Seahawks expect 3rd-rounder Damien Lewis to compete for starting RG spot

Apr 24, 2020, 11:18 PM | Updated: 11:29 pm
Seahawks RG Damien Lewis...
Damien Lewis (68) is expected to compete for the Seahawks' starting right guard spot. (Getty)

The Seahawks traded down five spots from No. 64 to No. 69 in the NFL Draft while adding a fifth-round pick, ultimately taking LSU right guard Damien Lewis, a second-team All-SEC member for the national champion Tigers.

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Lewis was a two-year starter at right guard for LSU after transferring from a junior college. While he told reporters he has experience playing both guard spots and center and is open to playing tackle, Schneider said he sees Lewis as a right guard.

“It’s easier for us to just project that. You’ve seen him do it 22 straight starts and playing big-time football,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider told reporters after the draft. “… He’s so stout, he’s heavy with his hands, got great anchor, has really good eyes and you can see him play against top level competition, so it makes the evaluation that much easier.”

When Lewis was drafted, he became the 19th offensive lineman on Seattle’s roster. Many of those linemen are interior guys at guard and center. Not only that, but the Seahawks’ two starting guards from 2019, Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker, are both under contract for 2020. It sounds like Fluker will have his hands full keeping his starting spot away from the young guy, however.

“Yeah, he will,” head coach Pete Carroll told reporters when asked if Lewis could compete with Fluker to start in 2020. “He won’t take a backseat to anybody. He’s going to come in and battle for it. That’s part of the reason we took him. We wanted him to come in and battle to play and all of that competition will make us better.”

Having someone pro-ready who can come in right away is a huge plus, especially with uncertainty over the offseason schedule due to coronavirus.

“For us to have a guy that’s going to come in and compete at right guard, a championship kid, we felt like that was a great place to take him,” Carroll said.

Lewis was lauded by draft experts for his run blocking, but Schneider was excited about Lewis’ pass protection. After all, Lewis was blocking for 2019 Heisman winner and 2020 No. 1 pick Joe Burrow the last two seasons at LSU. Now he’ll do the same for Russell Wilson.

“Just trying to get as much competition as we possibly can to protect our quarterback,” Schneider said of Lewis becoming Seattle’s 19th offensive lineman. “We think we have the best quarterback in the National Football League and we have to figure out the best group to protect him.”

Schneider said Lewis is someone who holds his ground against top competition week in and week out in the trenches.

“He’s got good length for a guy who’s not ideally as tall as some would like, but I think, personally, I like it because he plays with great leverage and he’s a real stout dude and nobody really walks him back,” he said. “He’s very aggressive and he’s got great eyes.”

Lewis is 6 foot 2 and weighs 327 pounds according to his combine measurements. He can also squat over 600 pounds, as seen in the video below. Simply put, he’s a big, strong guy.

“He’s a grown man,” Schneider said. “… Russ wants grown men in front of him and that’s what this guy is.”

Lewis’ college head coach, Ed Orgeron, was on Carroll’s staff when he was the head coach at USC and the two have a great relationship. That went a long way in Seattle selecting Lewis with the 69th pick.

“Eddie and I see those things squared up so when he’s telling me I’m going to love this kid and I’m going to think the world of him by the way he competes and battles and all that, I know he’s right,” Carroll said.

Follow’s Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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