JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Tom Cable has reason for being excited about Seahawks O-line

Jun 10, 2017, 12:47 PM | Updated: 6:17 pm
"Our personnel guys nailed this," Tom Cable said of the Seahawks' group of offensive linemen. (AP)...
"Our personnel guys nailed this," Tom Cable said of the Seahawks' group of offensive linemen. (AP)
(AP)

When asked how he would rank the 2017 Seahawks offensive line for talent and depth compared to lines he’s had in the past, Tom Cable summed it up quickly.

“I’d like to get to camp, but I’m the most excited coach on the staff right now,” Cable said. “That’s what I’ve told coach Pete Carroll and John Schneider. I appreciate them putting this together in a year’s time and going a fantastic job. Our personnel guys nailed this, so it’s just a matter of getting them in the right spots and going and playing ball.”

Nationally, few are going to embrace Cable’s review. Pro Football Focus ranked the Seahawks offensive line worst in the league last year. The Seahawks admitted they were too young. Justin Britt, in his third season and first as a center, was the elder statesmen for seniority but was still learning how to be a leader in addition to learning a new position.

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I do buy Cable’s evaluation this year, though. There are more options. There is more depth. The current roster has five linemen who were drafted in the top four rounds, including three in the top two. The Seahawks have seven total draft choices along the line, and they have a sleeper at left tackle in undrafted George Fant.

They added two veterans with 57 combined starts this offseason – Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi. Another sleeper could be undrafted guard Jordan Roos, who had a $20,000 signing bonus.

“We’re doing fine,” Cable said. “Those were young kids who with no experience. In George Fant’s case, zero experience and now they’ve been through it for a year. So you can expect us to be much further along in our preparation as we get ready for camp, for sure.”

Go back to last year and remember the troubles. For veteran experience, the Seahawks signed J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell. Webb was a failure. Sowell was a journeyman who wasn’t very good. The Seahawks were so thin at tackle that they had to rush Fant on the left side. A basketball player in college, Fant had only seven or eight plays on the football field at any position, and none of those were on the offensive line.

This year, the Seahawks are bigger and have more experience. Fant has added 24 pounds to get to 320 and is as fluid as ever. He has great feet. The Seahawks offensive line has an average weight of 316.4 pounds if Fant gets the start at left tackle and Joeckel starts at left guard.

Blockers are in more natural positions. Germain Ifedi was a right tackle in college, but it made sense to start him at guard because he came from a spread offense, which didn’t allow him to have his hand on the ground. Mark Glowinski was a right guard in college and is now back there on his natural side.

Basically, the Seahawks were young and in some ways out of position. Britt emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber center and a great leader. Cable said his leadership is starting to compare to Max Unger. Aboushi should also help as a mentor to the younger players.

“Veteran, good brain, mature, he keeps the room right,” Cable said of Aboushi. “It’s nice to have a guy who demands others to be right, to be pros. He’s a pro. He acts like it. He knows what it takes in terms of his body and his preparation and study time and all that.”

Cable has a better offensive line room and a better group of options. He can groom rookie Ethan Pocic as a backup at center, guard and tackle. They can keep nine blockers with a better mix of youth and experience.

That’s why he says he is the happiest coach on the staff.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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