Seahawks potential picks: OL Ali Marpet

Apr 29, 2015, 10:52 AM | Updated: Apr 8, 2016, 10:50 am
Ali Marpet of Division-III Hobart was one of the most athletic offensive linemen at the scouting co...
Ali Marpet of Division-III Hobart was one of the most athletic offensive linemen at the scouting combine. (AP)
(AP)
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Rob Rang of CBSSports.com joined “Danny, Dave and Moore” last week to discuss the upcoming NFL Draft, and included in their wide-ranging 16-minute conversation were his thoughts on Seattle’s options with the 63rd overall pick.

Rang made the case for offensive lineman Ali Marpet of Hobart, a Division-III school in upstate New York.

After examining USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor, Oregon center Hroniss Grasu and Kansas State Jake Waters as potential picks for Seattle, let’s take a closer look at Marpet.

Overview: He’s one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft because of the uncertainty about how he’ll handle the massive jump from the D-III level to the NFL. So far, he’s done his part throughout the pre-draft process to show he belongs. First it was at the Senior Bowl, where by all accounts he more than held his own when pitted against competition that was much tougher than what he had faced in college. Then it was at the scouting combine, where he was one of the most athletic offensive linemen tested. Marpet’s time of 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash was tops at his position and he also ranked among the top five in bench press and the three-cone drill. But even with the most physically gifted prospects, there’s a question about how their games will translate to the NFL. It’s an even bigger question with Marpet because of the adjustment he faces coming from D-III.

Rang’s take: “I think he will be a future NFL starter,” Rang said, noting Marpet’s athleticism, strength and competitive fire. But where exactly Marpet will play is something of a question. He was a left tackle in college, but Rang thinks he’s better suited to play guard or perhaps even center in the NFL. He projects Marpet to be drafted somewhere between pick Nos. 50-75.

Level of need: high. Marpet would address a big need for the Seahawks regardless of whether they view him as a guard or a center. Seattle has openings at both spots after trading Max Unger and losing James Carpenter in free agency. The Seahawks have a few internal candidates at center, including Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis, who both capably stepped in for Unger last season. Alvin Bailey filled in all along Seattle’s offensive line last season and is the leading candidate to replace Carpenter at left guard. He’ll have to better manage his weight, which was an issue that coach Pete Carroll voiced publicly last season. But even if the Seahawks consider Bailey, Lewis and Jeanpierre all viable options to assume starting roles next season, that wouldn’t necessarily preclude them from adding another one, even if it’s with their first pick.

Marpet’s fit. The Seahawks haven’t drafted a D-III player under general manager John Schneider and Carroll, but they have shown a willingness to mine the lower levels of college football for talent. Seattle has chosen a player from D-II Harding and several others from smaller D-1 schools like Appalachian State, Northwestern State (La.), New Hampshire and Middle Tennessee State to name a few. Something the Seahawks will have to determine with Marpet – assuming they view him as an interior offensive linemen – is how quickly he could make that transition given his limited experience at guard and center. If the Seahawks use their first pick on an offensive linemen, they’ll likely want one who has a chance to step in and start right away.

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Seahawks potential picks: OL Ali Marpet