourth or fifth rounds.
I’ve heard the analysis and over-analysis of what the Seahawks should do, and I get the rationale that they should take a cornerback with their first pick. Makes sense for many reasons. The Seahawks need a good starting right cornerback – they have an inadequate one in Jeremy Lane – and this is a strong draft for cornerbacks. They need to get younger on defense because the Legion of Boom is aging and not creating the turnovers like it used to.
But I don’t care about the defense as much as the offense, and in particular what I care about the most, way above all else, is the health of Russell Wilson and to a much lesser degree, the return of the Seahawks’ impactful running game.
I’m wrong about a lot of things, but I’m right about this, and I think you’ll agree: if Wilson suffers a season-ending injury, the Seahawks will never make it to the Super Bowl. You know that, I know that, and I’m sure the Seahawks know that, too, but you have to wonder if that’s the case sometimes. They don’t appear to value their franchise quarterback as much as I do. If they did, they’d have better players to protect him.
Last year they made two offseason acquisitions in J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell and swung and missed on both. They also drafted Germain Ifedi (mostly a hit) and Rees Odhiambo (incomplete).
This year they’ve made two offseason acquisitions that appear to have a better chance of striking out than becoming home runs.
I would like to think that Luke Joeckel is pretty good since they’ll be paying him as much as $8 million this year, but on the surface, it looks like they overpaid to get him for reasons unknown. If Jacksonville didn’t want him, why would Joeckel suddenly be worth a damn here? Especially when you consider that he’s coming off knee surgery to repair an ACL, MCL and meniscus. Still, he figures to be an upgrade over the still-developing George Fant at left tackle.
Then you have Oday Aboushi, another free agent who started some games for the Jets. He also started some games for the Texans. But again, using the same kind of thinking with Joeckel, if Aboushi were any good, wouldn’t the Jets have kept him? Wouldn’t the Texans have made a bigger push to keep him? And yet the Seahawks project him to be their starting right guard, allowing Ifedi to move outside and hopefully become the starting right tackle.
That’s another puzzling thing. Ifedi played right tackle at Texas A&M. When the Seahawks drafted him, they moved him to right guard. But typically you don’t draft a guard in the first round, and that’s what the Seahawks essentially did.
OK, fine, at least they drafted an offensive lineman, and I’ve even changed my mind about drafting a guard in the first round. If it’s Lamp, and if he can start immediately at right guard, sign me up for that at No. 26 or 31.
I seriously don’t think Aboushi is an upgrade over Ifedi at right guard. And Odhiambo is in the mix, too, but he’s a wild card who could be good or might end up being a third-round reach who never pans out.
I would also argue that the Seahawks should draft an offensive lineman with their second-round pick, No. 58 overall, and use one of their three third-round picks on another. Increase your odds of finding guys who can protect Wilson and give Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise room to run.
If that means the defense takes another step back and gives up 20-plus points a game and has another year of fewer interceptions, I’m OK with that.
Look at it this way: if you’re able to run the ball, you’re going to win the time-of-possession battle and give your defense a better chance to operate at a high level by reducing the time it’s on the field. Fatigue becomes an even bigger factor as players age. No one told me that; I’m just assuming that’s the case.
And with a better offensive line, you’ll not only reduce the chances of Wilson getting hurt, you’ll have the ability to score more points and compensate for a potential slight decline with the defense.
As it is right now, Justin Britt at center and Mark Glowinski at left guard are the only sure bets on the O-line. Maybe Ifedi will be one, too, at right tackle. Joeckel and Aboushi are one-year Band-Aids. If you could find a starting left tackle and a starting right guard in this year’s draft, then you could actually keep the group together and find that continuity we’re told is always so important with good offensive lines.
This would also mean that sometime this offseason, Schneider needs to give Britt a contract extension so Seattle doesn’t lose him to free agency next year.
Later in the draft, address the defense. And next year at the top of the draft, address the defense. But this year, with five picks in the first three rounds, the Seahawks need to focus on the offensive line and remember that without Wilson, they’re not going anywhere.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.