Seahawks take Mississippi St OT Justin Senior in sixth round
RENTON – The Seahawks added to their offensive line on the third day of the NFL Draft, taking Mississippi State tackle Justin Senior with the second of their two sixth-round picks, No. 210 overall.
Senior was a three-year starter in college and has height and length that are considered prototypical for tackle in the NFL, listed at 6 feet 5 with 34-inch arms. He primarily played right tackle at Mississippi State. The Seahawks plan on trying him out on both sides, likely at left tackle to begin with. He made one start there in college.
He’s the second offensive-line pick for Seattle this year after LSU’s Ethan Pocic in the second round.
The upside: General manager John Schneider called Senior a “very, vert good pass protector,” twice mentioning that as as strength of his. Senior’s three years of starting experience carry significant weight considering it came against SEC defenses. He also didn’t miss a game in college, according to his STATS bio (another scouting report said he missed one game).
The risk: Schneider spoke fairly bluntly about how Senior struggled with his weight last season, calling that the reason why he was much better in 2015 than he was in 2016. Schneider said Senior went from 295 pounds in 2015 to about 315 last year “and then he continued to climb a little bit.” This scouting report lists his weight at the combine as 331 pounds. Schneider also noted that Senior didn’t have a great week at the Senior Bowl and said falling to the sixth round “is probably a pretty cool wake-up call for him. “He got a little heavy for his senior year, and that’s probably something that we’re going to have to monitor here when he gets in here, and that’s why he went so late,” Schneider said. “He’s got a lot tools to work with. He just needs to decide if he wants to be a player or not.” So there is a risk here given Senior’s issues with his weight, but it’s mitigated some by the fact that Seattle chose him in the sixth round.
STATS scouting report: “Senior looks the part with a prototypical frame including excellent overall weight distribution and long arms (33 7/8″). He possesses the light feet, balance and natural knee bend necessary to mirror edge rushers in pass protection, showing good initial quickness to gain depth on his kick-slide. Senior’s long arms and impressive upper body strength help him to lock on and control rushers. When he gets his hands latched, it is often game-over for edge rushers, including those looking to bull rush him as Senior shows the core flexibility and stout anchor to hold up. He is an effective drive blocker, generating movement at the point of attack due to effective hand placement and leg drive. He is quick enough for the down block and in getting to the second level to project as a possible zone blocker, as well. Senior comes with excellent intangibles, not missing a game due to injury over his career and earning a spot on the SEC’s Honor Roll three consecutive years for his academics. He earned his undergraduate degree in sociology in summer 2015 and did course work for a second degree in political science as a senior.
“Senior remains raw in some areas, including simply being late off the snap (including while playing at home). His tendency to be tardy off the ball makes him vulnerable to speed rushers and Senior can react poorly in these instances, flailing his arms out in a late desperate attempt to slow opponents. Senior is quick enough to get to the second level but often looks lost once there, lacking ideal awareness and anticipation at this time. Further, he lacks an accurate strike zone with his initial punch, especially when run blocking at the second level, lunging at defenders with his hands often shooting too low and leaving him off-balance.” -STATS
Personal file: Senior is from Montreal, Quebec and didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year in high school. Before enrolling at Mississippi State, he spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where he played with defensive tackle Jarran Reed, now a teammate with Seattle. Safety Mike Tyson, an earlier sixth-round pick by Seattle, also spent time at Hargrave. Senior graduated in the summer of 2015 with a degree in sociology.
Bigger picture: Senior is the eighth offensive lineman the Seahawks have drafted over the last three years. Seven of them have actually played that position in college, the exception being Kristjan Sokoli in 2015. The Seahawks also added Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi in free agency this offseason, so Senior is by no means a lock to make the roster this year let alone get meaningful playing time.